NUFC Trust Election: Your 2020 Candidates

NUST News - 03-10-2020

NUFC Trust Election: Your 2020 Candidates

We are pleased to announce the 11 candidates for this year’s NUFC Trust Election.

We originally had 14 nominations but 3 have pulled out for personal reasons or not responded with their statements and supporting documents.

Our independent Election Chair, Chris Waugh randomly generated the names in an app called “Random Name Picker”, to choose the order we would show you the candidates in below.

Please read through all candidate statements, they will also be available to view on our website.

We will update again with further communications.

If you have any queries at all, please DO NOT email the board, and instead email the independent chair of this election [email protected]

NUFC Trust Election Committee


Jonathan Drape-Comyn

I would like to put myself forward for the NUST board in the coming election. I’ll be frank
and admit that over the past 10 years, with the exception of Rafa Benitez’s spell as
manager, NUFC foodbank and the fantastic job that the NUFC foundation continue to do, I
haven’t had anything positive to say about Newcastle United.

I have been what some call one of the ‘doom and gloom merchants’. However, over the
past year there has been one positive about Newcastle United and that has been the work
of NUST in increasing their size and the arena in which the voices of NUFC fans are heard.

First and foremost, the main reason I am putting myself forward for this election is that I
believe that the issue of ownership change at Newcastle United is the single most important
matter to the future of this football club. Rather than using social media to air my
frustrations toward those I disagree with, it’s about time I put myself forward and tried to
do something about it.

The Club may technically have an obligation to meet with fans however this is something
that I think we should be pushing to make into a monthly reality. I don’t know about you,
but I have become sick and tired of the club ‘pledging this’ and ‘pledging that’ – talk is
cheap, Newcastle United has become cheap and it is about time the men that run this
football club begin to walk the walk.

Likewise NUST should answer to its members in the same way we expect the club to answer
to its supporters – in the aim of transparency, I’d be proposing that we hold monthly board
meetings via a video platform that all members can watch.

I believe fans should continue their right to protest. I’ll be making sure that NUST continue
to do all we can to create considerable bad publicity for Mike Ashley. If we can continue to
correlate bad publicity regarding Newcastle United with Mike Ashley’s retail empire then
that would be a job well done. Likewise, NUST should be using all media requests to
highlight the plight of the football club under Ashley and push for a change of ownership.

I think most members would admit that over the past year, Alex and the current board have
made great strides. What this election calls for, is a new board to provide fresh impetus,
bright ideas and continue to push forward the brilliant work done by the current board.

One part of this is continuing to work with local council and especially, Chi Onwurah to not
only make sure that NUST is at the forefront of pushing for positive changes for NUFC fans
but also at the front of pushing positive change for football fans on a national scale.

Working on issues within the wider football community…kick-off times with no regards for
away fans, shirt prices, ticket prices, safe standing etc.

However, one area in which I do want to instil some change is working closer with
journalists. I’ve been very critical of the press both locally and nationally – and I think that
they can do an awful lot more for Newcastle United fans than what they are currently doing.

Two things I will be suggesting and working towards if I am elected: The first is that we do
not waste valuable time with certain press or journalists that do not have the interests of
fans or the club at heart – such as Luke Edwards, or other national press. They don’t care
about us – and the takeover has proved that our loyal fan base is used for nothing but clicks.

On the other hand, my second suggestion will be to work closely with The Chronicle, The
Athletic and fanzines such as True Faith and The Mag in order to push the fans agenda
locally and nationally and working with people who clearly have the best interests of
Newcastle United at heart.

The current board have done a fantastic job in increasing NUST members. However, I must
stress quality over quantity. It is all well and good growing our numbers to let’s say 20,000 –
but we must use these numbers to our effect. There is no point in ‘x, y, z,’ if we as a board,
cannot persuade our members to stand with us on petitions etc. I’ll be doing my utmost to
make sure that members get full value (and more) for their $1.

I believe it is very important that our board is wide and representative. It has become more
apparent than ever that NUFC support stretches nationally and globally. Look at fans that
made the trip to Shanghai & Nanjing not so long ago. No longer does being a Newcastle fan
suggest an immediate link with the region, and I believe NUST should continue to be
representing fans, and members far and wide.

Fans must demand a seat at the table. What I will demand on all fronts is three things:
Communication, honesty and respect. Three things which NUFC fans have gone far too long
without. NUST is now in the best possible position to apply pressure to the powers at be on
all of the issues above and I hope to be able to contribute to that if successful in this
election.

