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The Trust exists to provide a way for the fans to get their voices heard by Newcastle United FC. We’re not a protest group, we want to develop formal links between supporters and the Club and to be a positive influence on supporter issues.

Happy Christmas Eve

The latest round of television games were announced on Thursday and will see 24 matches broadcast live throughout December.
Earlier this month there were reports that broadcasters were proposing to show live Premier League games on Christmas Eve. Rumours surfaced that Newcastle’s game at West Ham was being considered. Peter Fanning, NUST Vice Chair contacted the Head of PR at Sky Sports to be told that things weren’t finalised but Christmas Eve was a Sunday and they had a commitment to subscribers to show football on a Sunday. NUST joined with other supporter organisations across the country, and together with the Football Supporters Federation, lobbied against the idea. Last week in a meeting with supporter representatives, attended by Peter Fanning, Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said that no 4pm kick-offs would be allowed on Christmas Eve, but that other broadcast slots were still being considered.
The broadcast schedule for December announced on Thursday contains no Christmas Eve kick-offs. The Football Supporters’ Federation said: "Fans will be relieved to see that broadcasters and the Premier League have backed away from the idea of a Christmas Eve fixture. It was never popular with match-going fans and we’re happy to say they have listened – more of the same in future please!
"Top-flight clubs receive billions from broadcasters and more of that revenue should be used to help fans with travel when games are rescheduled for TV."
This is a great example of fans working together to get our

voices heard and fair play to the Premier League and to the broadcasters who have listened to our concerns and done the right thing.
Peter Fanning
Vice Chair

FANS FOODBANK CONFERENCE

Following the success of Supporter Foodbanks in Merseyside, Glasgow and more recently our own NUFC Fans Foodbank the Football Supporters Federation arranged a conference at St James’ park on Friday 13th October. Fans of a host of clubs attended and including other local clubs, Sunderland, Boro and Hartlepool.
It was particularly impressive to see a huge Scouse contingent which consisted not only of football supporters but representatives from a number of agencies and their lead Councillor-all who had appeared to be working closely on their foodbank and other related Projects
The day kicked off with introductions from Kevin Miles, CE of the FSF and local MP Chi Onwurah before handing over to Gateshead MP and lifelong Mag Ian Mearns, who explained his role as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group of Football Supporters.
There then followed a session with representatives from Merseyside led by David Kelly from Everton and Ian Byrne from Liverpool who explained the work they did in setting up their own Supporters Foodbank and their integration with agencies and within their own community. A wide range of questions and comments from the floor followed with many attendees outlining their own experiences.
A session from Celtic Foundation followed on how the issue of Foodbanks had been approached north of the Border. It was particularly interesting listening to their speaker from their own Foodbanks,Tara, who described how she had progressed from homeless, living in a car, to volunteering, and now to running a number of Foodbanks in and around Glasgow.

The final speaker was Mike Nixon, of our own West End Foodbanks explaining the role they play in supporting the local community, and talking about the assistance NUFC Fans Foodbank have given since the whole idea of setting up a supporter Foodbank was first mooted around a year ago. Our own NUST Board member Colin Whittle talked about how the idea moved from inception to reality and Bill Corcoran echoed the feeling of the floor about the contributions fans can make and the difference being made by NUFC Fans Foodbank.
The main aim of the whole day was to enable fans to learn from others and share experiences for the greater benefit and there was no doubt that this aim was achieved. A working group was established consisting of representatives from Newcastle, Celtic and Merseyside in order to progress things on a national basis.
The whole event showed the power of football fans working for the greater good of their communities and bringing those communities closer together .It was a privilege to be in attendance but there’s more work to do!
NUST BOARD

