NUST Board Election 2019: Your Candidates

NUST News - 17-10-2019


Many thanks for accepting my initial application to become an official NUST board member.

I have pondered this in recent weeks, as I’m keen to help make a difference to our football club. Having spent time with numerous fan groups and occasionally writing for fanzines, I feel I have built up a solid relationship with a network of like-minded fans who also wish to ensure the club continues to be the best it can be.

It is through their encouragement that I have pursued this desire to make a difference by applying to be on the NUST board.

My main ambition for the trust would be to ultimately gain 51% ownership of our club so that the true custodians have the final say on matters that effect the sporting and community institution that is NUFC. However, I believe that is obvious for any member of the trust.

Through my involvement with Wor Flags, AshleyOut and The Magpie Group to name but a few, I have learned that its only through positive communication that people are heard, and whilst very few issues are positive, I believe it’s important to engage in such a manner that provokes thought, discussion and understanding to gain the support of the fan base. In doing so, the trust can grow and strengthen its hand. Therefore my first goal would be to extend a hand to our fan base, in their local communities around the suburbs of Newcastle to understand their most pertinent issues. A suggestion to help achieve this would be having a monthly meeting at local working men’s clubs (for example) or anywhere with a function room to do a meet and greet / informal chat that reaches out to fans who want their views to be heard.

I would also like to contribute an initiative which I begun with other like minded fans at “Toon For Change” as I feel #SupportOurToon ties in with the Foodbank and more community related issues. In particular, ensuring the local community doesn’t suffer as a result of the poor ownership of our club, but also extending further to less club related matters. Unfortunately, this has previously lacked the resource to really get it off the ground. However, with the trust I believe this is something that could highly benefit the local area.

I am keen that the fan base can trust their trust and feel it is only through unity that NUST can flourish. I hope, as a supporter no different from any other, I can bring an air of relatability (for love of a better term) and help push the trust to the forefront of Newcastle United matters.

I look forward to hearing your response.

Kind Regards,

Chris Heron


I would really like your vote in this election process so we can finish what we have started at the Newcastle United Supporter’s Trust.

We came together as the ‘new’ board in February this year.  Less than 250 members, no database, no functioning website, no bank account, no purpose and no direction.  It has taken a Herculean effort from many Newcastle United Supporters to turn this around.

Even before the departure of Rafa Benitez, we had recruited more paid members than the Trust had ever had before (1,100).  We had lofty ambitions as a board, but the supporters of this great football club took the initiative themselves, joining in their thousands.

Now the Trust has nearly 9,000 members and I called for these elections as I’m passionate that you should be able to choose who leads you on the board.

Of all the key work this board has done is work with Newcastle United Football Club on its fan communication (or lack of).  The club have admitted to the Trust and the media that fan communication has been below par. I have been working with the club (as have others outside of NUST) on their fan communication strategy.  Moving forward the Trust will be at the centre of fan communication (as well as other key fan groups) and the Trust have agreed terms to analyse, using a professional accountant, the football clubs annual accounts produced during Mike Ashley’s ownership.  This is major progress with Newcastle United and I’m passionate that we continue to develop this relationship as a Trust to be able to sensibly hold the club to account.

The argument that fans aren’t interested in what the club or owner have to say, is simply not true.  I want an open, transparent Newcastle United that is best run in the interest of supporters.  It essential the club is continually pushed by the Trust on fan communication. There were 47,000 Newcastle United supporters in the ground for the win against Manchester United – we owe it to them and to all mags around the world as a Trust to get answers from the club when we can.  We must also provide feedback and advice to the people running the club, in the hope they will listen.

I would like your vote as a board member to continue to push this relationship in the right direction.

I am also passionate that there should be ownership change at Newcastle United.  The football club and the owner confirm the club is still for sale.  Like many others I believe the club must be sold.  It is time that as a supporter base we took a different approach.  For nearly twelve years we have argued amongst ourselves.  Protested. Boycotted.  It is heart breaking that thousands of fans, who care passionately about their club feel like they can no longer attend home games.  That must change with new ownership. Ownership which involves supporters at some level.

In the last twelve months I have been working behind the scenes to put together one of the most ambitious fan ownership schemes in Premier League history.  Making sure that the legal structures of such an attempt were correctly constituted and finding appropriate people willing to publicly back the idea, willing to speak for it publicly.

