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Events / NUST News - 20-09-2020

Dear Member

It has been great to have football back and the team starts the season so well, with much needed new signings hitting the ground running. More of the same this weekend would be ideal to give us three wins in our first three domestic games in a season since 1995.

This member update concentrates on both the ‘return to football’ survey the Trust conducted and a subsequent meeting with Newcastle United, as well as imminent elections to the Trust board, starting today.

To begin, however, we must clarify for members that have been in touch with the board asking if the Trust has a position on the latest statements from Mike Ashley and his plans to consider ‘every available option’ in his dispute with the Premier League. These issues are out of the hands of supporters and we hope that a resolution is found quickly that satisfies both the owner’s desire to sell and our members’ desire for a change in ownership.

However it must be noted that there are three parties in this and two of them have engaged with the Newcastle United Supporters Trust – so far it is only Mike Ashley/Newcastle United who does not wish to meaningfully communicate with its fans on this matter.

NUST Board Election 2020

The Trust is pleased to announce that our annual election process begins today. The current board of the Trust has committed to annual elections to ensure members consistently have their say on who represents them and leads the Trust.

The Trust has once again grown hugely in terms of our membership and influence since the last election. We found ourselves in the middle of a media storm over human rights abuses by a sovereign state in the Middle East as well as communication with both Amanda Staveley and the Premier League. Whether it be Richard Masters, Amanda Staveley, or the world’s media we have sought to put members to all who will listen. We are a member lead organisation and we are only as strong as our members. Last year we had a tremendous field of applicants and hope the same can occur this year.

With this in mind, we hope you consider voting in this election. In November last year, an unprecedented 3,000 members elected Alex Hurst, Peter Maughan, Shaun Wade, and Michael Mannion. For a supporter election, it was a huge turnout. Shaun stepped down from the Trust this board this summer and we are grateful for his contribution to the Trust and the difference he made.

We are adding two more spaces to the board this year so there will be FIVE places available for election. Places on the board are for terms of three years. We have had two board members agree to step down and they may stand for re-election. If only five or fewer members stand for election then there will be no need to contest an election.

To be on the board you can be anyone from anywhere. You do not need to be a season ticket holder, a match-goer, live in the North East or even the UK. If you’d like more information about what being on the board entails you can email our chair Alex who is happy to discuss what driving the Trust looks like and what kind of time commitments are required ([email protected])

Like last year’s election, we are following advice from the FSA on how to run the election and the election will be independently run away from the board of the Trust by an Election Management Group (EMG). The independent Chair of this group is Chris Waugh – Chris is a staff writer for The Athletic, covering North East football and most particularly Newcastle United. Before joining The Athletic he worked for MailOnline and then reported on NUFC for The Chronicle, The Journal, and The Sunday Sun. He has covered NUFC home and away since 2015.

Chris has been a tremendous friend to the Trust and we are grateful he has agreed to administer this election alongside Trust secretary Norman Watson and Chris Johnson.

The election will run to the following timetable:

Period: Today-Friday 25th September 2020

Members to register their interest in standing for a position on the NUST Board by downloading a nomination form from the NUST website, to be completed and returned to the Independent Chair of the Election Management Group Chris Waugh at [email protected] You must read the NUST Election Policy and Election Social Media Policy.

https://nufctrust.us19.list-manage.com/track/click?u=7d1f3c510c108f90135fffe46&id=ada65c2c06&e=0614be7401

https://nufctrust.us19.list-manage.com/track/click?u=7d1f3c510c108f90135fffe46&id=ee490a0530&e=0614be7401

https://nufctrust.us19.list-manage.com/track/click?u=7d1f3c510c108f90135fffe46&id=cc5eee9aaf&e=0614be7401

Period: Friday 25th September -Friday 2nd October

Members to confirm their interest in standing for a position on the NUST Board together with a statement in support of their nomination (which should be between 400 and 1000 words) to be completed and sent to the Independent Chair (detailed above) at [email protected]

Period: Monday 5th October – Thursday 8th October

Candidates formally announced and opportunities for candidates to speak to fans and members through various media about the candidacy in the election.

Period: Friday 9th October – Thursday 17th October

Members to vote online or for their preferred candidates (details to follow)

Date: Friday 18th November 2020

Results of the election announced

For further details of the Elections Policy please visit the NUST website at www.nufctrust.co.uk

The ‘return to football survey and meeting with NUFC’

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust, among other fan representatives attended a meeting with the club on Tuesday 8th September, with the focus on the return to stadiums for Newcastle United fans.

A well publicised return date of the 3rd of October was in mind for a phased return of fans around the Premier League, with clubs limited to a maximum 33% of their normal capacity. Naturally with the recent news about the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and surrounding areas, this may come too soon. We are awaiting news on this front.

The views of over 3000 Newcastle United Supporters Trust members were put forward in the meeting. Thank you to all who filled the survey in, we have compiled results for you below.

https://nufctrust.us19.list-manage.com/track/click?u=7d1f3c510c108f90135fffe46&id=7656826344&e=0614be7401

This is quite clearly a very complex process, with much of the conversation around ticketing procedures and how to allocate the available ticket allocation.

We were pleased to see the club admit that the maximum attendance of around 17500 is going to be very difficult to meet, with many government restrictions on social bubbles and social distancing coming into play. Allocations will vary on a game by game basis, and will range from 10000-15000 supporters.

The views of the majority of Newcastle United Supporters Trust members who participated in the survey wanted to see priority given to current season ticket holders, whilst there was a clear sticking point in the survey as to how the club decide who gets to go, and where fans would be seated. The point was also made about protecting those unable or unwilling to return to the stadium in what will be its new, hopefully temporary form. No fan should be punished for not wanting to return at this current time and this point was made, with agreement from the club. One thing is for sure, the club have taken on board many concerns that were raised and have been raised since the meeting, and we look forward to working with the club further to ensure the views of fans are taken into account to ensure a fair process as the club finalise their plans.

The safety of supporters was also discussed, with unanimous agreement that this should be of top priority. Many decisions are yet to be confirmed, but the club will be following the guidance set by the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) in creating an environment that makes supporters feel safe upon their return.

Issues ranging from turnstiles and kiosks to access and exit procedures were all discussed, with a particular aim of reducing or even avoiding long queues of people. Supporters will play a key part in the return, with a lot of fair expectation being placed on supporters to treat the situation with the utmost respect. A successful initial return can only be beneficial to speeding up the process of a full return.

A unanimous decision was reached across the Premier League clubs that away fans will not be given an allocation of tickets, this adds to the amount of available tickets to home supporters and relaxes the stresses that would be in place to keep fans separate. Naturally, we look forward to the day that our fans are able to travel the land to follow Newcastle United again. We hope that day isn’t far away.

Many clubs around the league are now releasing their finalised plans for the return and we hope Newcastle United can soon follow suit. It’s vital that Newcastle United fans have as much information as possible before deciding the safest way forward for them, and we will ensure that the views of fans are included until the day the plans are finalised.

Thank you for reading.

NUST Board

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