For Sale

First thoughts, about time too………then BUT we’ve been here before. The Club’s been up for sale and taken off the market several times before and in truth has always been for sale at the right price. This time feels like it might be for real though and fans should be excited at the thought of an owner who will be prepared to take the Club forward as a football project rather than using it as a billboard for their main business interest.
Whoever the new owners are, make no mistake it’s still OUR club. Owners, Directors, Managers and players are all transient, the support remains as the constant.
What the Trust wants is an owner who will position the Club in the local community in a way that recognises that the fans, the City Council and the local MPs are not the enemy. That working together with our world class manager we can take the Club to the next level, and beyond. We don’t want to accept mid table mediocrity as our goal, we want our team to win trophies, to compete at the highest level and to set standards of excellence that our support deserves.
We want owners who will engage with the fans in a meaningful way and will allow the fans voice to be heard at the highest level in a way that helps to influence Club policy. With a change of Government fans may get representation at Board level, new owners at Newcastle could take the opportunity to get ahead of the game and offer that without waiting for legislation to force the issue. We will want to make representation to any new owners about the benefits of committing to the principles of being a Community Club.
In the meantime we are watching with interest what happens. Mr Ashley has said previously that the Club was for sale, and then hasn’t sold it. He’s said he’s here for the long haul and won’t leave until we’ve won things, and now we’re up for sale again. During his time the Club have been taken to Tribunals twice, lost both and been criticised for the quality of their evidence and they are currently under investigation by HMRC.
We understand that Mr Ashley’s people are suggesting that a sale could happen by Christmas. Let’s hope we are all looking forward to a fantastic new year in 2018.
NUST Board

Fans Foodbanks event – SJP

The NUFC Fans Foodbank is less than one year old and it’s accepted that it’s been a resounding success. Supporters and our local community have bought into the concept of helping our own whether by contributing to match day collections, to the donation station at the Grainger Market or supporting one of the NUFC Fans Foodbank fundraising events such as the rock night or the TF transfer forum evening. The club have come on board and both Rafa and Isaac Hayden have provided wise words in support .There is no doubt that the work being undertaken by NUFC Fans Foodbank have inspired supporters up and down the country to consider following in our footsteps.
Here at NUST we have been contacted by a number of fans groups asking for advice about setting up similar initiatives. We’ve given advice and support where we can but the growth in interest for Supporter Foodbanks has led to the Football Supporters Federation setting up a conference at St James Park this Friday 13th October.
Supporters from up and down the country will be attending to listen to a range of speakers and learn from other fans groups who have set up their own support for Foodbanks. Whilst we gained our inspiration from what supporters were doing in Merseyside with ‘Supporting Foodbanks’ we hope that the efforts of NUFC Fans Foodbank will inspire other supporters.
If you are free, get yourself there…check out www.fsf.org.uk for details ….you never know there may also be a surprise speaker!
NUST

Xmas Eve Football

Just over a week ago NUST became aware via our network of links with other supporter groups that consideration was being given to Sky moving fixtures to Christmas Eve ,which this year is on a Sunday .Under their deal with the Premier League Sky can choose to move two fixtures at their discretion to 1.30pm and 4pm on a Sunday.
Initial rumours came about via a request that had apparently been made to Arsenal as to whether or not they had any objection to their home game against Liverpool being moved to Christmas Eve.
Premier League Trusts/fan groups quickly jumped into action agreeing a joint statement which opposed the moving of games to Christmas Eve not least because of the logistics of travel for both home and away fans, at that time of the year.
Given that we were due to play West ham away on 23rd,our game immediately sprung to mind as one with the potential for being moved leading to the obvious travel problems which would arise from such a move, especially to the 4pm time slot. It’s fair to say the televised fixtures haven’t been kind to us this season so far, Brighton/Swansea and Southampton all having been moved to a Sunday 4pm KO slot.
Pressure has been quickly brought to bear upon the football authorities by fans groups –we ourselves have written to both NUFC and Sky-and led by the Football Supporters Federation we attended a meeting with the Premier League today where having listened to our representations they have agreed not to take up a 4pm televised game on Christmas Eve. A small victory so far but it just goes to show what fans can do when working together.
We’ll update once we have further information later this month.
NUST