I am not proposing a share offer, or anything of that nature.  We need to be ready when ownership change does happen.  We cannot, as supporters, be left in this perilous position again. We need a seat at the table. We need to fundraise as supporters to either buy the club should it fall like other North East teams have.

We also must be ready to buy a stake in this football club should it change hands so that new owners work with the Trust and the support, not just in a ceremonial manner, but with a percentage of ownership and an influence on the most important cultural asset in the North of England.

Newcastle United fans need to be organised. There needs to be a movement for both protesters and supporters who still love going to St James’ Park.

I would like you to vote for me with the goal of pushing through a supporter pledge scheme that gives us another option for the future.

Leading the Trust since February has become another full time job for me.  It’s not something I wanted to do but felt that someone had to try and revitalise the Trust and breathe some life into it. Part one of the revitalisation has been completed thanks to the incredible work of other board members who have done so much for the Trust and the thousands of you that have joined.

My first act as a Chair of the Trust was to slash the membership costs that for too long had been prohibitive

Now I want to finish the job. I want to grow the Trust with a new board with another new vision.  I want us to have a say in the running of the football club and we must start somewhere.

It won’t take a week, a month or even a year but we’ve had twelve years of Mike Ashley, scandal, relegation battles (not to mention relegation’s) and division.

It’s time to start something new and take a long-term view to our involvement as fans at this football club.

If this appeals to you, please vote for me in this election and let’s try something radical, something positive and something United.

Alex Hurst


I am a solicitor and a professional commercial mediator.  I have been a solicitor for 41 years but I have been a supporter of Newcastle United all my life and actively for 50 years.  I started in the days of the management of Joe Harvey, including standing on the terracing at the Popular Side for every home leg of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1979, through to and including the present management.

Whilst I have been a fan for 50 years and upwards, I am not a fanatic.

As a professional solicitor and mediator, I am an excellent negotiator – I am able to communicate with everyone from other boards of directors to the owners of football clubs to the average person on the terraces, and I believe that I can command the respect of them all.

I am well able to work to a brief, which is what I do as a lawyer all of the time and could therefore carry forward the decisions and wishes of the board of directors of NUST into any discussions and negotiations with power and gravitas and within such a brief.

As a Director of a number of Companies, both commercial and not for profit, I am very well versed in Boardroom etiquette and procedures.

As an elected Councillor (sorry its Gateshead and not Newcastle!) for over 25 years I am very experienced in parliamentary style debate which respects opponents – whilst still beating them – and enables control of all emotions whilst channelling them to their best effect. I am always happy to argue my corner and the corner of those I am representing.

NUFC is its supporters; its strength is its supporters and its success will hinge on its supporters. I want our Club to reach the levels of success it deserves and its supporters deserve and if I can play a small part in achieving that I will be extremely happy.

I believe that I would be an asset to the Board and be a successful and powerful advocate for the Trust. I have not previously put myself forward for any such position but the present situation of the football club is such that now is the time for action and I stand ready to serve.

I hope you will elect me to the Board and I can assure every member of the trust that they will not regret my election.

Peter J. Maughan


Newcastle United has always been something which has been unbelievably important to me. As a match going Mag since the age of 6, Newcastle United has defined my mood for many a week, as I know it will have many. Anyone who knows me, is aware I travel to pretty much every game from Manchester and this football club is as important as most things in my life. This is why I’ve made the decision to run for election on the board of the supporters trust. I feel I can add value to the Trust as someone who goes every week. I understand a lot of frustrations of a lot of Trust members and feel that I can help represent their views on the board and make their voices heard.

As someone away from the region I feel that in terms of connecting with media or enhancing the profile of the trust I can help. Especially being located in a city with MediaCity. The promotion of the trust into the national trust can only help. I know this is something our London members have tried and succeeded with. Additionally, I feel I can meet and see members who may be away from the region but still want to involved and hear their views heard. As someone who’s lived in Manchester and London over the past 11 years the reach of Newcastle United never ceases to amaze.

I believe everyone on the Trust wants to have a better Newcastle United and one of the aims is to have more Trust representatives with access to the club. I know a frustration of many has been the lack of communication between the club and the fans. The Fans forum being a prime example. If the fans forum is placed together in the right manner it can be very successful, an organised open forum would be something I would love to see. Ours seems to something the club does only to tick a box. This is something that I would aim to change as a member of the Trust.

