Shortly after Newcastle’s equaliser one of the commentators summed up just how far out of touch with fans the corporate elite that runs the game has become…
“The fans who stayed at home might just regret their decision if Newcastle go on to win this game”…
Not only patronising, the comment also completely missed the point. 99% of those who stayed away as part of the #BoycottSpurs protest still watched the game. But instead of lining Mike Ashley’s grubby pockets, they just watched it at home or in their local pubs.
More likely, the regret was all Sky’s for having chosen to televise the game. It doesn’t look good beaming thousands of empty seats onto TV screens around the world, it harms the brand.
There was a mixed response to the protest on Twitter this week though, and I think the choice of hashtag could have been better if they wanted more buy-in from Spurs fans.
That said, I’m all for gestures like this – however futile – if they remind the elites where the moral authority resides, if only we could better harness that energy.
What’s happening at Newcastle reminds us that things could always be worse, and #BoycottSpurs will have been a success if it helps to awaken the consciousness of fans at other clubs. Our own included.
In recent months organisations like the Football Supporters Federation have made decent strides to this end, leading dynamic campaigns to make away days more affordable and to ensure that money from the new TV deal is distributed fairly.
The problem, though, is that these issues aren’t high priorities for the people who run the game, and our tribal loyalties mean that they don’t even have to divide us, in order to conquer us.
It’s a sh*te state of affairs, but it needn’t always be that way because there are issues where all supporters can work together, like ticket pricing for example.
Arsenal’s greedy owners might routinely top the table for ticket prices, but it’s not just a problem for them up the road. They set a barometer against which other clubs can legitimately say – “well, we charge less than them” – whilst continuing to extort our hard earned cash once a fortnight.
Let’s be honest, no supporters trust or lobbying group in the land can make any headway on that fundamental scandal without us all working together.
Whilst the ‘official’ attendance at today’s game will artificially include the hundreds, if not thousands, of season ticket holders who stayed away, #BoycottSpurs was a modest assault on the thing people like Mike Ashley value the most – the bank balance.
For every seat that remained unfilled, a pie went uncooked and a pint unpoured.
It all adds up, and when the fans who did turn up piled out after our third you can bet whatever’s in your wallet they weren’t heading out to the club shop…