Trust board Election 2021 meet your candidates!

NUST News - 27-07-2021

Dear member,

We are pleased to announce the 10 candidates for this year’s Newcastle United Supporters Trust Election, from which six will be elected to join the NUST board.

 

The election begins on Friday (July 30) and will run until the following Friday (August 6). You will be emailed an application to cast your vote, but more information will follow on that.

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’ statements in below.

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

We will email 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

 

 

Cliff Culley

 

 

Who am I?
I was born in Denton Burn and my parents and grandparents were brought up in the West End of Newcastle. My family moved to Morpeth when I was 10 and I moved out of the North East in 1982.

I used to attend games in the 60’s with my dad and sister and went myself in the 70’s. I played a lot of football in early adulthood which unfortunately/fortunately restricted my ability to attend games. I went to away games in 80s and early 90’s. I moved to Scotland in 1995 and bought a season ticket and have been attending games since then and often go with my son now aged 23.

I am 60 and have recently retired from my solicitors practice.

What do I want from my football team?
Ideally I would like a team that challenges for the Premier League, plays in the Champions League and competes in the cups. A team that includes a number of locally born or coached players in the team. A club that invests heavily in the community and local area including both economically and socially. A club I can be proud of, not just for footballing success.

Can we achieve that?
Yes we can.

If we are taken over by a very rich group then it could be achieved relatively quickly in respect of possible success on the pitch with the Manchester City, Chelsea models.

If we have a not so rich owner, like Mike Ashley then I think it is still possible but would be a more longer term project and the fans and owners expectations would have to be realistic.

How can NUST help achieve this?
Newcastle is a very special city. It has a very special relationship with its football club which is an integral part of the city both physically, economically and socially.

The importance of the club to the city and area cannot be overstated on a number of levels. The reverse is even truer in that the City and fans make the club and this has helped it have such success in the past and there is great potential for the future

Mike Ashley is perceived as the evil cockney business man who is only interested in money and is bad for the club.

When he took over the club it appeared that he wanted to associate with the fans, have a drink on the terraces etc. He even brought Kevin Keegan back in the hope that he would be the saviour of the club and obviously appreciated the significance of Keegan to the club.

But it didn’t work out and he is a successful businessman that is not frightened of making his own decisions even though they are unpopular.

His decision making is open to criticism, with appointments of Dennis Wise, Joe Kinnear, renaming the ground, using furlough payments, selling off club land and losing Rafa are obvious examples.

The confrontation between Mike Ashley and the fans is not beneficial to either party and clearly not beneficial to the club. The Ashley boat has now sailed and it would be good for all parties for the ownership of the club to be passed on to someone else. We must however learn lessons from this acrimonious relationship.

Trying to force change by protests, boycotts and direct action may be necessary to bring owners to the table but should be a last resort.

NUST is essential in ensuring that any new owners are properly informed as to how the fans and city wish the club to be run, so we are roughly on the same page.

Is it that difficult to achieve?
How do we want the Club to be run. We could look at various models throughout the world including Leicester City, Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG , Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Atlhletic Bilbao and there are a lot of other clubs that are integrated in to the local community and are successful.

I think we need to be realistic, non-confrontational and be seen to be able to add value to any new owner’s business.

Football is a social business and as such there is a great need for transparency from all parties to generate trust.

We need the owners to be clear in relation to how they are spending their money in respect of investment in the club itself re infrastructure, background staff and of its transfer and playing recruitment policy.

It may be helpful if we have not done so already,to set down the basics of how we think the club should be run and it’s ethos.

Obviously any fan base is very disparate and we would need to reflect a common consensus.

It may not be persuasive to dictate to new owners as to how we would wish the club to be run. However if we are realistic in respect of the economic, social and goodwill benefits of engaging with us in a meaningful way, then it can only be a win win for all involved.

What can I bring to the board?
Hopefully my life and work experience has given me skills that can be used by NUST to achieve our goals and I am prepared to give time, sense and effort to get this message across.

 

Kevin Patterson

You ask any fan of NUFC what it would take to put the club right and they will all essentially give the same answers. We all know how powerful it can be when club and supporters pull in the same direction. Therefore, I don’t want to waste this wordcount elaborating on the issues we know that surrounds our club every day.  Instead, I want to explain why I feel you should vote for me and how I would propose to use that vote to make your voices heard.

About me

A season ticket holder in the family enclosure, I have been a NUFC supporter for 56 years. I attended my first game as a four-year-old, so I blame my late father for bestowing me with the curse of following this great football club. As Sir Bobby intimated, you are just hooked and the club is now in your blood!

I am deeply passionate and extremely proud of this club and will die a happy man if the club win one of the three domestic trophies before I clock out!