There’s other areas which are of great importance to a number of match going fans. The lack of help from the club with regards to ticketing, tv schedules and travel all need to improve. The club have never once made a point about the 14 consecutive away games on a Monday night since we last had a home one. I want to know why.

Why unlike other clubs do we not help with away travel. No set of fans spend more on travelling to and from games and again the club help little on trying to help people with this. Again, this is something that I will try desperately to get answers over.

There’s numerous other issues at hand. The clubs relationship with Sports Direct and their claims our owner hasn’t taken a penny out of the club. These are all things we all want asking. I will do my upmost to try and get answers. If the club have nothing to hide then surely they’ll let us see the books.

All in all I would ask for your vote to be part of the Board of the Trust as I feel I could add value and make this something for our supporters to be proud of. Anyone who knows me will be aware of my massive passion for this football club and my desire for it to be as great as we all know it can be. I honestly believe the Trust can play a part in us getting a Newcastle United to be proud of and I want to be part of a movement that will hopefully achieve that.


Jack McLane


I would like to put myself forward for the Trust this coming term. I previously joined NUST back in early February 2019. We decided it was best that the majority of the board stood down to make the Nust board open to everyone of our members. To be honest, I’ve given this application a great deal of deliberation. When we took over from the old board back in February we had our share of problems to work through and we have achieved a great deal in such a small space of time. Membership has increased from just over 300 to close to 10,000, new banking is now in place and a new website has been created this should help to take the Trust into the new decade. Obviously, I cannot take full credit for all these things but ultimately, I’ve enjoyed taking part in this team effort. I still feel that we haven’t achieved everything that we set out to do and I feel I still have a lot more to give.

The trust now having almost 10,000 members is a great achievement but I’m not satisfied with that. I would like to help drive this and ultimately help build a much stronger membership. We have an untapped fan base that is looking for direction and I believe the Trust is that direction. Alex Hurst brought the idea forward to reduce the membership prices (one year being only £1. & lifetime for only £10.) As we know and understand the importance of strength in numbers when trying to communicate to NUFC.  This was the perfect opportunity to start to get the fans involved. I wish I could say that we have a club that is happy to engage with the supporters but we don’t. However, the work that we have focused on in this area is starting to come to fruition. This has mostly been carried out by Alex building trust with the club via Lee Marshall (NUFC fans liaison officer) to name one of his titles. Lee Marshall did meet with the full board to hear what we had to say and took onboard most of what we said. This I believe has allowed the relationship to develop. There’s nobody kidding themselves into thinking it’s perfect but it’s showing a great deal of promise but a lot more work is needed.

Around this time last year I co-founded London Magpie Group. We have taken every opportunity to protest Mike Ashley’s ownership of NUFC. Our message has been clear on this stance we are everywhere & we are not happy. Our protests have made national news at Parliament, Oxford street, & most recently the Sports Direct AGM.

I’ve made some great connections along the way with media and broadcasters. I’m also heavily involved with the Newcastle United Fans Show on Love Sport Radio. The Radio station gives us a great platform to air our views & the chance to interact with NUFC fans from all over the world. Working for the Trust puts us in a great unique opportunity to raise these points with the club. I need your vote so that I can continue to apply pressure on the Club through the Trust. The Club have an obligation to meet with the Trust & it’s important that we exercise this right to our full advantage.

Ultimately my passion for the trust is with fan ownership part or full and once again great steps have been taken. Norman Watson is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to this side and it’s a pleasure to discuss details with him. NUFC started out in life with fan bonds then in the late 1980’s these were sold to Sir John Hall and company. In the 1990’s the club floated on the stock exchange and fans were able to buy shares in the club. The pride was once more restored. 2007 and Mike Ashley bought out the Halls, shepherd and compulsory bought out the fans too we all took a hit from this but ultimately we all lost a bit of our club. I would love to be involved with helping to continue to set out what we have started on this front. The Trust is completely in the driving seat when it comes to this and even if I’m not successful with the coming elections then I will still be involved in a volunteering capacity.

It’s time to get our club back. It may not happen whilst Mike Ashley is around but we have to be prepared for the day when he’s not around.

Thank you for your time.

