Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Was the March a Waste of Time? Ashley Wouldn't Take Note of Any Sort of Protest

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Was the March a Waste of Time? Ashley Wouldn't Take Note of Any Sort of Protest

Article excerpt

IPERSONALLY don't have a lot of luck with marches.

As a kid in the early 1980's, my folks dragged me along to countless demonstrations against the Margaret Thatcher government. It did little good. She won three elections and was eventually brought down by her own kind, not a few hundred working class Glaswegians walking through a shopping centre.

I also marched against the war in Iraq. It went ahead anyway. It's actually sort of still going on.

And as a teenager, me and a few mates took to the streets to make our voices heard about the Criminal Justice Bill. We went because we thought there might be girls there. The bill was passed. Our passes that night rebuked.

I thought I'd had it with marches until I wrote a couple of articles about the Time 4 Change group. They organised a protest last Saturday and myself, plus a few other journos and some television cameras, wandered along to see what was what.

I am rotten at estimating crowds, but I don't think I would be far away suggesting between 400 and 500 people walked from the City Hall to Leazes Park. Some faded away as they walked past some pubs, and a few others joined in along the way, although not that many.

They were given good backing along the route, but I only saw a handful that tagged along. The rest applauded and then went back inside to finish off their mid-morning pint.

The march incidentally, was wellmannered, friendly and mostly made up of decent people of all ages. It wasn't just kids and a few skinheads as has been suggested.

So what did all achieve, then? The organisers wanted to make a stand and a point. They want Mike Ashley out of their club. It's a bit like wishing for it not to rain during the summer.

My view is that had 50,000 marched and every one of them subsequently boycotted Saturday's game with Liverpool, then it might, just might, have made a difference.

Even then I'm not so sure. Mike doesn't go for people pleasing, in case you hadn't noticed.

Whoever wrote Joe Kinnear's programme notes for him made mention of Newcastle United's inability to compete with most other Premier League clubs in terms of commercial revenue. …

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