Unlike certain incarnations of our football team, we the supporters of Newcastle United do not give up without a fight, over 80k signatures on the petition and more investigation of the politics and nepotism within the Premier League, Barclays, Qatar and BeIn Sports. Whatever your views on the proposed takeover, I think we can all agree that the Premier League has not dealt with its regulatory duties in an even handed manner.
The intention of this feed - and website was always to share a lot of supporter generated content and opinion. Below is a letter composed by @timmay2606 to the Premier League re the #NUFCTakeover
I have read, bought and valued the New Statesman all of my adult life. I remember Duncan Campbell's reports, the combination of wit and fact, the proper journalism that would inspire BBC and "World in Action" documentaries. How it was part of an agenda that wanted to change the world for the better; and sometimes succeeded.
Maybe the world is beyond changing and now all media (yourselves included) is content with cementing its own identity into a recurring revenue stream on the matrix of opinion that doesn't seek to enlighten, just to damn their opponent.
Unfortunately, your recent article about Newcastle United and the Saudi takeover was so devoid of any merit, nuance and any semblance of fairness that my only response can be that I no longer trust anything you write in your periodical - unless I can validate it with my own experience. I don't buy a subscription for that.
You tolerated a terrible, insulting and lazy article about NUFC Fans. You missed how the KSA and the whole ME situation could be changed by leisure, engagement and diversification. How maybe the State Dept. would rather Saudi money was spent on "overpaid footballers" rather than religious-political causes. How Qatar, Iran, Israel and the entire world may argue about everything, except football. You didn't point out that one former energy producing economy (coals to Newcastle!) is being potentially influenced by a soon-to-be former energy producer (when oil runs out); how a leisure economy is one of the few places the NE of England can still have any influence. How the fight for that influence between active football fans and owners and sponsors has been going on for decades with Virgin, Brown Ale and Wonga on our shirts, Sports Direct on our ground, and money going everywhere except where it's needed.
I'm not a specialist; this stuff is general reading and the work we've done setting up one of the most active and successful football supporters foodbanks in the UK and working with fans since 2007 informs my experience.
So, I conclude that if you misinform and insult when I know something about the subject, your journalism must be unreliable when I don't know the subject. Accordingly, I hope you change, improve and become what you should.
I'll watch from a distance but there's no way I'll contribute to a periodical that insults me, my mother and our great people.
The Hell with you,
Fans Supporting Foodbanks go cross-country this weekend in solidarity mission to deliver life-saving PPE to the nation’s key workers
Five thousand life-saving visors made by Merseyside PPE Hub volunteers for doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance workers and care workers will be delivered by Liverpool-based Fans Supporting Foodbanks to its sister organisations from Newcastle, Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester and London for distribution across the country this weekend.
In addition to continuing its core work of collecting food donations for North Liverpool foodbanks and setting up a food supply hub to serve the whole of Liverpool during the Covid-19 crisis, over the last 5 weeks Fans Supporting Foodbanks has also been busy working in collaboration with local businesses and educators as part of the voluntary Merseyside PPE Hub partnership.
Merseyside PPE Hub’s production operation is spearheaded by Lydiate Learning Trust (LLT), working out of Studio@Deyes at Wavertree Technology Park in Liverpool and comprising staff from specialist engineering college Studio@Deyes, Deyes High School and Childwall Sport and Science Academy.
The Merseyside PPE Hub partnership produces and distribute life-saving Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for health and social care workers on the front line of the fight against Covid-19. Since the crisis began, the partnership has produced and distributed more than 25,000 visors, hundreds of scrubs and more than 3000 face masks around the region.
Fans Supporting Foodbanks works closely with Lydiate Learning Trust and other Merseyside PPE Hub partners to support with fundraising, logistics and distribution requirements.
Urgent requests for face visors for key workers around the country reached Fans Supporting Foodbanks this week and now the organisation is responding to that call with a cross-country solidarity mission this weekend to deliver five thousand visors produced by the Merseyside PPE Hub to Fans Supporting Foodbanks sister organisations in areas where visors are required.
The local arm of the Fans Supporting Foodbanks network in Newcastle, Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester and London respectively will on Saturday 9 May take delivery of a large batch of visors and ensure they reach the frontline workers who desperately need them in the coming days.
Fans Supporting Foodbanks co-founder Ian Byrne says: “We are delighted once again to work with our comrades from Fans Supporting Foodbanks across the country, but this time supplying PPE to frontline workers created in solidarity from across Liverpool.
