Newcastle United fans are being asked by various fan groups to boycott United’s first home game against Arsenal.

This protest is against Mike Ashley’s continued ownership of the club and his apparent unwillingness to invest at a level appropriate for a competitive Premier League outfit.

The boycott seems to be largely (exclusively?) organised via social media. So if you use that media, you will probably know about it.

If you don’t use social media, maybe you haven’t heard.

I was on Twitter this morning and made the point about publicity:

The good folks from The Mag have been doing some sterling work finding out how many seats remain unsold as the Arsenal game approaches.

Two weeks ago, when season tickets went on general sale, there were circa 13,000 unsold. In his Mag article today, John Martin has calculated that this has fallen to 9,590.

Presumably that figure will continue to fall in the 2 weeks left before the season starts.

Of course, that doesn’t tell us the full story as to how many seats will be empty against Arsenal.

Even if people have bought season tickets, they are being asked not to use them on August 11th – and this will be helped by the match being televised on Sky from 2pm on the day.

Actual attendance will also be affected by people who buy single match tickets when they go on general sale on 29th July.

And there are a number of other factors at play, so the number of actual empty seats will only be known on the day.

Here at UTD111 HQ we are well used to supporting previous action against the owner, having supported the boycotts and walkouts (eg the MAOC march) in the past.

We were also proud to have some of our forum members on board the “magical misery tour” bus celebrating the “best balance sheet in the EPL” on 5th April 2014.

Many of our members are in the “haven’t been back since [your final straw here]” club which covers so many NUFC fans who just refuse to go whilst the current owner is in situ.

So supporting the boycott is easy for many fans as now they “divvent gan anyway!”

It’s worth noting that the debate continues about what affect (if any) the past protests and actions have had. We won’t go over that old ground here.

As I hinted earlier though, one of the flaws of action like this being organised almost exclusively on social media is that it has limited reach.

It’s a fact that many of our fans just don’t use social media. Given the demographics of our fanbase, it could be the majority.

And the danger (as ever) is that many won’t have heard about the boycott – and that means no attempt will have been successfully made to persuade them to stay away. So they’ll go.

Communication and publicity are so important in initiatives like this, and unfortunately are also the hardest bit to achieve successfully.

I’m sure the folks organising the boycott will be well aware of this issue and will be doing their utmost to get the word out within whatever resource constraints they have.

The final point I’d make is this. Whether United fans go to the match or support the boycott is a personal decision. It’s not worth some of the heated arguments and falling out I’ve witnessed on twitter.

Persuasion is only successful when reasoned arguments are used and they hit home.

Anger and abuse don’t work.

Stick together as fans and friends whatever you and yours decide folks!

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below (We use Disqus).

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