A final point, and I guess this is somewhat of a pledge. NUFC’s Supporters Liaison Officer –
who is he? Where is he? What does he do? If the club cannot find the time or resources to
do this then I will be suggesting that NUST put forward their own SLO in order to liaise with
fans – in turn NUST can then liaise with the club.

Football without fans is nothing.

I hope I can count on your vote in this coming election.

Cheers
Jonny


Linda Bush

Passion – Community – Inclusion – Connection – Pride
Name: Linda Bush
Age: 51

Who am I?
Full time working mother, wife, grass roots football coach, ex-player and was until February 2020 the holder of a pair of season tickets in the Gallowgate for the whole of Mike Ashley’s reign at NUFC.

Why am I standing for election to NUST?
•    I’ve been an existing board member since January 2018, and have worked hard to fundamentally transform NUST into a powerful strong voice for ALL Newcastle United supporters.
•    I have a passion for NUFC, the City of Newcastle, the North-East region and the game of football.
•    I believe that football and football clubs have a long history of belonging to communities, and have a vital role to play in the wellbeing of many of those who support them or are linked to them in any way.
•    I believe that the gulf between supporters and those people owning and running both football clubs and football as a whole has become too remote and exclusive.
•    Ordinary people, often without power, influence and money can feel ‘at the mercy’ of those that own clubs and run the game of football. This lack of inclusion can be damaging to supporters and the development of the wider game of football.
•    If I am elected to serve NUST members on the Board, I will work tirelessly to bring a greater connection for all supporters to Newcastle United Football Club.
•    With the stronger influence of a united fanbase through NUST membership, a strong NUST Board can bring about change in the relationship between the club and the fans which will create positivity, and restore some pride to the club we love.

What will I do if elected?
•    Listen to and represent supporter views, with a clear responsibility to represent the majority membership of NUST ahead of all other views.
•    Build a strong Trust that grows the membership and in turn creates an increasingly powerful voice for supporters.
•    Focus on improving communication between supporters and NUFC. Representing NUST members on key day to day issues such as the all too common ticketing issues, right through to ensuring there is a transparency around key decision making in such major matters as the ownership and running of the club.
•    Work with the NUST Board to ensure footballing governing bodies, politicians and the media are made aware of the views of NUST members, and push hard to have these views and voices heard.
•    Communicate with NUST members to share ideas on future proposals that could improve specific aspects of NUFC. My particular areas of specialism and interest include:

o    Creating opportunities for increased supporter involvement in the running of the club, including supporter ownership models.
o    Recognition that NUFC are losing grassroots support, and the support of children, young people and families because of their lack of success on the field and their conduct off it. No more is this exemplified than by the growth of ‘glory seeking kids’ wearing the shirts of the so called ‘big 6’.
o    Addressing inequalities that exist for supporters including issues such as affordability, access and inclusion to home and away games for all supporters. In particular recognising the reasons why there are still many groups of supporters who are under-represented at football matches due to racism, sexism and homophobia.
o    Improving links between NUFC and the grassroots footballing community, so that young girls and boys can be proud to support NUFC AND see a future when they can dream of playing for their local team.
o    My biggest passion is not something Mike Ashley has remotely cared about during the time he has owned the club, which is the development of the women and girls game. Nothing would make me happier than seeing a professional women’s team walking out at  my beloved SJP…..(ok, so Lascelles lifting a trophy would obviously be up there too!)

Key Priorities for you the voter?
•    Supporter views are heard and acted upon
•    The club communication with supporters improves
•    Supporters can watch their team and it is affordable, accessible and safe for all
•    The club improves its reputation both ON and OFF the field through proper compliance with governing body rules, and investment that will see pride restored to supporters of NUFC

If any of these are also your key priorities then you should vote for Linda Bush.
Thank you (HTL!…and lasses, of course)


Adam Beckett

The work that the NUST has done over the last few years has been outstanding. Most members feel more connected as a community, and more engaged than ever with the club we all love. Whether it’s representing fans in front of the club’s leadership, or lobbying the Premier League for support on season ticket returns, the Trust has been there to amplify our voices across all platforms. I’d very much like to join the Trust’s board to enhance their work. I think more can be done to interact with our fan base across the world and together move toward a better fan experience.

I think I’d make a good addition to the board because I want to represent a broad spectrum of supporters. I believe that not only local supporters, but also international supporters deserve more say in the trust, and in how we interact with the club. Newcastle has a global supporter base, and that deserves greater recognition within the Trust.

