Revealed: The Premier League view on a planned boycott at Newcastle United

Premier League interim chief executive Richard Masters has given his view on a planned boycott at Newcastle United.

Friday, 9th August 2019, 6:00 am
Richard Masters.

Some fans are planning to boycott Sunday's Premier League season-opener against Arsenal in protest at owner Mike Ashley, who put the club up for sale in late 2017 but is yet to find a buyer.

The departure of manager Rafa Benitez earlier this summer – he went on to take charge of Chinese club Dalian Yifang – angered many supporters.

Steve Bruce, Benitez’s successor, has urged fans to give him time ahead of the Arsenal game, when new signings Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin, Jetro Willems and Emil Krafth could all make their Premier League debuts.

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Masters was asked by the Gazette about supporter unrest on Tyneside of the new Premier League season.

“Obviously, we want all of our clubs to do well,” said Masters, who took charge following the departure of longstanding chief executive Richard Scudamore late last year.

“We don’t want there to be fan protests, and neither does Mike Ashley and the people that run Newcastle United.

“I think what’s happened over the summer … Rafa has come to China, and the management and ownership have basically moved quickly to replace him. They’ve brought Steve Bruce in. That’s positive.”

Newcastle fans at Easter Road. (Pic: Stephen Dobson)

Fans plan to protest outside St James’s Park before the Arsenal game, which is being televised live.

“No one likes to see protests,” said Masters. “In a perfect world, all fans would be gloriously happy with what’s going on at their club, but life isn’t like that. Football creates emotions and passions. That’s what’s great about it.”

Bruce, meanwhile, was asked about the boycott ahead of the Arsenal game.

“Well, they are entitled (to boycott),” said the club’s head coach. “Listen, they pay their hard earned money, and of course they’re entitled to boycott. (My message) would be, like any manager going in, just judge me over a little bit of time.”

Steve Bruce.

Bruce signed a three-year contract at the club last month after leaving his post at Sheffield Wednesday.