LONDON – Newcastle United fans, “angry and frustrated” by their team’s poor season, are planning a 69th-minute walk-out protest during their final home Premier League match against Cardiff City on Saturday.
The Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust (NUST) has passed a motion to boycott the last 21 minutes of the match when Newcastle will be attempting to avoid a seventh successive league defeat.
Organisers hope the protest will see a mass exodus of fans from St James’ Park in the 69th minute, symbolic of the year 1969 when Newcastle last won a trophy – the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, the forerunner of the UEFA Cup and now the Europa League.
“As fans we have deep concerns at the direction Newcastle United is heading in, both on and off the pitch,” said statement released by NUST.
“The vast majority of supporters are angry and frustrated but are divided as to what, if anything, can be done to positively influence Mike Ashley and those who run the football club on his behalf.”
Newcastle’s problems were exacerbated by the ban imposed on manager Alan Pardew after he head-butted Hull City midfielder David Meyler in March.
Pardew was banned for seven matches, the first three from the stadium ban and the last four from the touchline, and Newcastle’s already patchy form dipped even further.
Newcastle were thumped 3-0 at Arsenal for their sixth straight league loss when Pardew returned to the touchline on Monday, and while he said this week he had no intention of quitting his job, his position is far from safe.
Fans have called for his dismissal in Newcastle’s last three games and owner Ashley will decide his fate at the end of the campaign.
“I consider this to be one of the biggest jobs in the country,” Pardew said.
“To get the opportunity to be the manager of this club is not something I am going to give up. I will fight for it with all I can.
“Newcastle fans have seen me in this position before.
“It might be a little bit stronger this time, the feeling for me to go, but it was the same last year and I didn’t walk away. I didn’t suddenly come weak and start hiding and I’m not going to do that on Saturday.”
Cardiff are bottom of the table and must win to have any chance of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship after only one season in the Premier League.
Their form over the last six matches is better than Newcastle’s, who are ninth, with one win, two draws and three defeats. They could be relegated on Saturday if results go against them.