I’ve been a Newcastle fan for 25 years and, like you, I’ve seen our club run into the ground by the current club owner. I think that the club owes the fans far more than they currently give us credit for, and I want to grow the engagement with the club to make sure that our voices continue to be heard.

I’m incredibly passionate about our fanbase. We’ve got some of the best supporters in the world, and we deserve to have a club that matches that top class support. We have a broad community of fans, whether online, locally, or globally our supporters are dedicated, knowledgable and patient! We’ve been through the best of times, and come through the worst of times together. Our fanbase can have a powerful voice, especially when we are all united behind a cause. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Premier League wouldn’t have been pressed so hard to talk publicly about the takeover had it not been for the efforts of the Trust and fans all over the UK and across the world lobbying members of parliament and news outlets to pick up the lack of transparency and honesty the league showed us fans. Newcastle United fans showed what a united group of people can do when they try!

Lastly, I feel that the local community in Newcastle needs the Trust’s help and support more than ever. The effects of Coronavirus have devastated local food banks and charities and I believe that the Trust can play a vital role in helping those vital services through these difficult times. I want to be part of growing the interaction that the NUST has with local companies.


Thomas Concannon

I have been a board member of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) for the last two years and I am here to ask you for your vote to allow me to keep my seat on the board and continue the work the Trust has done. As is standard with Newcastle United, we as a board have had a fair bit to deal with.

We have seen our membership increase to incredible heights. With 14,000 members the NUST is one of the biggest supporter organisations in the country. The demands on the NUST are greater than ever, and the need for a greater outreach to Newcastle fans both locally and around the world is vital. The voice of Newcastle fans is getting louder and louder because of the rise in membership, this has been evident in the last few months.

Fan activism means a lot to me. Football fans, as has been proven throughout the pandemic, are the most important aspect of our game. I am determined to continue the push on behalf of NUST members for increased transparency with those that govern our club and ‘the beautiful game’.

For the past six years I have worked with the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) and their Fans’ Embassy which provides a support service to travelling England fans for international fixtures. When it comes to working to help football fans, I’m well experienced. Aside from this, I have been a part of previous Fans’ Forums at Newcastle United in the gut-wrenching attempt at structured dialogue with the club. I am also part of the fan group ‘Wor Flags’, a group set up to improve the atmosphere at St James’ Park, and I am most famed for driving a van from Newcastle to Łódź in Poland to collect the record breaking surfer flag displayed in the Gallowgate End in May 2019 against Liverpool

The last few months have been especially intense for the board and me. In June, I was the NUST representative for a meeting held by the FSA with the Premier League’s Bill Bush. At this meeting, I was able to persuade the Premier League to lobby the club on ticket refunding that had yet to be announced and resolved. Within 24 hours of that meeting, we saw progress from Newcastle United that started the process of issuing hundreds of pounds worth of supporters’ money. This issue is still on-going and I am currently helping as many supporters as possible with contacting the club with regards to their individual cases. I will continue to pursue a fair process for the next round of refunds that will be due for games missed so far in the 2020/21 season.

In August, I was part of the FSA delegation at a much more publicised meeting with the Chief Executive of the Premier League, Richard Masters. At this meeting, held in accordance with a structured dialogue process between the Premier League and the FSA, I was able to question Richard Masters on the latest takeover bid of Newcastle United. The anger and frustration of Newcastle fans was put forward, discussing the lack of transparency surrounding a deal that had a willing seller, a willing buyer and a willing fan base and that had since fallen apart. I’m extremely disappointed that the takeover hasn’t succeeded. Once again, I was dreaming of continuing my travels around Europe following our team, travelling the continent with that sense of pride that we once had before Mike Ashley’s grip on Newcastle United became suffocating and exhausting.

I am a regular attender both home and away, rarely missing a game, similar to many members who will also be reading this. Newcastle United is engrained in me deeply, the fear of missing out has taken control. However that hasn’t stopped my fight.

Newcastle United deserves to be in the hands of people that appreciate what they have. They need to realise the club’s potential and value it’s loyal supporters rather than belittle and humiliate them. The battle will continue to improve the extremely poor structured dialogue process currently in place between Newcastle United and it’s supporters.

Currently I am representing the Trust with Newcastle United and working with them to help provide supporters with a safe return to stadiums. Many decisions have to be taken, including the fairest way to allocate tickets. It is vital that supporters have a say in this, and with your vote, I’ll be able to guarantee that your views are represented.

I will hopefully also be able to continue to represent the NUST within the FSA, with us providing backing to their campaigns such as “Sustain The Game!” and their push for the legalisation of standing, as well as constant battles over ticket pricing. I recently joined the Kick-Off Times Working Group, an issue which at Newcastle we have many gripes with. The group consists of fans from around the Premier League that look to protect supporters in the ever growing TV spectacle that football is becoming.