Standing for election is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but work and family commitments meant that I wouldn’t have been able to give it the time and care it so rightly deserves. I’m a great believer in if a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing well!

Now retired from a long career in sales management, I feel I have a lot of skills and experience acquired during my working life which would transfer across to this role if I’m successful: empathy, a strong negotiator, an effective communicator, resilience, tenacity, articulate and a great listener.

The achievements of NUST to date are outstanding and should be applauded. I would like to enhance that work by bringing a fresh perspective and new ideas. I firmly believe we have the most passionate and loyal fans in the world at NUFC and they deserve to have that support rewarded.

I have a passion for NUFC, the City of Newcastle, the North East region and the game of football. A vibrant Newcastle United means a vibrant Newcastle Upon Tyne. We should be uniting the club and the supporters by having success on the pitch and harmony within the ranks. This will enable NUFC to achieve the great heights as a club that they so rightly deserve!

So why do I feel the Trust would benefit from me joining the Board?

NUST’s energy and focus in representing the fans is fantastic and has inspired me to want to be a part of that work moving forward to benefit not only all Newcastle United fans but also football fans across the UK. What has happened to our club in its dealings with the EPL regarding the takeover, could happen to any club and other supporters need to realise that.

I want to try and help NUST move forward to achieve its objective of representing the fans in their dealings with the club so we can unite together and be a force in football again.

I believe we have two issues to address as a Trust, those locally and those nationally.

Locally
We need an owner and manager the supporters believe and trust in. The club needs to realise that having the supporters on side, is far more beneficial to the club.

However long the process of finding a new owner will be, we must be committed to getting our club the owner it deserves.
We must continue to support the team on the pitch now it’s evident that Mike Ashley is intent on selling the club. We are in danger at the minute of losing the next generation of fans due to the current ownership of the club and lack of ambition. We must continue to take our children and grandchildren to see games they’ll never forget.

We have some well-established local and national companies based here in the North East; NUST could look to engage with these companies for support. For example, an option could be to allow businesses to advertise on the NUST website to generate additional income. This additional income could be used in a number of ways from getting our message out to a wider audience or for fan led supporter events.

Nationally
Supporters Trusts across the country need to put rivalries to one side and join together to let the EPL know that they must have dialogue with the fans and for the fans to claim the game back from the powers that be. The European Super League debacle clearly demonstrated the power of the fans. Football is nothing without the fans and the pandemic has proved that fans are the lifeblood of the game.

There are wider issues in football that the fan led government review will hopefully tackle and I’m sure NUST will be heavily involved in this. It’s good to see Kevin Miles (Chief Executive of the FSA) a lifelong Newcastle fan and NUST member sitting on that panel.

Issues which need to be addressed:

If you’ve got this far, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read my statement. Vote for me and I will channel all of my energy, enthusiasm, passion and love for this football club by representing the best fans in the world. I will work tirelessly to get our club back engaging with us in a way in which we all deserve. All the fans can then enjoy the match experience knowing that every penny spent within the ground will be reinvested in the club. We can then all get back to revelling in watching the game the way we used to, knowing that club and fans are UNITED!

 

Lee Forster

 

 

As a season ticket holder who attended his first home game on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday way back in August 1983, I have experienced many highs and lows during my love affair with Newcastle United – but in my opinion, none of the lows I have witnessed previously come close to the current predicament we as a fanbase find ourselves in.

In the dark days of the late eighties and early nineties, which almost culminated in relegation to the old 3rd Division (God bless David Kelly), I believe the NUFC fanbase always felt United

I also believe, even back then, that the NUFC fanbase always felt like it had hope. Hope that things would improve.

That feeling of being United, those feelings of hope have been systematically eroded over the past 14 years, and I don’t believe I am overplaying the current situation when I suggest that Newcastle United is currently in the middle of what can only be described as a supporter ‘emergency’. A supporter ‘emergency’ that currently sees our club in danger of losing an entire generation of fans.

As a result of the above, my primary goals should I be elected to the board of the Trust, would be as follows:

  1. To ensure that The Trust explores all possible avenues to unite once again what is undoubtedly the best fanbase in the country.
    When we as a fanbase are united, we are a force to be reckoned with and we have proved this time and again, however when we are fractured, as is the case at the moment, we lose our power.
    We need to be United once again.
    We need to take back the power that a United fanbase gives us, and we need to use that collective power to push the club to be the best it can possibly be.

