Newcastle United fans are protesting this evening in their game against Leeds at St James’ Park to call for action against the club’s owner Mike Ashley.
The group, ProtestNUFC Transparency For Fans, said they are protesting “against the Premier League’s lack of transparency in relation to not one, but two legal actions Mike Ashley has commenced.”
A division between the Newcastle fans and the board has existed for a number of years, with Ashley owner of the club since 2007. He is also the CEO of Sports Direct and from 2018, Frasers Group.
The St James’ Park faithful will unveil flyers in the stands that will also act as paper planes that will be thrown on the pitch in order to stop play.
What are the fans protesting?
They want to have a better understanding of when they can expect an end to the saga. A statement was released to clarify the planned campaign.
“NUFC are in an arbitration process relating to ‘separation’ which has been delayed, without explanation, until ‘early 2022’ whilst St James Holdings Ltd have a jurisdiction hearing for a competition appeal tribunal (CAT) hearing on 29 September 2021 to determine jurisdiction on alleged anti-competitive behaviour in relation to the proposed takeover.”
In April 2020 it was revealed that the club was to be sold ‘to a consortium made up of Amanda Staveley’s PCP capital, the Reuben brothers, and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.’
A spokesperson for @ProtestNUFC said: “In our mind Mike has already sold the club, he’s said as much, and we anticipated, correctly, that he wouldn’t invest significantly. Realistically, why would he?!
“We knew this in July when we went to London and delivered a letter to Downing Street and the PL’s headquarters. Unsurprisingly we’ve had no responses to either of those letters.”
The club’s supporters want ‘transparency’ from the Premier League and their owners which is why these protests are underway this evening.
Amanda Staveley who headed the Saudi-funded consortium, attempted to buy the Magpies but collapsed last year said in July: “We have tried our hardest to acquire the club and we are determined to do so.
“It has been an extraordinary process. If we don’t get that intervention from Government and they don’t listen to what we are saying today then I fear that this process will just lapse and we will never have a fair hearing.
“We believe that this is important for Newcastle and the fans and we will never give up.”
Will the protests go on?
The fans want to focus on sending a message and continue from there if they don’t get clarification.
“We want just a decision so we can move on from the hope of something better,” the organisers added.
“That being said, we’re looking at continuing the momentum at Watford away, and then we have Spurs at home, who were allegedly vociferous against this takeover for a variety of reasons so that might be interesting.”
After 20 months, fans’ frustrations are clearly continuing, with manager Steve Bruce also coming under fire.