The work the Newcastle United Supporters Trust really takes over your life. A lot of hours goes in to the running of the Trust, demand is huge and you have to be up for the task. This isn’t just another box to tick. I have always tried to work to help you, and I sincerely want to continue that. The current board, including any new additions will have a full range of skills, and with those relationships that the board and I have built across football, the voice of Newcastle United fans by will hopefully continue to resonate around the game.

I hope I have proved to you that I am up to the challenge, and I hope I have earned your trust enough to give me a chance to continue and contribute to the hard work the Supporters Trust is currently undertaking.

I thank you for supporting the Newcastle United Supporters Trust and I hope I can rely on your vote. Thank you.


Daniel Olsen

My name is Daniel Olsen. I`m 38 at the time of writing, I have a wife whom I have been married with for 16 years and two sons of the ages nine and 15.
I am currently a used cars sales manager, a profession I have been in for around six years now.

I have submitted a candidate form because I have strongly believe in the work the Trust is doing. I have great respect in the way the organisation conducts its work. It is important for me in many battles to be patient, but also have the wisdom to know when to act and act swiftly.

The Trust has shown this by fighting for the fans in the recent takeover. But also, on the ticket refunds issue where the club had had not communicated with fans. The Trust then also managed to reach out the Premier League for a dialog, which subsequently led to communication from Newcastle United. And also many other issues.

It is quite easy to go out hard and start making demands when things do not go your way. But I believe in collecting facts, analyse and take a well weighted decision. This does not mean every decision has to take a certain amount of time. How a decision is made is reflective of the situation. Though facts are important to me in all my decisions. “Assumptions is the mother of all mistakes” is something I live by daily at work, and it has put me in good stead.

Before I got into the sales business, I worked five years as a manager at McDonalds. Here I also won “Restaurant manager of the year”. I write this because I think it is important that you know that I am an ambitious person. The growth the Trust has had is immense, and the bigger we are, the bigger the impact we can have when it matters.

I have many years of experience in leadership. In those years I have not been the type to take big risks, but I have been loyal, hungry, responsible and reflected in my decision making. That skillset is something I think the Trust need to cement even further to ensure that there will be no rash decisions.

I spend a lot of my time working with various teams. So general cooperation, delegating tasks and dialogue is something I am used to. In the Trust there are many voices that will want to be heard. We will have to make sure that the decisions we make are based upon the supporters’ best interests.

It is my wish that the Trust becomes fully United in the sense that even more members can be brought on board. And when there are challenges ahead of us, we can be a huge collective of people which no can ignore. At the same time, it is important that we have the right people to represent our interests.

I feel I am on the wavelength of most supporters. I founded NUFC360 and alongside many admins across several social media platforms, where we now bring you all the latest updates regularly. This is a volunteer operation, but it shows how committed I and others are. We have made tweaks here and there to improve, but continually want to upgrade the quality on what we deliver.

I have been a Newcastle United fan for well over 20 years, and I hope the fact that I also live in Norway, about 2000 miles away from Newcastle, does not make me less of a candidate in your eyes.

Hopefully, all this helps you understand what I’m about and that I’d be a right pick to sit amongst the others at the table of the Trust, representing your best interests.


Charlotte Robson

Hello! I’m Charlotte, and I would love it if you would vote for me. Here’s a little bit to introduce myself and why I’m running.

Sometimes I think I was cursed with supporting this football club. Maybe I did something terrible in a past life. But then I think: actually, I’ve been blessed by being part of this fanbase.

This is one of the most passionate, vocal, and loyal fanbases in the world. When I tell people I’m a Newcastle fan (and I do this far more regularly than a normal person might), more often than not I have people tell me that oh, they’ve seen Newcastle fans at one of their matches and they’re the loudest, best away fans. Or they visited St James’ Park once and it’s one of the best Premier League clubs they’ve been to. That’s us. That’s all of us.

I’d like to join the Trust Board because I believe in what they do. I believe in the power of our fans and the potential power of our Club as a force for good in the local and wider community. You only have to glance at the Trust’s website to see the list of achievements, most recently opening up dialogue with the Premier League about the failed Newcastle takeover. Make no mistake: that meeting would never have happened without the Trust and its members. I also believe that I could work well with the existing Board members and the new ones. I think I’m approachable (!) and I like to listen and talk to people, understand what their point of view is, and try to work with them to reach a reasonable solution. I’d like to be a part of the Trust that takes that further – that has conversations with official bodies on behalf of their members, and that can instigate change at a local and national level.

