NUFC Fans United In Contact With Ashley?

Last updated : 12 August 2013 By Footy Mad - Editor

The last meeting of the NUFC Fans United was at The Labour Club on 31st July 2013, and it seems the guys are making headway in, at least, getting a message across.

Lee provided information on the Fans Forum recently announced by the club.

He stated that much of the format and views have been shaped following meeting and talking to fans and fan groups.

The club want to establish a robust structure for the forum so that it will stand up to scrutiny.

They have worked to do this by working in consultation with the Football Supporters Federation who have provided feedback and constructive criticism to the club.

They have also looked at examples from other clubs where forums are already operating. 

The forum will contain 15 fans. Three of these will be held permanently by established fans groups, NUFC Fans United, Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) and Newcastle United Disabled Supporters Association (NUSDA).

The 12 remaining fan seats are open to all Newcastle United fans to apply and they will represent different segments of the clubs fans base.

These will include season ticket holders in the Milburn, East, Gallowgate and Leazes stands, an Away Season Ticket Holder, A Long Distance Traveller (attending at least five home games a season), a Young Person’s representative (under 21),  an over 65s representative, a supporters club seat (for the secretary or chair of any supporters club containing a minimum of 20 members), a Black and White member (non season ticket holder), a corporate member  and an equality representative.

Two board members, John Irving and Lee Charnley will also sit on the panel, along with the club’s heads of safety, security, ticketing and media.

The Newcastle United Foundation and Wonga will also be represented. Lee stated that the forum will meet for the first time in September.

When questioned about how non-ST holders can be represented by the Fans Forum, Lee explained that that was why the Trust, Fans United and NUDSA have permanent seats on the Forum.

We can act as funnels, gathering views and opinion from fans and non-ST holders and feed that back to the Forum.

People were concerned that the Fans Forum is just a UEFA box ticking exercise as UEFA have a directive about improving supporter engagement with Clubs and the Supporter Liaison Officer (in NUFC’s case Lee Marshall) is a UEFA mandated position.

Lee accepted this, but went on to explain that although the SLO is a UEFA mandate; the Fans Forum is not.

The Fans Forum has been set up to give fans a line of communication with the boardroom, and two senior directors will sit on the Fans Forum when it meets quarterly.

People were also dismayed that Mike Ashley will not be in attendance and once again the question of why he does not address the fans, talk to the fans or explain his plans and motives for the Club to the fans was raised.

It was suggested from the floor that Mr Ashley should write the programme notes occasionally as this would provide him with his own unedited platform to tell fans what is happening.
At the end of the evening Wendy Taylor stood up and explained that although she and Lee might appear to be relatively junior members of staff, they do work at the Club and there aren’t “twenty layers of management” between themselves and Mike Ashley.

She meets Mr Ashley “every few weeks” and feeds back what she hears from the fans; “he does get the message”.


I have been involved with Newcastle United supporters clubs since the 1970s, mainly the one that used to be situated at the Haymarket that used to run away travel, but other splinter groups that came from its closure in the 1990s.

The problems have has always been:-

1) Getting the Newcastle Board to listen.

2) Getting Newcastle supporters to agree.

1) Gordon McKeigh couldn't give a shit; John Hall and Freddy Fletcher did listen for a period of time but soon got bored with the flak they were given; Muttley and Darstardly (Shepherd and Dougie) had a big distrust of supporters and their opinions.

The only genuine listener was George Forbes who was chairman for a short spell, and took a serious interest.

That brings us to Ashley - a man unto himself. Never a listener, and I will hold fire to see if NUFC Fans United CAN get an audience with him.

Personally I cannot see it happening, because even Alan Pardew is put on the waiting list to get to meet him.

But at least NUFC Fans United have a foot in the door ... and that can only be a good thing ... and all credit to them.

2) No matter what Supporters Club we (fanzine editors and the like) tried to piece together, there was rarely a commond bond.

Those that can remember the boycott of the Leeds United game when Mick Quinn made his debut was met with firece rivalry, those that tried to discourage those going to the game were told in no uncertain terms to f*** off!

We were all unhappy with the board at the time, but there was a split decision on how to get the buggers out!

It's the same with Ashley today. Hundreds come on this NU-Mad website to give support to the man - while many cannot stand the fella.

I think Pardew must rank amongst the worst managers we have ever had, but thousands will go to St James' Park this coming season and back him. It's all about opinion - and we all have them.

At the end of the day, the tough task of getting a supporters club to work is to overcome those two problems listed above.

But I wish NUFC Fans United the very best of luck!



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NEWCASTLE UNITED: Elliot (Krul, 46); Debuchy (S Taylor, 76), Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon (Cabaye, 46); Ben Arfa (Obertan, 88), Tiote (Dummett, 46), Sissoko (Anita, 77), Gutierrez (Sammy Ameobi, 52); Shola Ameobi (Gouffran, 63), Cisse (Marveaux, 77). Subs not used: Gosling.

Attendance: 16,187

lJoe Kinnear, the club's new director of football, watched the 1-1 stalemate with Braga alongside new signing Loic Remy.

It was the first pre-season game to be watched by Kinnear, who was controversially appointed in late June.

And Kinnear saw captain Coloccini cancel out Braga captain Alan’s first-half penalty with a header from a corner after the break.

Remy was paraded on the pitch before the club’s final friendly (wearing leather trousers), for which Alan Pardew’s team wore a limited edition black and white halved shirt.

United made a bright start, and Coloccini – who was passed fit to play after shrugging off a groin strain – put a left-wing cross from Hatem Ben Arfa narrowly wide in front of the 16,187 crowd.

And Moussa Sissoko played in Papiss Demba Cisse with a well-weighted through ball in the 19th minute, but goalkeeper Eduardo was equal to the striker’s right-footed effort.

However, United lost their early momentum, and Braga saw more of the ball as the half wore on.

Their breakthrough came from the penalty spot after Mathieu Debuchy tripped Felipe Pardo just inside the Newcastle box. Alan, after a stop-start run-up, rolled to the ball to the right of goalkeeper Rob Elliot.

Pardew sent on Yohan Cabaye, Tim Krul and Paul Dummett for the second half, and they helped energise United.

Shola Ameobi had a shot blocked early in the half after good work from Sissoko and Ben Arfa, whose corner eventually got the team back on level terms.

An unmarked Coloccini met Ben Arfa’s flag kick at the far post in the 60th minute, and the rarity of a Newcastle goal from a corner wasn’t lost on the club’s fans, who had watched their side fail to score from one all last season.

Five minutes later Coloccini was lucky to stay on the pitch after bringing down Yazalde, who had latched on to his scuffed clearance. Salvador Agra went close with the resulting free kick.

The game drifted towards the final whistle after a rash of substitutions from both teams in the latter stages.

United’s Premier League season kicks off against Manchester City on August 19.