“Many thanks to LLT-PPE for pulling together the magnificent donation of 5000 visors to go to workers across the region who scandalously are being left short of PPE when working to protect our communities. This really is a true example of solidarity not charity between communities.”
Fans Supporting Foodbanks co-founder Dave Kelly says: “Fans Supporting Foodbanks have always promoted harmony and aimed to be inclusive, not exclusive. Our ethos is to adopt a collaborative approach with other fan groups and in life generally. So, when fan groups from various regions asked us how they could order PPE from our Merseyside PPE Hub partnership, it became clear that the demand for PPE is a national one and we felt it our duty to respond.
“I can’t think of a better example of working-class solidarity than our fan groups and working-class communities coming together in this way to keep the nation’s workers safe. This weekend’s solidarity mission by the Fans Supporting Foodbanks network to deliver and distribute vital PPE across the country is exactly what fan activism is all about.”
John Parry of Lydiate Learning Trust (LLT) says: “At the beginning of April I was approached by colleagues in the Lydiate Learning Trust to make some PPE visors in response to the shortages in hospitals and other settings being widely reported. At first we made 100 visors and posted photos of these on social media. We were overwhelmed by the response and that day LLT-PPE was born.
“We raised £10,000 in 4 weeks and came together with Fans Supporting Foodbanks to develop the Merseyside PPE Hub partnership. This developed quickly and also includes partners such as Dave Connor from Optimum group, seventeen schools, small businesses including That 3D and local volunteers with their own 3D Printers and laser cutters. With the funding we raise we can supply our affiliates with the materials they need to manufacture PPE visors. Merseyside PPE Hub distributes these to key workers in hospitals, care homes, paramedics and elsewhere as needed.
“This project has brought together people from all walks of life that may have never crossed paths before and injected energy into a community who want to help make and deliver PPE. This city always pulls together in a time of need and shows that unity is strength.”
Also a key partner in the Merseyside PPE Hub is Optimum Group, which runs franchises of Costa Coffee and Kaspa’s branches in Merseyside and is currently working around the clock to produce vital PPE for frontline NHS staff and other key workers. Samantha Taylor, a teacher of Textiles/MA Fashion Design and co-founder of Scrub Hub Liverpool is also on board, producing scrubs for healthcare workers across Merseyside during the crisis.
More details on the work of the Merseyside PPE Hub partnership can be found here: http://www.merseysideppehub.co.uk/. Anyone who would like to donate towards the work of the Merseyside PPE Hub partnership can do so via either of these two online donation pages: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/dave-kelly-5 https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/lltppe
Geopolitics. Not a word I thought likely to use very often and certainly not one I would ever thought to use in relation to NUFC. However, here we are.
Over the last few weeks as the PCP/PiF bid for Newcastle United has been ongoing if you've heard me on some of the podcasts I've done of late or seen me on Twitter, one of the over riding messages I've been trying to get across is to think about the Geopolitics of the Middle East and Africa (MENA) region when you read or hear coverage, both positive and negative, on the proposed Saudi majority takeover.
The history of this divide is complex and long in the making. It transcends politics and goes deep into religious schism and years of tribalism and social discord. It is certainly far too deep to go into here but it all came to a head when in June 2017 Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates and other states severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and banned Qatari airplanes and ships from utilising their airspace and sea routes along with Saudi Arabia closing the only land border, effectively cutting Qatar off from the rest of the Gulf region. What has existed since is effectively a Gulf cold war; the two states engaged in proxy conflict in various parts of the MENA region and a very active media and electronic based propaganda campaign of information and disinformation that works on many levels.
Being immersed in the region gives you a very acute awareness of this and it's not unusual to question news stories, certainly not to take them always at face value or become very aware of how a story is presented depending on the point of view or agenda of the outlet. Put simply, you aren’t likely to find a good news story about Saudi Arabia on the Qatari Al Jazeera News Network, the parent company of BeIn Sports, and vice versa for the Saudi networks. Which - for some - explains a lot.
As news of the PCP/PiF takeover bid gathered pace it was very clear to those of us based in the MENA region one of the things that would go with this would be seeing Newcastle United thrust into the middle of this battle for hearts and minds. However for those of you back home explaining just how this works was sometimes tricky. Why would you be bothered even? The digital “Toon Town Hall” organised by MP Chi Onwurah has, however, given a wonderful opportunity and example to show just how things can be manipulated within this ongoing situation.