I’m proudly from the North East but I live in London at the moment, and I’ve been able to connect with so many fans and Trust members around the world through going to many away games (and home when I’m home, with my dad when he can bear to watch us) and have seen first-hand how incredible our fans are. I hate that we’re shut out of games at the moment, but I’d love the opportunity to be a part of the conversation about how we come back safely and securely when we can. I’m also a part of the true faith podcast, and have been for a few years now, and have had the privilege of that platform to engage with fans, and fans of other clubs, across the country and world.

In my outside-of-football life I work in the Human Resources team in a mid-sized investment management company. In this role it’s essential that I’m someone who can listen well, communicate effectively across all levels of the business, and effectively negotiate where needed. I work in a team and we contend with lots of complex employment issues, collaborating to get the best outcome for employee and business. I believe that these skills would suit the Trust Board well – I think one of the reasons for expanding the Board is to have a more collaborative group of people, who each bring something different to the table. Put simply: I love talking to people and hearing their priorities and concerns, and I think I’d be good at translating this into work that the Trust does.

I don’t have enough wordcount to get heavily into issues I have with the current way the Club interacts (or, probably more accurately, doesn’t interact) with fans and with the region, but if I was part of the Trust Board I would hope to continue the conversation between the Trust and the Club, and to encourage engagement on a regional level between NUFC and local businesses, events, and communities. St. James’ Park is the heart of Newcastle. It is so rare to have a football ground right in the centre of town, something the whole city vibrates around. It would be so easy and so mutually beneficial for the club to work with the community around it. Additionally, in my opinion it serves the club’s best interests to be as open as possible, and I can’t understand why such a well-supported club doesn’t engage with fans in a constructive way. The Trust has already worked tirelessly to organise meetings with senior Newcastle United figures and to apply pressure to the club around issues like communication relating to season tickets during the coronavirus pandemic. This is an incredible achievement, and I would love to help take it further. I will always work on improving communication with fans. We are the lifeblood of any club.

I’m extremely proud to be a member of this fanbase, supporting this mad soap opera of a club. I’m even more proud to be able to stand for election to help represent the same, hopefully eventually working with and on behalf of the best fans in the world. If you’ve stuck with this statement this long, I’m extremely impressed! And once again I’d love to have your vote. Thanks so much for reading and take care.


Stephen Harrop

Fans are the heartbeat of a club and they certainly are for a great club like ours. They inspire, they arouse passion and they need to be at the ground urging the team forward, the noise like you’ve never heard before, the chants and the groans. FANS NEED TO RETURN HOME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

First dragged as a young boy to a pre season friendly in 1968 my enduring love affair with Newcastle United has, like most of us,  been a gale force of emotion and sadly unrequited love, especially with the existing owner and the last 13 years.

Progression however has to be at the forefront of any club or organisation and it’s clear that this season there has been a genuine desire from fans to see the club move on. This is reflected in the numbers of fans joining the Trust and giving the authority and gravitas to follow it’s strategy

iIn applying for a position on the NUST Board  I feel I can add value to the Trust and to a group of people I admire for putting their heads above the parapet.

I have longstanding experience at board level after 36 years running businesses, Not-For-Profit co-operatives, mostly as MD or CEO. The root to get there was from humble beginnings starting at the factory floor, or in my case as the delivery driver getting up on those cool and brisk winter mornings at 4am. Drive and determination and the ability to learn quickly has been my root to a better future.

The Trust has to constantly evolve, be innovative and creative in achieving its goals and the prime one of getting closer to the club in the best interests of all fans.

Let’s face it we’re a disparate group of fans with a million and more ideas on how the club needs to perform. It’s not on the pitch but often off it that the key decisions for fans welfare, interests and a feeling of community are best developed.

If elected I’d certainly want to endorse more contact with fans and a wider selection of the         toon family.

We need to be creative and open in our messaging and lobbying, ensuring all parts of the         debate are heard and understood.

I’d like communication from club and the Trust to increase even in these difficult times.

I’d certainly look at a consensual approach, one learned over those years building             businesses, customer relationships, sponsors and realising that when goals are common         and aligned then positive results follow.

It’s a bigger and stronger organisation than it’s ever been and with 13’000 + voices it has a big part to play. It ranks amongst the largest of official supporters groups and we must continue to develop for the benefit of the many, not the few.