Warm Regards Shaun Wade

I hope I can count on your support.


I was brought up to follow Newcastle by my Dad who ensured I inherited his unconditional passion for the city and the football club. I sporadically attended home games as a child and when the opportunity first presented itself to go to an away game, aged 13, I was delighted. Having used a supporters coach for home games and hearing stories from the lads on there, I knew this was the start of something special for me. From that day on, I knew this would shape the rest of my life.

Since then, I have done everything possible to ensure I attend as many matches as possible, proudly managing to complete 2 entire seasons 2010 – 2012. Despite the thorough enjoyment shared on a weekly basis, some of the things myself and fellow fans have endured have often been farcical. While the entertainment on display for 90 minutes isn’t something we have control over, I believe NUST and other similar organisations can work together to improve the experience we have as fans. This applies to all fans, not just those who are able to attend matches frequently.

I am a huge advocate for safe standing. As a season ticket holder for more than half of my life, it would please me greatly if this was available to our supporters at St. James’ Park. This is something I would love to be involved in. I currently sit in the Gallowgate Stand, behind the goal a few blocks from the Strawberry Corner. From my seat, I can often hear chants generated from the corner and also from Block V in the upper tier, although the noise is often only within these areas and immediately around my seat it can be fairly quiet for the most part. If these 2 areas merged the atmosphere at home games would improve massively, subsequently the rest of the stadium would be lifted and if the players are too, even better!

As I have worked in the IT industry for 7 years, I am aware of the necessity of cyber security. Despite this, I feel the newly implemented online ticketing system should be reviewed. My online account has been blocked several times for unknown reasons. Various discussions with fellow supporters and box office staff have provided no real conclusion. Recently I purchased tickets for a game on a computer using my debit card. It processed fine. The next game, my account had been blocked for no reason I am aware of. Luckily, I work 4 miles from the stadium so when this happens I can visit the box office during my break at work. However I am aware it is much more hassle for other fans and the limitations for our online accounts should be made clearer to us and preferably altered. Online fraud is a genuine problem people face, but who is going to fraudulently purchase a ticket for someone?

One of the most frustrating parts of being an away fan is the impact of companies like Sky and BT. Admittedly, the financial influence these companies have means it will affect football fans forever. Despite this, I think the planning and confirmation of fixture changes could be improved. I would like to suggest something like a pre-warning to fans. If a game is subject to change we should be made aware in advance so we can think twice about booking arrangements. A perfect example being as I write this, the next set of changes are delayed and out of nowhere we will be given news which could spoil what should be a great day out, particularly when many supporters will have already spent money to organise their weekends. Furthermore, I believe in certain circumstances the club should subsidise fans who not only need to spend their hard-earned money, but then need to use holidays at work to attend matches on a Monday night, for example. The cost of a few coaches to Aston Villa next month is nothing compared to the money generated by television rights. A similar scheme should apply to fixtures such as the Tottenham match earlier this season where the train schedule did not favour our fans on August bank holiday weekend.

Football aside, I always endeavour to extend my responsibilities when given the chance. In my academic life I have volunteered for roles such as Head of Student Voice and I believe previous experiences like this will help me to engage fully with the role as an NUST board member. I also use social media frequently and would be able to utilise this as an effective method of communication if I am successfully elected. If there is any way I can help other football supporters, especially ours, it would be an absolute pleasure.

Thank you for reading.

J. Bell


For those of ye who divvint knaa, my name is Paul O’Brien, aka Paulie Belta: writer and singer of daft songs about Newcastle, and I’m standing for election to the NUST Board.

I moved back to the North-East in 2015 after having lived in various different places for the previous sixteen years. I initially moved away to go to University in Lincoln, and ended up spending seven years there. I had no idea that the Imps wore red and white stripes, and I’m sure that my face was a picture the first time I saw a load of their supporters together! It’s a lovely city though, and I consider it to be my second home. I remember at the time there was some sort of trouble going on within Lincoln City F.C. but I wasn’t particularly aware of what it was, and it wasn’t a concern of mine as a young lad at Uni who supported a different club. It is only very recently that I learned that this was the start of the Lincoln City Supporters’ Trust, and their successful campaign to take back control of their club.