The event, which we’ll talk more of later, was certainly a success in my opinion. A great example how Newcastle fans can interact, civilly and intelligently, and grasp matters beyond those on field and the overriding feeling afterwards was that Newcastle United supporters are, in the vast majority, welcoming of investment from Saudi Arabia, whilst being aware of the wider discussion around human rights and broadcast piracy, and not ignorant of them. Anyone who watched the whole event or has seen the recording on YouTube could clearly see this was the takeaway message. The next day a report of the event from Al Jazeera in Qatar showed quite the opposite. Carefully selecting the comments and individuals speaking with concerns about the takeover and translating and presenting them only, the Al Jazeera report painted an entirely different narrative, much to the displeasure of the Arabic speaking supporters I know in this region. In one moment as a fanbase we can see very clearly how this will play out going forward, I suddenly don’t have to do much else to give a perfect example of this and you all know why the word geopolitics has been coming out of my mouth so frequently.
I can also see other examples of activities on both sides of the divide and Twitter is another place to look. It is quite clear to me that fans of Newcastle United who use Twitter are interacting quite frequently with government controlled accounts. Designed to pass information and disinformation and to sway the narrative, what stands out for me is how quickly these accounts started to interact and how swiftly they can jump into a thread to try and shape it. Amazing and, in my opinion, another thing pointing to how important the purchase of Newcastle United has suddenly become in the MENA region and beyond.
It was an honour to be asked to contribute to the Digital Town Hall. I think as an example of the depth of intelligence and understanding of the potential issues, as fans, we could be dealing with as the PCP/PiF takeover progresses. Like “crossing the pond by walking on the water lilies” as Bill Corcoran, who many know from the Fans’ Foodbank and helped to pull it together, said to me in the run up to it. Delicate yes but I think well achieved. It was good to hear from Steve Hastie too, we go back a long way since founding NUSC, being involved in turning it into the trust and then creating NUFC Fans United and, of course, Steve was also key in setting up the foodbank along with Colin Whittle. Steve remains passionate about communication with the club and that was certainly a running theme. Steve Wraith, someone I have always enjoyed debating matters NUFC with through the years mentioned it too, along with other insights and I’m quite sure, if he could, he would have said much more. I certainly believe if he could have ensured this event was seen in the right places he would. Also banging the communication drum well were Greg Tomlinson and Alex Hurst of NUST, among quite a few others associated with the Trust.
I had a few friends and fans via social media express concern that the Town Hall eventually turned into an advert for NUST and I can understand why - however as they were co-hosting - it makes sense that members would be lined up, prepared and ready to speak. As founding member and first (interim) chairman, the principles behind NUST remain something close to my heart. As long as they keep reaching out to their membership, trust the membership to shape their decisions, lead where appropriate but always be guided by the members and principally their members, they will remain an important voice and critical friend of the club. NUST however can not and should not be the only voice. Even as the membership grows there many more who are not and some who will never be members. Therefore they can not be the sole method of interaction or point of contact between club and fanbase.
I served on Fans Forums chaired by Derek Llambias when we eventually were able to gatecrash them, thanks to the intelligence of Bill Corocran, no less. The original ones were very hand picked and genuine lip service, discussing the temperature of chips and graffiti in the toilets. Eventually we did get Mr Llambias to listen in many ways, especially as the threat of relegation in 2008 became real. He took on board ways to get the fanbase right behind the team. If you remember the scarves for the Boro home game for example, that came from the Fans Forum, with a big shove from Steve Hastie and myself. However they thought they had done the job, didn’t follow it up, we lost the crucial home game against Fulham and the rest is sadly history. From the end of that season the shutters came down in terms of open communication. Subsequent attempts to get the Fans Forum running properly again fraught with mistrust and mistakes on both sides and suspicion abounds. Lee Marshall at the club has done a lot but I genuinely believe he could and would have done so much more but was repeatedly hamstrung by the management above him, directly answering to Mike Ashley. This is a shame and an opportunity lost. Discrediting the Fans Forum in the way it has been recently is unfair on the fans who give their time and try to interact properly, in spite of starting from a position of mutual disharmony.
The ever knowledgeable and respected George Caulkin, who did an excellent job of hosting the Town Hall, expressed his pleasure at the way it went and suggested that a Zoom type meeting could be a way to interact going forward. Certainly if it went like this with the right host, tone and level of mutual respect it certainly would be one way I have no doubt. We need to look at as many options as we can, especially in the digital age where, as the Town Hall demonstrated, people could attend world wide.