Fans Supporting Foodbanks

NUFC Fans Foodbank started off as an idea kicked around at an NUST board meeting and grew from there .Nobody could have anticipated what a success it has turned out to be nor how it continues to grow. From a launch night at Tyneside Irish Centre in early 2017 with a screening of ‘I, Daniel Blake’ to match day collections, a donation station at the Grainger Market, a rock night, and a successful fundraiser with local journalists. Supporters have bought into the concept of helping people in our local community who are less well- off and it’s grown from strength to strength. More importantly, the club have bought into the whole concept-from Isaac Hayden visiting West End Foodbanks to Rafa making a financial contribution at last month’s TF fundraiser.
We’ve been approached by fellow supporters up and down the country who are looking to do something similar in their own areas. We’ve tried as best we can to help them with some ‘handy hints’. Of course here in Newcastle our link with WE Foodbanks has given NUFC Fans Foodbanks the assistance it needed-professionals showing us how to organise collections and directing us as to where we can best help. In addition we do have 52k going through the turnstiles at each home game so we’ve certainly got the numbers willing to contribute.
Anyway, there’s no doubt the profile of Foodbanks has risen nationally due to what has been happening here at Newcastle. As a result the Football Supporters Federation (FSF), who NUST work closely with in a number of areas, have arranged a national conference to take place at St James’ Park on 13th October to discuss football’s role in aiding Britain’s foodbanks.
The conference which is being sponsored by the club will include input from various foodbank organisers, MP’s and local councillors to enable fans to learn more about the challenge facing foodbanks and how they can link up with supporters.
We’re looking forward to meeting fans from up and down the country who are looking to set up Fans Foodbanks in their own areas and offering assistance where we can.
For more information please visit the FSF website at www.fsf.org.uk
We’ll see you there!

Supporters say No to Christmas Eve Football

Football supporters know all too well the impact that changes to the fixture schedule can have. Plans are rearranged and often expense incurred when a match is moved to accommodate cup football or TV scheduling. We have very little, if any, say, despite being the most put on stakeholders in the game.
Representatives from the Premier League Fans Group have recently started to meet with Sky Sports and BT Sport to put forward supporter views on such changes, and to look at ways we can mitigate this impact.
However the news that has broken this week that Sky plan to fill their ‘Super Sunday’ TV slots as usual, despite it falling on Christmas Eve, is hugely disappointing and frustrating for supporters. The discussion has been dominated by the likelihood of an Arsenal v Liverpool fixture on 24 December, but choices have not yet been finalised and any club is still available to be chosen for a televised game.
This is wrong and no fixtures should be scheduled for this day. Supporters will be faced with the unenviable task of deciding between family, friends and loved ones and any pre-existing plans for this time of year and continuing their loyalty and support for their club.
Club staff would also face similar difficulties. Public transport shuts down early on Christmas Eve and travel may be at a greater expense. Made to work, their plans and priorities will challenged in pursuit of a TV programme. These staff aren’t the well paid millionaires, but the catering, hospitality, stewarding and security personnel required to fulfil a fixture.
This extends further to police, local authorities and others who will have to work to facilitate such a change.
None of these people, like supporters, shares in the Premier League riches or has Premier League lifestyles and wages. If this happens, it would be more take, with little given back.
This must not be allowed to happen, not this season and not in future seasons. We are more than willing to work with the broadcasters and the Premier League to avoid such pitfalls for the benefit of all. We don’t want this to be the ghost of Christmas future.
Now though, the decision makers must show this is indeed the season of goodwill. Sky, the Premier League and clubs have to recognise that yes there is a TV slot available, but football on Christmas Eve is unacceptable and a step too far.
Supporters should be included in any decision-making process when such drastic changes are to be made. This is not something we are taking lightly. We have already successfully campaigned for cheaper away tickets and will continue our work to ensure match-going fans are treated as fairly as possible.
Signed & Supported by:
Newcastle United Supporters Trust
Spirit Of Shankly, Liverpool Supporters’ Trust
Spion Kop 1906
Arsenal Supporters’ Trust
Chelsea Supporters’ Trust
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust
Black Scarf Movement
Watford Supporters’ Trust
Burnley FC Supporters’ Groups
Swans Trust
Huddersfield Town Supporters’ Association
Stand Up For Town
Stoke City Supporters Council
Cherries Trust
West Ham United Independent Supporters’ Association
Clarets Trust
Foxes Trust
North West Sussex Seagulls
Manchester City SC (1949)

Loving the Toon

Streetwise Opera – an organisation who do opera with homeless people, are currently working on their next big production which will be performed for 3 nights at the Sage in Gateshead in April 2018.
The production is broadly based around Britten’s Cabaret songs but they want to bring in ties to the local area and have chosen to explore love stories from the local area as a way to do this. And of course, one of the ‘loves’ that came up was the love of Newcastle United!
They are interested in talking to anyone who may have stories/anecdotes/events/moments that they, or someone they know, has experienced which stood out and shows either someone’s fascination/love/devotion to Newcastle United or could also be someone expressing love to someone else during a match in a funny/unusual way. They are also interested in talking to anyone who might have attended the finals in the 50s when Newcastle United won the FA cup.
Do you have any stories/anecdotes you’d like to share – or do you have any contacts who might be interested in getting involved? Just to be clear – if you are interested, you would be sharing your stories with someone as part of the research phase. They would then look at incorporating them into the production in some way – you wouldn’t have to perform in the production!
The other thing is they are looking into songs associated with Newcastle United – they have quite a few already but wondered if they’ve missed any key songs!
No pressure to get involved – but if this is of interest let us know, or if you have friends who might be interested, please get in touch on peter.fanning@nust.org.uk and we will pass you or your contact(s) onto Streetwise Opera.