Lincoln City is now a community-owned club, and their achievements in recent years have been remarkable by anybody’s standards. Danny and Nicky Cowley were appointed to manage the club in 2016, with Lincoln in the National League. Less than four years later they are in League One, and also had an unforgettable F.A.Cup run which saw them reach the quarter final as a NonLeague side: the first team to do that in 103 years! Add to that a trip to Wembley, as winners of the Checkatrade trophy. Gates have tripled at Sincil Bank, and though the Cowley brothers have since left, there is a buzz in the city about football. This hasn’t happened by accident: this is what happens when your football club is run properly.

With all due respect to Lincoln, they have nowhere near as big a fanbase as Newcastle United, and they managed to successfully change the course of history for their club that they love, by coming together as a community and taking control. The establishment of Supporters Direct by the Government has made this a reality for fans of Lincoln, Portsmouth, Enfield, AFC Wimbledon, and other clubs which I won’t list here, as I only have a thousand words. My point is: there is a national framework for Supporters’ Trusts, and a pathway to fan ownership.

Now that our membership has rocketed to around 10,000 it is an appropriate moment for members to have a chance to select who they want to represent them. I believe that people should have as many options available to them as possible, and I ultimately believe that the democratic process will see the right people take NUST forward.

With that in mind, and having spoken with a number of people within the Trust, I decided to put myself up for election. This is not a decision I took lightly. I believe that the role of a NUST Board member is a privileged one. To represent your community is a great honour and should be treated as such. Should I be elected to the Board, please know that this is truly how I feel. I see every day how much this club means to so many people, and I will do my best to be a good ambassador (dodgy music notwithstanding).

There has been some great work done by NUST so far, including establishing the foodbank, objecting to the Strawberry Place development, and the recent drive to recruit more members, and I would relish the opportunity to build on this good work going forward. I have a number of ideas of my own to bring to the table, and I will always be open for anybody to approach if they have some suggestions of their own. The point of this all is that we are all in it together, we all have a right to our opinions, and we all have a right to be heard on those opinions. We’re not all going to agree on everything, but I believe that the Supporters’ Trust is the best way forward, and the more members we have, the better it will operate. Hopefully we will be able to develop a better functioning relationship between the club and the supporters.

At the moment, Newcastle United is suffering: some of the performances on the pitch have been woeful, attendances are the lowest in over a decade, and many season ticket holders have walked away. Nobody believes the takeover rumours any more, and a lot of us are expecting to lose our best players come January. There has been pressure on Mike Ashley from the Geordies before, but not like this. As the banners clearly state, “this isn’t blowing over” and even results like the one against Man United won’t change the situation.

As strange as this may sound to many, this is a time for optimism. We are now at a crossroads in the history of our wonderful club. NUST will play an important role in the future of Newcastle

United, and I look forward to seeing further progress to the great work already done, whether I am elected or not.

I’ll leave you with a quote from King Kev: the one displayed by Wor Flags, which is as true now as when he said it…

“Don’t ever give up on your club, keep supporting it. It’s your club and trust me one day you will get your club back and it will be everything you wanted it to be. Newcastle United is bigger than anyone. It hurts I know but just keep going. He’s only one man. We are a city, a whole population, trust me.”

Mike Ashley’s time of complete control over Newcastle United is coming to an end.

He is one man, we are legion, we are United!

Howay the Lads!

Vote BELTA and aal that!


I have been a Newcastle United fan all of my life, supporting the team from the terraces for over 30 years. This year, after all of these years supporting the club, I gave up my season ticket and vowed not to return until Mike Ashley leaves. There are thousands more fans like me. We want change, and I believe the best vehicle through which to achieve this is the Supporters Trust.

I was a member of the Trust when it formed following Keegan’s resignation in 2008 and helped set up the Junior Supporters Trust for younger fans. I am currently an organiser with The Magpie Group and I have been involved in various campaigns the group has arranged and co-ordinated. I work as a secondary school teacher in Gateshead and I’m a Trade Union Representative for the National Education Union.

The current board of the Supporters’ Trust has made great progress in growing and developing the organisation and should be commended for this, particularly the development of the foodbank and strategies to increase the membership. I share the Trust’s long-term vision to develop formal links with the club and if I were to be elected to the board, I would fully support and help progress this vision and any other future initiatives.