    2. To continuously work with fellow board members to ensure that the club meets its  contractual  obligation to engage with the lifeblood of the club, the fans.
    By fans I mean every section of the fanbase: Season ticket holders, those with a lifetime supply of loyalty points, exiled mags, casual match goers and armchair fans – but most importantly, the next generation of fans.
    NUFC is haemorrhaging the next generation of fans in a way I have never experienced in my lifetime for a number of reasons – the shiny ‘Sky Big 6’ and the absolute dearth of ambition and communication being shown by the current ownership are only the tip of the iceberg…
    As a Trust, we have to do all we can to change this, or we run the risk of there being nothing left for our children and our grandchildren to support.

We have to protect their birthright.
Additionally, and respect of the item at the forefront of every supporter’s mind – i.e. ‘The Takeover’ ©…

Whilst I acknowledge and respect the Trusts stance that it is not a protest group, I would personally challenge the Trust at board level, to do all it can to publicly demonstrate its support of any party that displays a serious appetite to purchase our great club, and also to demonstrate its staunch opposition, again both publicly and vocally, to the current ownership.

Public demonstrations of support or opposition will not erode its values or mean that The Trust has morphed into a protest group – they would however go some way to reaffirming its commitment to being an organisation that reflects the feelings of its members and the wider fanbase.

This approach in my opinion, would be the first step in helping to once again Unite our fanbase.

We all know that the club needs change at all levels – I firmly believe a strong, bold NUST that strives to unite the fanbase whilst also being prepared to increase still further its willingness to publicly challenge the club on behalf of the entire fanbase, can help to deliver this change.

 

 

Chris Heron

 

 

I guess it’d be easy for me to give you the answers you want to hear. I will do this, I will change that….What a load of twaddle (to be polite). Not one ‘normal’ man, woman or child can do that alone given the enormity of the Premier League, and its members.

I sit here as a last gasp plea on a night where I’ve tried to forget the frustrations that a normal, working life brings. Some things are more important. Seeing a best pal after two years and dissecting a football tournament being just one of them.

Don’t like it? That’s real.

Tonight I discussed England with a Man United fan. What’s the relevance I hear you ask? Camaraderie. That’s it. Camaraderie. For what is the purpose of supporting sport if it isn’t to give you a collective feeling of identity.

Identity is being washed from the game. A sanitised sport where – what the media think people want to hear and what will attract investors outweighs the true spirit of the game. Community.

I want to be involved with this year’s election not just for Newcastle United but for football. It’s easy to criticise from afar, as I have, but sometimes you have to put up or shut up.

What do you want from football? What do you want from NUFC?

The obvious answer would be that Newcastle would win trophies. However, without sustainability what would be the point? A flash in the pan from financial backers that serves the purpose of one or two generations? Or that and more – as a club not only has its time to shine, but also has a sustainable future to echo through the ages.

All I will promise is to give all I’ve got as I crack on with life. All I’ve got to try and protect, not just your memories of an NUFC that epitomises your ambitions as an individual and as a follower of the greatest place on earth, but that of your kids, and your grandkids, and their kids.

Newcastle United is currently an empty shell of discontent, void of ambition and void of entity. What a crime for such a vibrant, welcoming, loveable city. Just look at social media, the same old tired debates about protest vs inaction and of who’s a bigger, better fan. We all want the same don’t we?! Not necessarily a club that wins, but a one that tries. Newcastle is strongest when it’s United. Not when it’s being divided and conquered by the charlatans running our club and the game.

That’s why I want to take a more robust approach towards the Premier League, the current custodians at NUFC and if necessary the government. To ensure the trust plays its part not just in the long term preservation of the game, but also addresses the short terms battlegrounds we face. After all, a battle may not win a war but it may define it.

How do we that? I don’t know. I won’t lie. People can tell you they want to improve communications with the club but how, when frankly we’re faced with a wall of silence. Football needs governing through the relevant channels and clubs need forcing to address the concerns of their fans, the lifeblood of their clubs. It’s time fans United over common issues at all levels, especially as a fan led review has been initiated by Tracey Crouch MP.

Likewise the trust must acknowledge the concerns of its members, it must attempt to address them. The time of building member numbers has happened, under what some consider misleading grounds. Now is the time for reconnecting and activating members. Doing a fortnightly or monthly ‘road show’ for love of a better term being just one suggestion that hopefully helps fans and members reconnect.

We have some very immediate issues that we face as fans. The ticket refunding fiasco, the dilapidation of one of the greatest stadiums in the country, Covid-19 and the safe return of fans to St James’. The sale of club land, the deliberate lowering of expectations and the alleged corruption of the Premier League.

Football needs reform and it needs reforming by us, the fans. If we don’t do anything our game will be taken from us. Our club, void of identity, will too. So what do you want to do? Sit and blame everyone else from the boozer? Get involved, even if it is just to show moral support to those who most likely want the same as you.