Important – An open letter on Rafa Benitez

Obtaining the services of Rafa Benitez was a major coup for Newcastle United. His managerial record is top class, demonstrating his ability to successfully manage clubs both home and abroad. Unfortunately, he was not engaged in sufficient time to prevent relegation at the end of the 2015/6 season.
Despite relegation, the reaction of supporters showed at our final game of the season against Spurs how highly we, the supporters, rated him. We know from sources close to Rafa that he was taken aback by the response of fans at that game, which contributed, in no short measure to him deciding to stay and manage us in the Championship. For that, we will always be eternally grateful. He galvanised our support and gave back a feeling of pride to both supporters and the City itself. Instead of struggling like many relegated teams, he led the club to immediate promotion as Champions.
Rafa sees Newcastle United as a long term ‘project’, he ‘gets’ the club and its supporters. He knows exactly what Newcastle United means to its supporters and what a successful club would mean for the city and the wider region.
During 2015 Newcastle United Supporters Trust ran a campaign asking “Whose Club Is It?” We organised a conference about fan engagement. It was attended by fans from all over the country and launched our manifesto about how we wanted OUR club, Newcastle United, to become a “Community Club”.
What we want is :-
· a club that will work with supporters on fan issues and will recognise their value as the long term custodians of the club;
· a club that will work with our MPs, the City Council and local businesses to play its part in regenerating our area rather than simply billboarding a national sports retailer;
· a club that will work with local football clubs and schools to develop local talent and keep that talent in the North East;
· a club that says we can compete, we will compete, we don’t reward mediocrity, we strive for excellence and to be the best we can be in everything we do.
During the Ashley years our club has failed to hit any of those points. Supporters have been ignored, the Supporters Trust banned from the club’s Fans Forum, local newspapers banned from the ground for reporting the fans protests. Failed relationships between the club hierarchy and both local and national politicians. A football recruitment policy that was based on bringing in young inexperienced players promised stepping stone deals which would provide the club with a tidy profit further down the line. A club policy and reward system aimed at mid table mediocrity with no interest in competing for trophies because they didn’t bring big enough cash rewards.
Compare all of that to the Rafalution. He’s invited fanzines and fan groups in to talk to him about what’s important to fans, he’s reorganising the way the Academy works with a view to bringing through more of our own talent, Lee Charnley is actively involved with local politicians and businesses through the Newcastle Gateshead initiative, Newcastle United Supporters Trust has been invited back to the Fans Forum, Rafa is responsible for football business and Graham Carr has now left the club. Rafa is not aiming for mediocrity, he has a plan for OUR club to be competitive in the premier league and to win trophies. He is 57 and could be winning trophies elsewhere but he believes that he can do it at Newcastle United. He believes.
Mike Ashley has recently spoken about his tenure as owner of Newcastle United and opened up about the many of his regrets and failures during that tenure. He admitted to failing to give his support to previous managers. He wishes to sell Newcastle United. We would respectfully suggest that he has no real interest in the club or the region. However, whilst still at the helm of Newcastle United we would call upon him to support Rafa by honouring the promises he has made to him. We cannot afford to lose him as manager. At this moment in time, along with our support, he is the greatest asset we have.
NUST Board