Communication and interaction on many levels and in as many ways as possible will be the key for any new owner. Something I know Bin Zayed Group had considered at length viewing the Man City model and I am certain PCP/PiF will be looking at this too. They will have a long honeymoon period I’m sure and must take advantage of this to get communication with the fanbase right in as many ways so everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, who holds NUFC dear can feel that their voice can be heard, feel included and listened to. Meeting many fans all over the region during the NUST roadshows after its formation showed me this clearly. Newcastle fans will never be told what to do or how to think but they will interact, listen and engage and even when you agree to disagree be happy if they believe their voice has been heard. The cats can be herded, but only on their terms. This is healthy and part of our uniqueness as a club I believe.
Someone else at the meeting mentioned healing. This is something we very much need. Divisions within the fanbase need to be repaired and mutual respect and trust between our own fans reestablished. The Club, City, Community synergy that exists when the club runs well needs to be properly reconnected and taken advantage of for all to benefit. A buoyant NUFC makes the community thrive and the City buzz. A partnership, and I believe this is what it very much could be, with the financial clout of Saudi Arabia brings so many opportunities not just for the club but for the city, region and fanbase globally. We can’t, and indeed won’t, ignore the concerns of the world when entering into this partnership however. We must constantly be wise to the wider geopolitical games at play and always be ready to question any negative association that the club could be brought into. That said if we are prepared to embrace and welcome the opportunity at the same time we could eventually also be part of Saudi Arabia’s growth and development. Regionally, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is known to look to the UAE for inspiration and things are changing, albeit slowly. Why not then give him the opportunity to look to the North East of England for this too? The fanbase of Newcastle United stands with the potential to be more than just critical friends of the club and become a beacon not just for the city but something so much more. I certainly would never have thought this after my first Fans Forum meeting with a red faced and angry Derek Llambias. We stand on the cusp of something potentially game changing in every way imaginable. Keep the cans (olab in Arabic) chilled lads and lasses, the passing of the Ashley years deserves a celebration.
While most Newcastle United supporters view any takeover as simply the removal of Mike Ashley as owner and chief provocateur, it is inevitable that the moment a takeover is announced, attention will turn to what plans new owners have for the club.
It is no co-incidence that for the last 15 years fans have been filled with anguish as the club has slipped from its vaulted position as the entertainers of the premier league to cannon fodder for relegation.
15 years ago Newcastle United made their last appearance in an FA Cup semi final. Move forward four years and Mike Ashley’s actions became the defining moment for many as the club effectively closed the door on any hope or desire they may had for success.
Yes, Ashley’s arrival was seen by many as a new beginning but the brief honeymoon period extended by the return of Kevin Keegan was quickly expunged and from the moment Keegan’s tenure ended, the club has found it lurching from one crisis to another. For many, that was the moment Ashley’s relationship with supporters became so toxic that his every action was viewed with distain and despair in equal measure.
To those not steeped in the daily and ongoing machinations of supporters versus Mike Ashley, this must seem odd at best crazy as worst. To get a sense of it all you have to understand Newcastle United supporters; their pride, their passion; their love for the club; their love for their City and their pride in the region.
Earlier this year The Chronicle and their online presence Chronicle Live, announced that they were reviving the “Passionate People, Passionate Places” campaign to highlight and celebrate all that is great about the North East.
The previous “Passionate People, Passionate Places” campaign ran for six years after being launched in 2005 by the regional development agency One NorthEast. It was widely praised around the region for presenting a positive image of the North East to the rest of the country.
But the campaign was shelved in 2011 when One NorthEast was abolished, since when the region has become fragmented and to Newcastle United supporters Mike Ashley did nothing to reach out to heal that fragmentation. Indeed, he actively encouraged this fragmentation through his inaction towards the football club.
Move forward nine years and new owners of Newcastle United would certainly benefit from adopting the Passionate People Passionate Places mantra; helping fire the campaign into the minds and bodies of partners around the world. Their message should be “We Are Here; We have arrived to share your passion”.
At the top level this brings the owners and the region together, sharing a vision for success. The next important aspect however has to be building a sound relationship with the supporter base world wide; acknowledging the role that supporters play in wanting to be a part of a united club, city and region with a common goal; a Newcastle United.
Yes, there would be a huge and immediate benefit in kind being gained by replacing Mike Ashley, but the big question they will have to face up to will be what do Newcastle United supporters expect of those who take over the corridors of power at their club?
Yes, there are quick wins out there but it is not simply a case of coming armed with outlandish statements, throwing out plaudits and brandishing ideas that are old, out of date or deemed unrealistic or unnecessary.