Great achievements can come from vision, ideas and a determination to put the wider group ahead of individual needs. Whilst the club is owned by one individual it’s US, the supporters, who provide the passion, the emotion and image that makes Newcastle United what it is.

What is a club after all?

Vote for me and I’ll put my experience, my creativity and love for NUFC into a passionate resolve to work hard to encourage a better future for the fans and the ethos that Newcastle United stands for.


Marc Corby

From my first visit to St James Park in January 1988 watching a 5-0 win over Swindon Town to being currently “barred” from attending games due to Covid19, it’s never easy being a supporter of Newcastle United F.C!  But what a journey along the way.  The highs and lows, harmony (yes, it did exist!) and turmoil – one thing connects us all – our love of United, the City, our history and of course our aspirations for a positive future.

Watching Chair Alex Hurst play the role of Kevin Keegan and galvanize a frustrated and angry fanbase during 2019 was a joy to watch.  United’s support has always been stronger in numbers and, similar to February 1992 when the gate almost doubled for the return of ‘King Kev,’ increasing the membership numbers from 250 from to 14k is simply phenomenal.

I’ve thought long and hard about standing for election but believe the time is right for me to play my part in enhancing the tremendous work Alex and the rest of a transparent and passionate board continue to achieve.  It was on the back of relegation in 2009 that I started an NUFC Nostalgia Facebook page attempting to give disillusioned supporters a platform to discuss times where we felt more of a connection to the club.  Simply put, when it felt “ours.”  11 years later, almost 7k supporters from all backgrounds and generations interact regularly but the majority are sadly out of touch with modern day NUFC.  We must do our bit to tempt them back.

So how do we do it?  Writing for numerous fanzines over the years before becoming a regular contributor for True Faith since 2014, interviewing ex-players, growing media connections and spending time with various fan groups has allowed me to build up a strong network of supporters and contacts of which many I consider friends.  The majority have had enough of being a number and their lack of involvement decreases with each passing year.  Paying hard earned money to watch a game of football isn’t a priority anymore and that saddens me.  We all know numerous supporters who have reluctantly walked away from a club that’s in their blood.  Therefore, regular and progressive communication with the club is a start but also a must.  The community has to feel a part of the Football Club, like we all did when Hall and Keegan worked their magic for the betterment of NUFC back in the early 90’s.

We used to take over towns and cities during Keegans first 2 spells on Tyneside and it was simply a joyous experience.  A United fanbase is a better fanbase and a trusting fanbase is an even stronger one.  I strive to ensure any doubts moving forward are discussed diplomatically and openly with the sole purpose of ensuring we ALL pull in the same direction.

A strong communicator with experience in event management, my social media pages and nostalgic writing might put a huge part of me in the past, but with your vote I know I can play a role in ensuring YOUR Trust goes from strength to strength in the future.  My intentions are clear:  I promise to take your points forward, to ensure your heard whilst attempting to bring the fanbase together as one.

Anyone who knows me appreciates my passion for the club and my drive to galvanize, but ultimately your belief in me allows me to stand for you in these testing times.  It is crucial I get to know as many of you as possible to understand your passion, your goals and beliefs as well as understand the obvious issues we’re all having with the club from ticketing, refunds, frustrations and an obvious lack of communication and involvement.

No matter what happens, we all can play a role to make our Football Club a more enjoyable one.

Believe in the Trust.  You’re in very good hands.
All the best.


Jeffrey Lindahl

Personal information
Name: Jeffrey Lindahl
Age: 49
Status: Married
City: Malmö
Country: Sweden
Apply for: Standing for a position on the NUST Board

My passion of Newcastle United:

Football is my favourite sport since I was young. I try to studying how to manage and training young kids. I spend most of my time watching football. Everyone in my family knows that I love this sport and they support me in every way.

In 1996, I started following Newcastle United since Alan Shearer join the team as attacker of Newcastle United. At that time was the greatest time for Newcastle United because we were a strong team then I can still remember that when we play Champions League 1997/1998 against Barcelona and we win 3-2. Although he resigned from this team. I still continue follow this team because I believe “as United as one”. It is always stuck in my mind.

I keep following the news of this team from internet, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It is like I am part of this team. I have the passion for the club and the fanbase. I try to see as many football games that I can on tv.
In 2011, I went to Newcastle and attended a football match at St James park between Newcastle United – Everton. It was a very impressive game. I believe that our team can develop in the future.
I am interested in a position on the NUST Board. I would like to try to make a different for the NUST and the fanbase of Newcastle United.
–    try to make NUST and fanbase stronger in international way in the world to make us stronger and bigger fanbase in international level.
–    try to make #NUFC’s International fanbase and try to make it grow more. I would like you give me a chance to make it success.
–    Try to change negative

Many times, I read comments about team and the players. I found that some of them were written in a negative way which was not good for team or player image and would discourage Fanclub. I think we should turn it into positive energy and make the team stronger.