NUFC Fans forum – Thursday 29th June 2017

The latest Fans Forum took place on Thursday 29th June 2017 in the Bobby Robson Suite at St. James’ Park. Peter Fanning, Vice Chairman of the Trust was there on our behalf and this is his report from the meeting.
There were six club representatives including Lee Charnley, Managing Director and 15 supporter representatives from various fan groups and different parts of St. James’. The official minutes from the meeting can be seen in full on the Club’s website.
STRAWBERRY PLACE
In the weeks leading up to the meeting Fans Forum representatives had reported to the Club concerns raised by fans about security and safety around the ground and particularly in the area of Strawberry Place immediately before and after matches. The matter had been brought into closer focus following tragic events in Manchester and London in public places where there were large crowds. In the knowledge that the City Council is responsible for traffic management around the ground, forum members as a group had written to the Council asking to meet to discuss the matter.
The Club reported that a meeting had taken place between them, the City Council and Northumbria Police and various options were being considered. Fan representatives were pleased that the issue was being given serious consideration but expressed their frustration that they had not been invited to the meeting. The Club representatives agreed that they would pass on our request for a meeting to the City Council.
It was good to know that the Club were being very supportive about this issue.
A preliminary meeting between Council representatives and Fans Forum representatives was subsequently arranged for Wednesday 12th July. On Tuesday 18th July a presentation was made by the City Council and Northumbria Police to the whole Fans Forum. The meeting was positive and very constructive and considered a number of traffic and security options around the ground in preparation for the new season.
Further reports on progress will be posted on the NUST website.
LOCATION OF AWAY SUPPORTERS AT ST. JAMES’ PARK
The Premier League requires clubs to position away fans pitch side. It would seem the television companies need to have on screen atmosphere beefed up by having away fans regularly in shot. Level 7 at St. James’ Park doesn’t seem to do that for them. Other clubs’ fans have also raised the issue through the Football Supporters Federation (FSA) complaining about their location in the ground. Whilst the Trust would argue that the view of the match from Level 7 is fine and many thousands of our own fans are up there every home game the Premier League have only given the Club a one year dispensation based upon the case it has put forward.
The Club’s case is supported by the City Council as part of its licensing responsibilities over the Ground and is quite rightly based on the safe access and exit arrangements of away fans. But whatever the reasons the Trust believes that any attempt by the TV companies and the Premier League to move our fans in our ground should be resisted.
SINGING SECTION
The Club have been working with fan groups about establishing a designated “singing section”. An area in the upper tier of the Gallowgate End has been identified as suitable.
SAFE STANDING
The Club announced that until there are changes to legislation to allow standing areas they have no plans to consider the issue for St. James’.
FOOTBALL MATTERS
There was a general discussion about transfer business and the Club’s plans for the future. Lee Charnley answered all questions put to him but understandably could not always go into detail. He confirmed that he and Rafa Benitez would continue to work to bring in the players we needed but explained that it was a difficult market. He confirmed that he was working with the manager to restructure the scouting arrangements and assured fans that these changes and press speculation about the Club was having no impact on what they were trying to do to bring in the right players.
He was asked about previous comments that the Club were not interested in cup competitions. He drew attention to public comments made by the manager during the 2016/17 season which demonstrated a will to win every game played, whether league or cup.
TRAINING GROUND
The club is continuing to discuss the development of the training ground but is currently prioritising investment in other areas including the squad, rather than on the immediate construction of brand new facilities.
TICKETS
There is to be a workshop involving supporter representatives to consider a review of the existing loyalty points system. A date would be confirmed in due course.
FIXTURES
There was discussion about how fixtures are messed around by the TV companies. Fans asked if they would be consulted about fixture changes. It was explained that they would not be consulted directly but NUST are part of a Premier League Trusts Group who meet with Premier League representatives under the umbrella of Supporters Direct and fixture changes for television are regularly part of the discussions but the influence of supporters over fixture changes is minimal.
HOW WAS IT FOR ME?
It was friendly and positive. There’s a limit to how much commercially sensitive information can be shared with fans in this type of forum so it’s almost inevitable that the Fans Forum will be a bit of a “talking shop” without a lot happening afterwards. However, there were some important supporter issues discussed at this meeting e.g. security, singing section and loyalty points scheme where fans were being included in looking for the solutions to these issues. Location of away fans will become a big issue and we would hope that the Club will keep us informed about future developments and that they will resist pressure to move our existing season ticket holders at the behest of the TV companies.
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Who are we?

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust is not a protest group, but a positive force for change.

We seek to benefit our football club and its supporters by channeling the passion of its loyal supporters into a forward-thinking non-profit organisation that is a legally constituted, democratic, not-for-profit Supporters Trust.

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) seeks to benefit both the Football Club and its supporters by channeling the passion of Newcastle supporters into a forward-thinking organisation that is a legally constituted, democratic, not-for-profit Supporters Trust of Newcastle United.

Contact Us

PO Box 621

Newcastle Upon Tyne

NE5 9AD

info@nufctrust.co.uk

@nufctrust

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