Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles has issued a rallying cry to the club’s fanbase, calling upon them to help restore off-field harmony by abandoning planned boycotts protesting against Mike Ashley’s ownership.
Rafa Benitez's Magpies have endured a torrid season so far and sit one place above bottom in the Premier League table on three points, with only Huddersfield beneath them on goal difference.
But Lascelles, who penned a new six-year deal on Tyneside earlier this month, has urged supporters to band together and offer their support to the club as a whole in the current tough times as discontent continues to stew around St James’ Park.
“It would help if everyone came together and put all that bad energy into positive energy, helping us get three points,” the 24-year-old told the Guardian, before coming to the defence of Ashley, who has remained a contentious figure for Newcastle supporters since his acquisition of the club over a decade ago.
“I know fingers are being pointed at him,” Lascelles added. “He’s a nice guy. I like him. If everyone in Newcastle stopped the negativity and tried to form a unity it would help. It’s important that everyone’s together, especially when we’re down at the bottom of the table.
“If you’re always hearing negativity and you’ve got the fans against Mike it just creates a big negative mess. It doesn’t help. It affects the chemistry in the changing room.”
“But when 52,000 Geordies get behind us, it gives such an uplift. My message is stick with us. The fans are entitled to sing about Mike Ashley, but it does impact on us.”
Lascelles also heaped praise upon his teammates, saying that the dynamic within the Magpies feels sturdier than ever, but further stressed that the players cannot make all the difference alone.
“The club feels more united now. Our dressing room’s strong – it’s not like when I first came here and there was a clique of French lads, a group of Spanish lads, the English lads and another group in the corner – but we’d be a much better club without all the negativity and bad energy.”
Newcastle will continue to seek a first Premier League win of the season when they host Watford on Saturday