Newcastle fans march through city centre in protest against Mike Ashley

Hundreds of Newcastle United fans marched through the city centre at the weekend to protest against club owner Mike Ashley

Newcastle United fans protest against Mike Ashley
Newcastle United fans protest against Mike Ashley

Hundreds of Newcastle United fans marched through the city centre at the weekend to protest against club owner Mike Ashley.

Between 200 and 300 supporters marched from the City Hall to Leazes Park before the team’s Saturday lunchtime match with Liverpool, waving white ribbons in a silent protest as they passed St James’ Park.

A number of fan groups came together for the march, which was sparked by perceived lack of ambition by the club’s ownership, the decision to appoint the controversial Joe Kinnear as director of football and the signing of a sponsorship deal with payday money lender Wonga.

Graeme Cansdale, of the Time 4 Change group, said: “It‘s taken four to five weeks to plan with the council and the police and getting the money together. It’s not a spontaneous thing.

“There’s been a great turn out. It’s been peaceful and dignified and everyone went silent by the Milburn Stand.”

He added: “The club have said they have no intention of taking the cup. They have a good team but a paper thin squad.

“The club is in malaise and that doesn’t just effect the fans but the players too.

“The club has become a stepping stone for players. Why would they want to stay at just a top 10 club?”

 

The march saw a number of supporters’ groups turn up to show their support to the cause by taking to the streets as a collective.

Norman Watson, chairman of Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust, took part yesterday and said he was impressed by the positive response from passers-by on the street.

He added: “There’s a lot of frustration and anger with the club as most fans know it to be a big club and a successful European club but they just feel it’s been mistreated and not respected. People feel it’s being used a nothing more than a marketing tool for Ashley’s company.

“It’s been openly said there are no ambitions for the cup and that’s just not acceptable. It’s not on.”

Northumbria Police had extra officers in Newcastle to monitor the protest which passed with minimal disruption to the city centre.

A spokesman said: “The protest passed safely and peacefully and was good natured.”

In the run-up to the march, St James’ Park officials declined to comment on the protest.

It is understood that the club offered to engage in dialogue with the march organisers from the Time 4 Change group, but that the offer was declined.

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