Apologies: Malcolm D, Graeme C, Beverly C, Lee M, Wendy T.
NUST/PRESS BANS FROM NUFC
The meeting began with a background into how NUFC Fans Utd have been liaising with NUFC via supporter liaison officer Lee Marshall since his appointment and how, through this dialogue, NUFC Fans Utd were invited by NUFC to take up one of three permanent seats on the Club’s newly implemented Fans’ Forum. The meeting was also informed that due to prior commitments, Lee and Wendy could not attend tonight’s meeting and passed on their apologies.
Three members of the first Fans’ Forum were in attendance at the meeting and all three stated that that the Fans’ Forum meeting was largely positive and that NUFC were open and candid.
However, following the first Fans’ Forum meeting in September, one of the other permanent members, Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust was banned from attending future Fans’ Forum meetings.
Opinion and comments were therefore sought over the Club’s stance towards NUST.
It was explained that prior to the first meeting, all members were given a set of protocols that they were asked to sign up to. Nothing sinister; simply that all parties in attendance be respectful of each other’s opinions, act honestly and in good faith, respect protocols and confidentiality where requested. This was emphasised as particularly important with regard to the use of social media during meetings and this was re emphasised prior to the start of the meeting. One of these conditions was that the contents of the meeting would not be divulged by members until the official minutes had been released by NUFC and that NUFC would post the minutes as soon as practical. NUST then divulged their version of the meeting before the official minutes were released in a format that appeared as official minutes.
The point was made from the floor that it was not NUST’s meeting to minute. Like everyone else they would have had the right to comment on the minutes once the Club had published them. The general feeling from the floor therefore was why had NUST released their report before the official minutes? If the Trust believed their members had a right to disclosure, why was the report also sent to non-members and the Press? And why was there a rush to publish this report to its members when it took two weeks to provide the report on their Football Governance Conference? NUST were the only representatives who breached the protocol.
Not withstanding the rights and wrongs it was the opinion of all in attendance that NUFC should have acted by reprimanding NUST rather than banning them and that it is important that NUFC Fans Utd lobby NUFC, calling for NUST’s reinstatement to the Fans’ Forum. It was also agreed that NUFC Fans Utd should continue to engage with and feedback to NUFC and remain a member of the Forum. The Forum is an important feature for fans to take opinions forward to NUFC. However, the Forum must produce positive outcomes if it is to be a success and not be seen simply as a talking shop. Nobody benefits from a ban.
The ban imposed by NUFC on NCJ was also discussed and again it was felt that indefinitely banning anyone associated with NCJ Media was a disproportionate action. It was deemed to be heavy handed and served no good purpose; bringing only further bad publicity to NUFC and achieving nothing but attracting negativity towards the city, the Club, the local press and supporters. Again we also call upon NUFC to lift their ban on NCJ Media.
There were several issues raised regarding people losing all or some of their loyalty points following moves to other parts of the ground. we will forward these issues on to Lee Marshall.
NUFC FANS UTD WEBSITE
It was announced that a new NUFC Fans Utd website is currently in development and will hopefully go live within the next few weeks. The plan is to allow for various NUFC fans’ groups, bloggers and fan sites to engage and link in with the Fans Utd Website. An open invitation was given out for writers to submit articles for the site on a regular basis, and suggested that this could be done in return for linking in to the site. There was a favourable response from the floor and it was felt that this will further enhance NUFC Fans Utd’s position as an umbrella organisation. It was also suggested that the new site should contain a page with information and links to alternatives to Credit Unions and the CAB.
GARY SPEED FOUNDATION CHARITY PAINTING
As we approach the second anniversary of Gary Speed’s death, local artist and NUFC fan Davey Brown has painted a picture of Gary in his NUFC days. This will be raffled off before the West Brom game on Saturday 30th November at the Number 9 bar on Stowell Street with all proceeds going to the Gary Speed Foundation. Davey has contacted all of Gary’s former clubs and the Welsh FA to ask them to promote it amongst their fans. All responded favourably apart from, sadly, NUFC who stated it wasn’t possible as it wasn’t in support of the Newcastle United Foundation. Should the raffle winner support one of Gary’s other clubs, Davey will paint a new picture of Gary in that club’s colours and the NUFC picture will be re raffled.
NUFC LAY REMEMBRANCE DAY WREATH
NUFC were amongst a number of organisations based in Newcastle who laid a wreath at the Eldon Square war memorial at last Sunday’s Remembrance Day ceremony. This followed representation being made to the City Council officials by NUFC Fans Utd .The wreath was laid by Bobby Moncur and it is believed to be the first time that the club have taken part. NUFC Fans Utd commends the club for taking part and paying respect to its former players who served and died in both World Wars as well the citizens of Newcastle upon Tyne who have also been killed in service to their country. NUFC Fans Utd feels that it is important the club engages with the local community and hopes that the club will continue to take part in future years. However, there was disappointment that the club kept this low key and did not release that they were doing this to the press, as it was a good news story which highlights some of the good work that the club does.
MACMILLAN CANCER EVENT
Susan S wished to place on record her thanks to the NUFC players who attended the charity event she organised for MacMillan Cancer. She would also like to thank Wonga for their donation of a box for the home game against Norwich on November 22. The event raised over £2,000.
WONGA LIVE DISCUSSION
NUFC Fans Utd hosted an event in August where representatives of Wonga shared the panel with Chi Onwurah MP, the Citizen's Advice Bureau and John Irving and Lee Marshall from NUFC. The invited audience watched a lively debate on the merits or lack thereof of Newcastle United's association with the loan company. A full report will be available on the new NUFC Fans Utd website on launch.
COLIN VEITCH TALK
The Heaton History Group recently held a talk on Colin Veitch, Newcastle’s star player of the Edwardian Era. Several NUFC Fans Utd attendees were present at the talk, which was an impressive insight on one of NUFC’s greatest players. NUFC Fans Utd have been in touch with the speaker and hope to arrange the talk to be repeated to a larger audience at St James’ Park. Further information on Colin Veitch can be found at www.colinveitch.co.uk
JOE HARVEY PLAQUE
Precision Sports, Wraith Promotions and NUFC Fans Utd held the recent Mackem Slayers’ Dinner at the Lancastrian Suite, in aid of raising money for a plaque commemorating former NUFC player and manager Joe Harvey. The dinner raised the remaining £5,000 needed and The Fairs Club will have the plaque installed at St James’ Park in the near future. The cheque was handed over to Bill Gibbs of The Fairs Club at the event.
CRUSH AT SUNDERLAND FIXTURE
NUFC Fans Utd have been made aware by a number of fans of serious problems caused by congestion at the Metro stations and at the turnstiles before the away game at Sunderland. There were reports of Metros arriving with more fans before fans who had arrived on previous trains had been allowed to clear the station. Others reported crushes at turnstiles that wouldn’t operate; resulting in people falling over, and those crushed against the turnstiles suffering from breathing difficulties while stewards panicked and were unsure of what to do. Many fans were unable to take their seats until 25 minutes after kick off. NUFC Fans Utd are currently asking for those who witnessed or were caught up in the incidents to contact us with their experiences which will then be taken up with the club.
Division 92 raised concerns about the stewarding at the recent home game against Man City in the League Cup. They had spoken with the club themselves about issues such as standing and clarification of what they can and can’t do. They feel they have abided by this advice, but that the club are not delivering on promises made and that the stewards are going against what the club have told them.
We hope that the next NUFC Fans Utd meeting can be arranged ahead of the NUFC Fans’ Forum meeting on December 16. However, due to the busy Christmas period it may not be possible. Confirmation will be made through the usual channels.