A coherent and cohesive strategy worked out, analysed and future proofed in advance by people who know the club, the region and the fan base will be vital in making the journey a smooth one.
Property development opportunities within the wider city will arise and possession of the keys of the city’s crown jewels will put new owners in an excellent position to build on its new gained exalted position.
Newcastle United supporters come from a “broad church” with a multitude of opinions, some wacky, some political. But no matter how wacky they may appear they all deserve to be listened to if we are to move from the almost permanent “herding cats” position that has pervaded at the club these past 13 seasons and in some instances even longer.
Undoubtedly there will be problems to overcome and issues encountered that will require careful handling. Newcastle United supporters may well be drawn into discussions on topics and themes way beyond those previously considered as normal safe spaces for the average sports fan. Political commentary that mixes sport and human rights will inevitably be a hot topic that supporters will need to approach both sympathetically and with appropriate due courtesy.
As a city Newcastle and its people are known throughout the world for their position on human rights and the freedoms and obligations that human rights demand. From Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela the people of Tyneside have stood shoulder to shoulder with those who have led the struggle and will continue to do so!
We also know that with the right team in place, new owners whomever they are wherever they are from will be welcomed in a strong and fair light by all as we all work together for the benefit of a united Newcastle.
Our man in the desert, Neil Mitchell, was on sports radio in Dubai yesterday. Scroll to around 34/ 35 minutes to hear his take on the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund/ NUFC takeover story that broke yesterday.
“Judge me after a period of time” he said.
“Judge him after 10 games they” they said.
“The hard work for Steve and his team starts immediately and we will be fully prepared for the challenge of a new Premier League season” Lee Charnley said.
Well we’ve reached 10 games. 10 games that have seen Bruce and his team put together 2 wins, 3 draws, 5 defeats; scored 6 goals, conceded 15 and sit in 17th place with 9 points.
Last weekend’s game was always going to be viewed by many as a benchmark for where Bruce was taking this team; a benchmark of his tactics and his style of play. Bruce leading us out of British Summer Time but hopefully not into the gloom of a northern winter of football discontent.
Managers lay the foundations; set the game plan. Players execute that plan. To ensure it is executed successfully the manager works during the week on the training pitch setting systems up; arranging the plan A, B and C, covering the scenarios that may occur in play. He dictates the pace, the face of the team; His team.
If that is what football management is about then what we witnessed against Wolves was the total antithesis.
Boy, were we crying out for some game management on Sunday. However, what we got was Bruce and his coaching staff providing zero impact from the touchline. There appears to be no system; no game plan, no game management, no adjustments made in-play. Bruce looks lost, devoid of any way to handle this aspect of the game unless it’s calling out of his own players while ignoring his responsibility of his own failings. The fact that at almost every opportunity he wants to talk about his own game numbers over 20 years in management says so much. Only our opponents’ sleepy start brought on possibly by their 2,000 plus mile midweek excursion to Bratislava saved us from a full 90 minutes of being outplayed on the pitch and out thought on the touchline.
As supporters we can handle the disappointment of missed chances, the poor refereeing decisions, the individual errors, the glaring shabbiness of VAR. What we cant handle is lack of any signs of a game plan or any sign of 90 minutes of game management.
What Ashley and Charnley see in Bruce is baffling. I can’t see it and I doubt many others can either. 10 games in and it is obvious to all who want to see, that this team is in trouble. It is shot shy; it lacks fluidity, at times it is ponderous and only the fact that supporters haven’t yet turned on them is saving them from a total drain in confidence. It’s coming, the question is simply when?. What is saving them presently from direct criticism is that fans know who is really to blame and have adopted their own way of showing their displeasure.
Apathy has replaced atmosphere inside St James’ Park on match days. It’s as if those attending are resigned to the inevitable but clinging on by their fingernails in hope, in desperation; that their fears are not being realised; in blind faith that something will turn this juggernaut around for the better. Even the pre match conversation seems to start with “it’s shite isn’t it?”
Ashley has sucked the lifeblood out of the club. The appetite for protest has been replaced with a simple “can’t be arsed anymore” until he finally sells up; be it in 12 weeks, 12 months or 12 years.
There are no flashing signs among the gloom that we now sit under that Bruce and his coaching team can stop the rot through performances on the pitch.
When the lights of the Benitez reign went out, Bruce was Ashley’s 30 watt incandescent replacement. Old fashioned; a relic of yesterday and simply not fit for purpose.
