Join the NUFC Trust

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.

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Premier League Supporters Meeting 2019

Last week, the Premier League met with fan groups from its member clubs at the Hyatt Regency Churchill Hotel in London. I was lucky enough to represent the Newcastle United Supporters Trust at this event and can provide mostly positive feedback from my experience. I’ve had better coffee, mind.

The meeting started with a discussion on the progress of implementing a video assistant referee (VAR) system in top-flight matches. While the Premier League has already decided that VAR will be in use from the start of next season, its director of policy Bill Bush explained that the reasoning behind not introducing it sooner, i.e. this season following its use at the World Cup, was that the division wanted more “extensive” testing. Bush said that the challenge of operating VAR across multiple matches happening at the same time – he highlighted that this challenge did not exist to the same degree at the World Cup – would require some “fine tuning”. On Saturdays, the Premier League’s busiest day for fixtures, Bush noted that “clear standards” would have to be in place so as not to use VAR “excessively” and disrupt the flow from kick-off through to full-time too much. Essentially, he suggested, that stoppages for the sake of stoppages were to be avoided.

While the consensus of the fan groups present on the day was in favour of VAR, some consideration was given to whether the technology would cause a distinction between the experience for fans watching the match on TV versus those in the stadium. Bush said that the Premier League were taking this into account and drafting legislation which would possibly require VAR decisions to be explained, in detail, over a PA system.

The conversation in Marylebone then took a political turn, moving onto the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. The Premier League, which is the workplace for many high-earning and highly taxed EU nationals, is apparently in the process of floating a “football-specific” immigration policy to the Home Office. The sentiment from fans around the table on the day was that foreign players had enhanced the league, and therefore the league should do what it can to maintain access to the best footballing talent in the world, irrespective of nationality.

Structured dialogue, i.e. regular meetings between fan groups and senior members of their clubs’ staff, was also on the agenda. The Premier League is reviewing its policy on the regularity with which clubs are mandated to “brief” fans on club-related news. There is also some talk of making forum events have “at least one director present”. The Premier League would like to see supporter liaison roles elevated in their importance.

It was at this point I suggested that the director attendance stipulation should be extended to owners. Bush responded that this would be at the individual owner’s discretion, but acknowledged the “concerns of certain clubs”. I highlighted that Newcastle had previously delayed and cancelled forum meetings. Bush suggested that the league would look into punishing clubs which did not fulfil their responsibilities in fan engagement.

Safe standing was also discussed on the day. All fan groups represented were in favour of this being introduced. Bush explained that, as with VAR, it is a case of carrying out the necessary checks before committing to something. The safety reviews are ongoing and will require external, government-level support from the Department for Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS).

On fan behaviour and recent pitch incursions, Bush made it clear that the Premier League is “against collective punishment” and would rather focus on individual bans and sanctions. Relating to the scenes during out 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, fellow Newcastle fan and chief executive of the United Football Supporters’ Organisation Kevin Miles noted the need “for a distinction between enthusiasm for a last-minute goal and a genuine intent to do harm”. Bush agreed that cases should be treated on an individual basis with context taken into account.

Travel for away games was also discussed. Progressive ticketing policies are being floated by the Premier League, in conjunction with DCMS, to various rail companies, including train tickets which are aligned to the fixture, rather than the intended date of travel. This would, in theory, mean that if fixtures were moved because of TV scheduling decisions, fans would at least not have to buy another ticket. There was also talk, Bush revealed, about a football supporters’ rail card, but rail companies were less receptive to this idea, as there are already many different concession arrangements in place.

I pointed out that travel for away fans, especially those of clubs far away from other clubs, was made more difficult when fixtures were re-arranged with little notice. I used Newcastle as an example, naturally, and drew attention to our 18 consecutive away fixtures on Monday nights. Bush asked whether I was sure if this was the case. Kevin Miles, as well as the representatives of several other northern clubs present, assured him that it was.

