Newcastle United fans have staged a mass protest against the ownership of Mike Ashley today ahead of their opening Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur.
It has been a frustrating transfer window for the club. Despite a successful return to the Premier League and a good season, the league and television revenue has not been reinvested in the club and they ended the window with a net profit of approximately £20m.
Manager Rafa Benitez did address the mass-grievances last week, throwing us support behind the fans: "The fans have to be concerned, we are concerned. I’m really worried." Now those fans have taken their concerns to the door of Ashley's other business, Sports Direct.
Over 2,000 Newcastle fans gathered in the town centre to voice their reservations with the current regime.
WATCH: Newcastle fans protest in the town centre against owner Mike Ashley ahead of today's game v Spurs. pic.twitter.com/snrmAcWr3D
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 11, 2018
— Mike Fuller (@mikefuller91) August 11, 2018
Excellent turnout. Loud and proud.
Everyone totally respectful of the SD staff.
Newcastle. United. Will never be defeated.
(Please note that no horses were harmed in the making of this protest)#NUFC #IfRafaGoesWeGo pic.twitter.com/VtElTTjCrQ
— We’ve Got Our Club Back (@IfRafaGoesWeGo) August 11, 2018
The protest was organised by supporters in the Magpie Group, who issued a statement clarifying more will follow.
This is just the first of what the Magpie Group envisage to be many protests against Mike Ashley and his Sports Direct chain. Protest action will not cease and will likely escalate until Mike Ashley sells Newcastle United Football Club to a fit and proper person.
Despite the lack of investment, Benetiz did issue fans with reassurances in an interview with Sky Sports today as he said he will not walk away: "I like the city, I like the fans, I like the club and the potential the club has."