NUFC Ticket Refunds & Response to Media Smears Against Fans & Members

NUFC News / NUST Comment / NUST News - 24-05-2020

NUFC Ticket Refunds

Most football clubs across the Premier League are starting to put plans in place to administer refunds to their supporters for the remaining games this season that will subsequently be played behind closed doors.

Many clubs are offering a range of different options to best suit the individual supporter. Options range from a full pro-rata refund, the option to use those funds towards payments for future season ticket payments or to even donate the money to a charity of the clubs choice.

At Newcastle, season ticket holders are owed refunds for 5 games against Sheffield United, Aston Villa, West Ham, Tottenham & Liverpool. Some supporters are also owed refunds for the home FA Cup tie versus Manchester City, as well as around 1000 fans who had purchased tickets for our away fixture with Bournemouth.

Season Ticket holders on the 10 year price freeze have also seen numerous payments now taken for the 2020/21 season, despite the increasing likelihood that those games will also be played behind closed doors.

At NUST, we are sympathetic to the current situation with regards to the takeover that it puts certain limits on what the club can and can’t do. But one thing we are adamant about is the club CAN communicate to it’s supporters to explain the circumstances.

Newcastle fans should not find themselves in a situation where they are concerned about what is going to happen with their money, which they are entitled to. Some supporters won’t be in an urgent situation to reclaim the funds, but some will be. Newcastle fans also don’t deserve to be left behind the rest of the league in waiting to hear from their football club with what it intends to do with hundreds of pounds of their money.

We implore Newcastle United to offer support to those fans dealing with many financial difficulties right now, and to do this with a matter of urgency.

Response to media smears against fans and members

Many of you will have noticed that some sections of the football media have continued to attack Newcastle United fans and the members of the NUST since news broke of the proposed takeover of Newcastle United by Amanda Staveley’s consortium. As a board we have been inundated with media requests from around the world to talk about the takeover and have done our best (we have all still been working in our day jobs during the lockdown) to respond in good faith to journalists wanting to know the Trusts position on the takeover.

Like everything with the Trust – you, the members, dictate our position.

We have consistently  relayed the following messages

 

The listed institutions above seem to be happy with the way the English game is run. They have the power to make a difference.  Newcastle United fans have been mocked for years for attempts to remove the current owner by some of the same people in the media demanding that we now ‘take action.’

As a board there isn’t a media request we haven’t tried to make and in the main the conversations have been respectful.  Even if there is a disagreement about this proposed takeover, there can still be civility and respect between the fans and journalists. No one should be abused privately and publicly for expressing doubts about the takeover of a football club.

That respect and civility has to work both ways though.

The board of the Trust were dismayed to read an article in the New Statesmen by respected and awarded winning sports journalist Jonathon Liew.  The general tone of the article was, in our opinion, offensive toward the vast majority of  Newcastle United supporters. From a Trust perspective we were appalled to read the following line in Mr Liew’s piece: ‘Asked whether they would be in favour of their club being purchased by a state culpable for numerous human rights abuses and accused of a litany of war crimes in Yemen, 97 per cent of respondents to a survey by the Newcastle United Supporters Trust said they would.

We will not allow our members to be defamed in this manner. As you will be aware the question in our survey was ‘Would you approve of a takeover of Newcastle United via the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, the Reuben Brothers and Amanda Staveley as is widely reported in the media?’. 
We have emailed the New Statesmen the following on the matter:

“Dear Sirs,

I write in reference to the article titled ‘Newcastle fans back the club’s takeover by Saudi Arabia. Do they bear moral responsibility?’ written by Jonathan Liew and published by the New Statesman on 20th May 2020. This article includes a number of factually incorrect statements in relation to the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (“the Trust”).

The following statement is not true ‘Asked whether they would be in favour of their club being purchased by a state culpable for numerous human rights abuses and accused of a litany of war crimes in Yemen, 97 per cent of respondents to a survey by the Newcastle United Supporters Trust said they would.’

The survey referenced in the article did not ask our members ‘whether they would be in favour of their club being purchased by a state culpable for numerous human rights abuses and accused of a litany of war crimes in Yemen,’.

This is a fabrication and a clear breach of the Editors Code published by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (“IPSO”) section 1, Accuracy.

This statement is factually inaccurate and is potentially harmful to the longstanding reputation of the Trust and its members. In addition the article is entirely one sided and does not reflect the true circumstances of the situation at hand and is in general defamatory to Newcastle United supporters.

We provide you with this opportunity to remove this line from the article and publish an apology.

If the article is not amended and apology published within 24 hours of this correspondence we will seek further action as advised by our legal advisors (on our current understanding that the New Statesman is not a member of IPSO).”

Sadly, at the time of writing, we have yet to receive a response from the New Statesmen.  The article remains on their website in the original form and has gone into the print version of their magazine (page 40).  There are many other troubling aspects of Mr Liew’s article and we understand why Newcastle United supporters are deeply unhappy with it. It was heartening to see some positive, robust responses on social media that didn’t resort to abuse. Despite our objection to the article no journalist, activist or fan deserves abuse for their point of view.  However it is important that football fans are able to stand up for themselves. Sadly many professionals paid to write and speak about the game have viewed Newcastle United supporters as easy targets to ridicule.

We will be pursuing this with the New Statesmen in the aim of receiving an apology for you, the members.    What they have published is unfair and untrue. We will update members when we can on what happens next.  As a board it is essential that the Trust speaks out for Newcastle United Supporters.

We have conducted the following interviews since details of a deposit paid for the purchase of the club. We will continue to ensure the positive views of members about this takeover are hear:

The Chronicle
Forbes Magazine
Independent
Independent #2
Guardian
The WSJ
BBC
The Athletic
Radio 5 Live
ITV

Thank you for reading.

Board
NUFC Trust

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