I said that I appreciated that some fixtures would become inconvenient travel situations, because of where Newcastle is, but asked whether more could be done to ensure that one-sided travelling did not persist. Newcastle fans are happy to follow their team to difficult destinations, so long as fans of other clubs are doing the same. The Liverpool and Everton delegates, in particular, were very supportive of this point. The Liverpool delegate noted that Liverpool’s mid-week or Monday night fixtures tend to be half at home and half away. He said that the same should be true of Newcastle’s.

Finally, the conversation moved onto Kick it Out’s anti-racism initiatives, particularly those aimed at making sure that grounds were more welcoming to fans from ethnic minority backgrounds. Kick it Out has produced guidance on how to report racism in the stands and is encouraging clubs to actively reach out to groups who might support them on TV but not feel comfortable attending the ground in person. The Premier League is lending its name to these initiatives and encourages fans groups to do similar work.

Overall, I’d class the meeting as a success insofar as important issues were raised and I got to say my piece about away day inconveniences. I’m encouraged by the progress made on VAR and structured dialogue. While it is unlikely Mike Ashley will turn up at the next fans forum event, it is nice to know that the Premier League agrees that these should be held more often and not unscrupulously re-arranged.

Watch Rohan discuss the meeting:

Rohan discusses the Premier League Supporters Meeting

You can also view the minutes posted by the Football Supporters Federation (FSF):

http://www.fsf.org.uk/assets/Downloads/News/2019/PL-supporters-meeting-march-2019.pdf

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Helping the supporters arrested at Bournemouth

Seven fans in the away end didn’t get home after Saturday. That night they were arrested for entering the field of play after the equaliser. 

Fans shouldn’t enter the field of play.    The law against entering the field of play is there rightly to protect players and officials.  We’ve seen incidents in recent weeks in Birmingham and Edinburgh of those laws being broken and the people involved rightly facing prosecution.  What happened on Saturday with fans of Newcastle United isn’t that.

We are launching a campaign to support those fans.

Having spoken to most of the families of the arrested  fans – there was no intention to commit a criminal act.  No players were harmed. No home supporters taunted.

Fans surged forwards at one of  the smallest grounds ever to host Premier League football and for a matter of seconds were on the pitch. 

We would like to support these fans who are facing banning orders and potential criminal records by raising contributions for their basic legal fees  and basic travel costs as the hearings will take place in Dorset.

If any of the families or individuals feel unable to accept the fees or their charges are dropped before they have to travel or pay for legal expenses, then this money will be donated to charity and the charity of choice paid with a proof of public payment.

Please donate if you can:

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/legal-fees-for-mags-arrested-at-bournemouth/edit/story

Board

Newcastle United Supporters Trust

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Minutes of Annual General Meeting

Minutes of Annual General Meeting, 6.00pm 30th January 2019. Held at Lit and Phil, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Border Members Present: Peter Fanning (Chair), Alex Hurst (AH), Colin Whittle (CW), Anthony Armstrong (AA), Simon Campbell (SC), Michael Carling (MC), Chris Johnson (CJ), Paul Brown King (PBK),

PF opened the AGM and thanked members for their attendance. He informed members that he was stepping down from the role of Chair following the AGM, with the role to be taken up by AH.

1.0 Apologies

Apologies were received from Board members Norman Watson (NW), Mal Mclean (MMc) and Wallace Wilson (WW).

2.0 Chairman’s report

PF presented his report on the activities of the trust over the past 12 months and in particular concentrated upon NUST involvement with the Magpie Group/FSF and Supporters Direct and their merger/relationship with the club and the Fans Forum/ NUST proposed rule change /relationship with NUFC Fan Foodbank /relationship with NUFC Foundation.

Kevin Miles (CEO of FSF) was invited to explain to members the details of the FSF/Supporters Direct merger and provided details of the organisation and the services the FSF provides to fans on a wide range of supporter issues.

CW outlined the continued involvement of NUST in relation to the NUFC Fans Foodbank initiative which was now into its second year. Collections continued on a match day and were complemented by a number of funding initiatives through the year.

AH was introduced to members as the incoming Chair and talked to members about potential plans he hoped to introduce following his appointment as Chair.

3.0 Treasurer’s report

CW outlined the NUST accounts, and confirmed the financial position of the Trust.