I have a strong determination to improve and make a different with my passion.

Finally, I hope that you will give me opportunity to be a part of the great development of the NUST.

Best Regards,
Jeffrey Lindahl


Alex Nicholson

Sir Bobby Robson had an incredible way with words, and a number of his famous quotes will resonate with all football fans for many years to come. There’s one in particular that stuck at the front of my mind when I started to write this. It’s one of his longer ones, and since we all know it, I won’t quote it in its entirety – it focused on the passion and pride that supporters have to their club, and the romance in this.

Newcastle United fans in particular are known worldwide for their passion, their pride, and the love that they have for their club. It’s taken the club to unexpected heights, and sustained it, when the bad times came.

The love that we have for our club hasn’t changed in the last 13 years, and will be here long after the end of this regime. But for the last 13 years, I think it’s fair to say that a spark has gone. We’ve had good times – finishing fifth, the grit in the promotion charge, and of course, the showmanship of Hatem Ben Arfa. But this hasn’t been a constant.

A sense of apathy has come into this club, and I wanted to use this note to try and unpack that a little bit and set out how a strong, and united Supporters Trust can play a major role in bringing this spark back.

We all want our club to do well, and most of us got caught up in the potential fairytale of a lucrative takeover. To most fans however, we don’t expect to challenge the top 6 on a regular basis, and bring in the top players. What we want is to have pride for the club and a trust that those in charge want the best for it. I have no criticism for the players, or the manager in fact – I fully believe they have pride for the club, and a strong desire to take it forward.

But at the very top, there is a lack of professionalism, transparency and accountability. We appear to lack the structures, facilities, and the ambition that other clubs do – we don’t need to match the facilities of Spurs (which after watching the documentary, look incredible..!) but we need to go beyond dustbins.

What we need, is to feel like we have the structure of a legitimate Premier League club that wants to go forward, that wants to improve – and the facilities and the structure of the club (senior staff and a clear direction) need to be at the heart of this. We need to have a professional setup that runs smoothly, and has a desire to move forward, not sideways, or backwards.

The Trust has a major role to play in this, and below I will set out what I would like to see happen.

First, we need to have a strong, and active fanbase, united by an open, transparent and ambitious Trust. There are two points I will focus on: Engagement and Representation.

Engagement: The Trust needs to be as broad a ‘church’ as possible – it needs to include those that attend every game, and those that turn the tv on in the middle of the night to see us utterly beaten by Brighton. I therefore would want to see a proactive social media engagement plan to bring in as many voices as possible- this would include establishing individuals in different parts of the country / outside the UK to drive this forward in their region. These individuals would be equipped with all the information they need (Tweet templates/infographics etc) but would be empowered to lead this engagement themselves. The aim would be to build membership levels but ensure that we cement a strong and representative fanbase around the club.

Representation: I greatly enjoyed watching the recent online ‘townhall’ meetings that really demonstrate the passion that supporters have for the club, and their desire to engage with the Trust. I would like to build on this and see us organise almost ‘Party Conference’ esque events.

Initially online, it would see panel discussions, informal conversations, and potentially concrete outcomes to agree. Members would have an opportunity to put forward questions to frame panel discussions, agendas for sessions, and host their own mini-workshops. It would have three aims: To ensure all voices are heard; to ensure we get all the evidence we need behind the decisions we make; and further unite supporters around the vision of the Trust and what we want to achieve.

With this behind us, I would want to see the Trust engage even further with the club, local MPs, city officials and other Trusts – I know there is great work already happening but with an even bigger and representative fanbase, I believe we would have more of a strength to do this.

The purpose of this engagement would be to:
●    Build an even stronger relationship with the club, offering practical advice, opinions and concerns where necessary – challenging the club when needed, but also helping to support them when there are opportunities to do so;
●    Cement the relationship with the local officials so that when there is a need for coordinated efforts – i.e on ticket refunds, we have the networks in place to ensure a strong but united effort – putting pressure in the right places;
●    Further explore where Trusts of other clubs can work together – sharing experiences, and being ready to unite together when we need to – i.e on tv scheduling; ticket prices; and fan attendance at games

Through this, we can have a strong and united voice that can hold the club accountable by working with others to challenge it when needed, and helping to generate new thinking that can take it forward.