It’s as though nobody wants to break the match day social cycle; the pre and post match social get together that for older supporters has replaced the Friday nights out of the past but with a 90 minute football interlude thrown in. When they were younger it was Friday night pub crawl; meet at 7, drink til 10:30; bus home. Saturday repeat with the match as an interlude. Non-match days they still met up in the pubs in town; the only issue being that the wives or girlfriends usually tagged along, so they had to temper their language and keep football talk to a minimum!
For supporters of the (80’s) Keegan generation, match day has in many instances become the only social connection with the past that they can cling on to. The Friday night out start of the weekend doesn’t happen now. The town has changed; priorities have shifted.
Perhaps those supporters that still attend cling to match days out of habit and collective loyalty to each other. In their hearts they are and will remain Newcastle United black n white though and through. But in their heads some now see their club dying before their eyes. They still come to town simply for the meet up. But like the shipyards and the factories that once flourished along a once proud river the decline of their football club seems so familiar; so hard to stomach but with a dispiriting inevitability about it.
Some of the younger generation have taken a different stance and walked away on masse. The singing section is no more; the wonderful flag displays in the Gallowgate are now a past and ever more distant memory; Loyal supporters who give so much but are no longer willing to be played by Ashley. It hurts them just as much; there are no degrees of loyalty; no rights and wrongs. The young guard seems to be standing firm. Absence is temporary but their temporary is not time bonded.
What all generations of supporters agree on is that the shine has gone; rubbed away by the shallow, lifeless, hollow shadow of Mike Ashley.
The fear now for our football club is that this football winter of discontent becomes a nuclear winter; an Ashley winter; a winter where the sun barely rises; flickers but never shines; a winter of perpetual football darkness and gloom; a winter that under Ashley will show no sign of ending.
Surely there is someone out there who can bring us back into the light!
On World Suicide Prevention Day this September 10, the Newcastle United Foundation's #BeAGameChanger campaign continues to support football fans struggling with their mental health.
Learn more about the campaign here.
To boycott or not to boycott, that is the question. Back in the heady days of the birth of the Newcastle United Supporters Club (which became NUST) during 2008/ 2009, we were told that if we could organise a boycott for 6 matches, Mike Ashley would be forced to sell for less than £100M and all would be well at NUFC again. Sadly we couldn’t muster the numbers - less than 5,000 marched in protest of Keegan’s treatment at the hands of Ashley, Wise et al - and that season ended in relegation. The 2009/2010 Championship Campaign saw attendances drop to the low 40,000s, but of course St James’ Park was selling out again by the end of the season.
Fast forward 10 years, the Club is now valued at £350M, like KK before him Rafa has gone, the natives are restless and Ashley’s grip is tighter than ever. Can we organise a boycott? The appetite is there - 62% of Season Ticket Holders according to NUST’s survey - but as ever the proof of the pudding is in the eating - so for this reason we at NUFC Fans United stand with the boycotters. Will it work? Probably not, but after over a decade of Mike Ashley’s ownership we believe the only chance we have to change his way of doing business (or better yet to force him to sell) is to present a UNITED front with the ten groups and thousands of individual fans who are advocating action.
We have no desire to tell people what to do and have no animosity to those who wish to attend. There is one man responsible for the situation we are in, and he is the only one who will benefit from ill will and further division in the fanbase. We understand it is a complex decision and one we have taken with a heavy heart, however we feel the time has come to make a stand, and the message that swathes of empty seats in St James’ Park would send on a televised game is incredibly powerful. Always remember: UNITED we stand, divided we fall.
This was the mantra of the 1990s. Alongside Kevin Keegan, those five words did more to rehabilitate the image of football supporters in Newcastle, than anything else. They showed that the endemic racism of the National Front days was a past generation’s problem - not ours. To hear fellow fans chanting Tommy Robinson’s name along with other sectarian bollocks at last night’s match was a horrible shock to the system. Racism and the division Tommy Robinson stands for has no place in the modern game, and to hear it from our supporters - who for the past few months have been praying for a buy out by an Arab Sheikh - is embarrassing. It is absolutely guaranteed that any takeover from the Middle East will involve muslims, and let’s not forget the amazing muslim players who have worn the famous black and white. Before you say “not all muslims…”, that’s what *they* always say.
NUFC Fans United condemns this behaviour in the strongest possible terms, and requests that Newcastle United does the same. This language and lack of tolerance has no place in the modern game. We urge our fellow fans (especially at home games) to report offensive chanting by texting “HELP” with your seat location to 60070.
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