4.0 Re-appointment of auditors

PF addressed the members and proposed that S.M Lowery, who had audited the Trust accounts for some years, be re-appointed. The proposal was approved.

5.0 Amendment to Rules

CW outlined to members the history of the NUST rules and how they were ‘model rules’ agreed by Supporters Direct with the FCA and adopted by Supporters Trusts incl NUST. The rules had been subsequently updated following a change in legislation and a revised set to be adopted by Supporters Trusts had been agreed between the FCA and Supporters Direct. A copy of the revised rules were distributed to members highlighting the changes, together with an explanatory note prepared by NW. The proposal to adopt the new revised set of Rules was approved.

6.0 Any Other Business

PF invited members to raise any other business. No matters were raised.

Peter Fanning

Chair

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Notice of Annual General Meeting

Newcastle United Supporters Society Limited
Registration Number: 30721R

When:
6.00pm, 30th January 2019

Where:
The Lit and Phil Society, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1SE

Trust board members:
Chairman; Peter Fanning, Norman Watson, Alex Hurst, Simon Campbell, Michael Carling, Anthony Armstrong, Mal McLean, Paul Brown-King, Colin Whittle, Chris Johnson.

Agenda:
Apologies
Chair’s report
Treasurer’s report
Re-appointment of Auditors
Amendments to Rules
Any other business

The Annual General Meeting is open to all shareholding members* of the Newcastle United Supporters Society Limited (trading as Newcastle United Supporters Trust).

Proof of identity is provided prior to entrance.

*Must be aged 16 or over, and a paid up to date member.

NUST Board

Cancelled

Fans Forum Cancelled

“The club apologised for delays in the regularity of Fans Forum meetings.   The club … hoped that supporters ………. would acknowledge how committed the club has been to communicating openly as part of the Forum.”   – extract from Fans Forum minutes 25th April 2018.

This is what the club said in April at their first meeting for over 18 months.  They’re supposed to arrange at least two meetings per year but this hadn’t been happening.  At the request of the Supporters Trust representative on the Forum they agreed to diary a programme of future meetings, the first being Tuesday 28th August.

On Monday 27th August the club sent out a message cancelling the meeting.  

This at a time when there has been considerable unrest amongst fans and huge media attention about all matters Newcastle United.  Protests and fan group meetings, disgraceful inaccurate statements being made by so called pundits and questions being asked at Government level about the ownership and management of our club.  Could there ever be a more important time for the club hierarchy to meet with fans and discuss openly their ongoing concerns?

They’ve said they are committed to communicating openly with fans.   Actions speak louder than words, however, and the Fans Forum would appear not to rank high enough in their priorities.

NUST Chairman

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TAKEOVER ARTICLE

Please see below our article published when the proposed sale fell through in 2017;

NUST are extremely disappointed to learn that the proposed takeover of NUFC has, according to media reports from ‘sources’ close to the owner ,been ‘called off’. We await to hear reports of any updates.

As we have said previously The Ashley Years have been a backward step for Newcastle fans both on and off the pitch. Two relegations, and a potential third, tell their own story. His tenure has been about mid table mediocrity, lack of ambition and a club policy that cups don’t matter because they don’t make enough money. Sadly the owner prioritises his own business interests over those of Newcastle United. 

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.  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.  

We feel that the Club already has the basic preconditions for success under new ownership. They are –

  • A large fan base with a regular attendance of 52,000.
  • A stadium of sufficient size and quality with the option to expand.
  • Located at the heart of the City.
  • Significant future growth opportunities are available in developing new commercial sponsorship and overseas markets.
  • Capable of maintaining the investment level needed for continuous team development.
  • History and tradition, both in Europe and at home.

Working together with our world class manager and our world class fans new owners can take the Club to the next level, and beyond.

We would therefore urge the owner to honour his commitment to sell the club, reconsider the formal bid that has been made for the club, and relieve himself of an ‘asset’ he has no desire to retain.

In the meantime we are sure fans will continue to back Rafa and the lads on the pitch.

NUST Board

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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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