Whilst I agree that the Trust are not, and should not be, a protest group, there is no reason why we cannot talk to the club and participate in action at the same time, providing that that action is agreed upon by a majority of the Trust’s members. After all, other Trusts manage to do both, why can’t we? With over 10,000 members, we could really bring about the changes we so desperately need to see our club prosper once again, and if the majority of members are in favour of a particular course of action, then the Trust should listen to its members and mobilise them to support that action. I was particularly disappointed to see that the Trust did not support the #boycottarsenal campaign, despite an overwhelming majority of its members being in favour of the campaign. If I were to be elected to the board, I would ensure that members’ views were listened to and acted upon. After all, without the valued members, the Trust would not exist and we would not be able to continue to build on some of the excellent work to date.

If elected, I would also aim to develop stronger links with other fan groups. I have witnessed first hand the hard work ordinary fans put in to force change at the club and I would build closer links with these fans to harness this energy and increase our numbers. I already have close links with many of these groups and I would meet regularly with them to discuss how the Trust can support them and how we can work together to strengthen our collective voice.

I believe that I have the necessary skills and attributes to support the Trust to develop further, but to also push for change in the way members’ views are acted upon, and I hope that I can help make the changes which will bring our club back to the fans.

Michael Mannion


“Thor wis lots o’ lads an’ lassies there, aal wi’ smiling faces”

Is a line from one of our songs but these words aren’t resonating with a lot of people at the moment! The Supporters trust should be in a position to help this and I would love the chance to represent the regular fans.

About me:

I want to set out in this manifesto that I feel like I am a “regular bloke” that has our Supporters interests at heart. If I was a Newcastle player past or present, I’d be David Batty, yes really!

I was born in the General hospital and there was no chance of putting another kit on other than the black and white from a youngster. The first time I saw NUFC was as a 4year old to watch Mick Quinn bang in 4 goals on his debut. I am reliably informed there may have been a boycott that day…..Familiar times.

Local Fans:

There are differing opinions across the fanbase about boycotts and how we get the smiles back on the faces of NUFC fans. What I believe is that the supporters trust should be used to garner the opinions of our fans and see what direction the fans want to go. Supporters need a voice and this is particularly important for premier league clubs where the corporate machines feel a long way from the every day fan. The Trust is facing a fundamental dilemma – how to best represent and engage with the fan base, whilst also maintaining a productive working relationship with the club. Members feedback is as important as ever. I feel I can play a big part in this, given that my day job is relationship management.

As a members’ organisation, all decisions taken should be in the interests of members and engagement with those people is critical. This can only happen with more frequent interaction across a wide range of platforms. Social media is one thing but visits to social clubs and face to face meetings is key too. Transparency of the decisions and actions taken is critical to keep the trust credible with supporters. I’d love to help continue the good work thus far by adding new events and ideas.

I have several ideas to help engagement with the club, helping away day fans with support for the ever-changing fixtures and integration of safe standing to help our decreasing atmosphere that I would love to be in a position to help with.

Local Community:

The Supporters trust also has a responsibility to the local community and I feel the need for the trust to engage more with the local people. I remember boards of the past setting up local achiever awards to give awards to those helping in Newcastle and surrounding areas. I believe the club and trust can do a lot more to support under privileged people in our area and I would love to focus on this if elected. I already have contacts with local charities that I hope to be in a position to support.

Overseas fans:

One of the things I am passionate about is welcoming overseas fans to our great city and showing it off! I have previously hosted fan groups from Sweden and Norway showing them around our city. I have also welcoming Spanish and Italian fans in the Gallowgate over the last couple of years. I’d love to continue that work with other fans across the globe and make the trust a vehicle for people to come to and ask advice for all things Newcastle related.

Sum up:

It is supporters who are the true lifeblood of the game, following their teams all over the country. I would love to be elected to represent these fans. I want to contribute positively to our local community and to supporters, home and abroad.  Football has been a huge part of my life, both playing at grass roots level and following NUFC and I know how it can bring joy (at times) to many people.

The character of OUR Club and the legacy of fans from generations before is an integral part of why NUFC is special to us. We should always be vigilant and passionate about protecting and safeguarding our club. The Supporters trust is in a position to care for our heritage here and now and for the future generations. It will be a privilege to be on the board and to help make a difference! Either way, hopefully the trust board can have a hand in us all standing there…

“Aal wi’ smiling faces”