If this resonates with you, then please vote for me in the election. I look forward to your feedback, your challenge, and the opportunity to work with you to take the Trust even further forward.


Jonathan Lane

I’ll start with a bit about me first. I’m a 34 year old husband of 4 years and Dad to a 3 year old daughter and a 1 year old Son.  I work for a large Contact Centre Outsourcer as a Team Leader and have been in full time employment since the age of 18.  I was also involved in the Fans Forum at NUFC for around 3 years.

I’d always dreamed of being a Season Ticket holder since my first match v Wimbledon in October 1995 in the Leazes end, and when I’d been privileged to sit in the Milburn Paddock for 14 years I’d always said “I’ll never give up these seats” but unfortunately football has changed, and it feels to me that the club have decided to accept their “standing” instead of doing all they can to compete which is unacceptable.

Sir Bobby famously said “what is a club anyway?” Well it’s not this. It’s not furlough, S****s D****t, 10 changes in the cup, 16th, no fan communication, relegation and complete apathy setting in.  This isn’t the Newcastle United I fell in love with.

Since attending my first game in 1995 I’ve enjoyed an incredible ride following our football club. I’ve seen what can be, Cup finals, European away days, party coaches, 5am cans and Gallowgate Flags.

As a new father I want my kids to be aspirational, I want them to grow up supporting an ambitious and inclusive football club. I want to see the excitement on their faces as I take them to their first game, I want them to enjoy cup runs, away days and the crazy roller-coaster that supporting our amazing club can be.

As a board member I’d work tirelessly to drive the club to do its best at every level. I’m fully behind the work that Alex and the NUST board members have done over the last 2 years or so and have seen first hand how that change in leadership and swell in the membership base has had a tangible effect on NUFC having to take notice of NUST.

When I was sat on the forum I tried to represent balance and fairness. One of my nominees Steve Wallwork was the Away Fan rep but it may suprise a lot of you that we were fairly aligned when it came to things like ticketing.  I actually think the current system is very good, but with a couple of small tweaks it could be better and more fair.  Is it right that a new Season Ticket Holder has more chance of an away ticket than someone who after 35 years of following home and away has lost patience and doesn’t want to spend hundreds on a Season Ticket anymore? Maybe a loyalty scheme over the last 10 years home and away would fix that (and impact very few people in the process)?

My biggest moment of pride with the Forum was the closure of Strawberry Place on match days. Something that I introduced on an email thread prior to the first Fan Forum meeting which Kris Woods and Steve Hastie drove further and we saw a real result there. This was something that should’ve happened years earlier but with our pressure and ability to work together for the Fans we achieved something which has immensely improved the match day experience for fans.

So what’s my Manifesto? I want our club to show some ambition. My nephew turned around to me once and said excitedly “Uncle Jon, we’re 17th”. This broke my heart as it showed me how damaging the last 15 years have been to the club. We need a club that tries. I think we have that with most of our playing squad now but it also needs to come from the very top with investment in the Club Infrastructure. Our commercial revenue although in recent years has improved is no where near where it should be which would bring us more revenue for reinvestment. I’m all for a sustainable club, but we could be more than a sustainable club that thrives for a 17th place finish.

I’m used to communicating with the club. I built good relationships whilst on the Fans Forum and although I’m always constructive I’m never afraid to ask difficult questions. I ultimately want what’s best for us as fans, which is a club that tries it’s best wherever possible.

My day job over the last 12 years or so has involved implementing new processes and ideas to help our business work smarter and not harder. I know this doesn’t sound very sexy but that’s exactly why the Board want new members. For new ideas and a different viewpoint. In conjunction with that I’ve got a lot of faith in the current leadership and believe Alex’s approach to the club on behalf of NUST has got us more results in the last 2 years than the Fans Forum ever managed in their 5 years or so.  Nothing against any of the former members but in hindsight this did become a strained process over time, and because the club didn’t communicate, the scrutiny of what the Forum did became above what it should’ve ever have been dealing with.

I want my kids to grow up in a region where NUFC is relevant again. Where kids want a Toon shirt not because that’s who their Dad supports but because it’s a club to be proud of and they want to represent the area.  A club that regularly produces, attracts and nurtures young talent.  A club that wants to communicate and doesn’t shy away from criticism.  And longer term I want NUST to work with prospective new owners for Board Representation, with an ultimate goal of a shareholding in the club.  I believe with the right approach all these things are possible, and I’d be honoured to represent you all to help achieve this if I’m successful. #VoteJon ”

Thanks

Jon


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