The 1892 Pledge: This is what Newcastle fans want
"There is so much potential in this club."
It is no secret that a large quantity of Newcastle United fans actively loathe the club's ownership. Mike Ashley's 14-year reign at St James' Park has seen two relegations (and two promotions), a lack of investment in the playing squad (Joelinton notwithstanding) and a general disregard for fans' concerns and expectations.
Newcastle fans are often written off as unrealistic. Pundits trot out clichés about Geordies expecting Champions League football and having a deluded perception of the club's stature. But is this fair? Is it unrealistic to expect better than 17th? Is it unreasonable to expect a team with such a big fanbase to play as if they want to have the ball?
After years of will-they-won't-they sagas around the future of the club's ownership, and thousands of fans growing so disillusioned that they gave away their season tickets, the Newcastle United Supporter's Trust have had enough, and launched a new scheme with the aim of buying a stake in the club, and thus getting fans a seat at the table for the big decisions.
The 1892 Pledge allows fans to donate as much or as little, as often or as seldom as they would like, to facilitate the Trust buying a thin slice of the pie when the club is eventually sold.
"We don't know who [it will be sold] to, but it will be sold. And we want a seat at the table when that happens," Charlotte Robson of the Supporters Trust told JOE.
"It's a 14 year wearing down of fans under Mike Ashley's ownership.
"We are a great football club. We're not very good at football at the moment. We could very easily slide into the Championship next season and slide even further down the leagues. There's nothing to say we won't, you know, do a Sunderland."
“I understand why so many fans have walked away. I get it. But we’re asking people to put their money into what this club *could* be.”@charlottehope of the @nufctrust explains the aims of the 1892 Pledge, and why Newcastle fans’ expectations are anything but unrealistic. pic.twitter.com/wGEUI9Dm3c
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) April 13, 2021
"In terms of what we do on the pitch, I don't think it's unfair for a fan of a football team to want to do better. I don't know why we should just accept our lot at 17th," Robson explained.
On the issue of fans who have walked away from the club having lost hope of clawing back its identity, Robson said she understands their thinking.
"I get it. You don't want to put your money into this club," she said.
"But we are asking people to put their money into what this club could be."