To try and not succeed is not to fail. But to not try is failure. Do your bit. Make your difference. Fortiter Defendit Triumphans. Through a stronger defence we can achieve victory.

 

Greg Tomlinson

 

 

I’m Greg and I am the current Chair of NUST. I took on the role as Chair in November 2020 and I would like your vote, and your trust, to continue to build and strengthen the voice of Newcastle fans. So many others in the game see fans at the bottom of the pile. You and I know that football without fans is nothing.

I joined the Board of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust in February 2019 as part of the “new” board which refreshed the Trust and transformed it from fewer than 250 members to the strong and respected organisation it is today with close to 14,000 members. I believe there is real strength and power in so many fans coming together to join the Trust.

I have strong ambitions for what the Trust can become and I want to build on the great platform we have today. I am so proud of what the Trust has achieved, though some of our achievements wouldn’t be required if we had a football club that cared about its fans. Note that it seemed to be only after the Trust shamed NUFC that it finally communicated on refunds to season ticket holders last season.

On a more positive note, the relationship we have established the Newcastle United Foundation has seen us become a Be A Game Changer Champion and host mental health workshops for members. I want to continue to build this relationship and work together on their key campaigns such as raising awareness around male suicide.

Additionally, in April this year we launched the 1892 Pledge Scheme, a long-term ambitious plan to raise money to buy a stake in the club. I firmly believe that supporters must have a say in what happens to NUFC and through the pledge scheme we can be in a position to do just that – whether that is through buying a small share or through changes to football governance that most would acknowledge are well overdue. I want to continue to lead the Trust and continue to grow the 1892 Pledge Scheme. We have created such an exciting opportunity to effect change, and I would love the chance to continue to build that opportunity on behalf of our fans.

I have seen it said that the Trust doesn’t do enough and seeks to protect its relationship with the Premier League and with Newcastle United. This is simply not true. For a start, there is no relationship with the Premier League! While the Trust does communicate with the Club the relationship is not what it could be, primarily because it seems this version of Newcastle United does not care about its fans. I do not think Newcastle United meets even the most basic standards when it comes to supporter engagement, but I want to continue to work on your behalf to keep trying.

In my opinion, the Premier League is not fit for purpose. I was given the opportunity to present evidence to Tracey Crouch as part of the on-going fan-led review into football governance and took the opportunity to make this point. It is great to see that the need for an independent regulator has been highlighted in the interim report but this is just the start if we are to influence the change that is required. For football governance to realign football to operate in the best interests of fans there will almost certainly  be a need the government to legislate. If re-elected to the Trust Board I will ensure we continue to be at the forefront of the calls for reform of football governance.

I cannot write this without a mention of ongoing takeover saga. I led the work of the Trust to engage barrister Thomas Horton (the football law) to write to the Premier League in support of the takeover, (after 96.7% of our members stated they were in favour) setting out detailed legal analysis why there appeared to be no impediment to the takeover being approved under the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ test. In addition to this we initiated a campaign for transparency, which led to over 10,000 letters to MPs. We had responses and calls for transparency from all North East MPs, the Chancellor, and the Prime Minister– sadly with no forthcoming direct intervention.

The takeover is now in the courts – the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) case and the delayed arbitration – and is in the hands of the top lawyers in the land. I believe that no amount of cheerleading or shouting on social media will get the takeover done. If I am re-elected to the Board the Trust will continue to call for transparency through all legitimate avenues open to us, and we will continue to work with political and other influential stakeholders to try and seek a greater say for fans in the decisions that influence us the most. This is why the fan-led review is so important, and why the Government must act to reform football governance.

I want this takeover to go ahead because I want my football club to be the best it can be. I remain passionate that there should be ownership change at Newcastle United. I want a club that strives for sporting excellence; to play a key role in the community in Newcastle and the wider North East. At the same time, we must continue to hold the current owner to account. The club cannot be left to rot waiting for legal processes to play out. Another relegation to the Championship could be catastrophic – with no guarantee we will bounce back like the last two times.

Finally, I ask that you re-elect me to the Board to continue to build an even stronger voice for Newcastle fans. In the last three years we have created this strong movement and I would love your vote to continue to build on this base, and lead a refreshed and strong Board to continue to stand up and fight for the fans of Newcastle United.

 

 

Joshua Banyard

I am running for the board as I believe I can bring a fresh voice and point of view to the members, as someone who isn’t a Geordie I believe I can bring the views from Newcastle fans from my home town of London. I have held a season ticket for 17 years and travelled the world following the club and just want too see it do well and achieve what myself and thousands of fans believe it can.

I have fresh ideas and place an importance in how the clubs ran and believe that contact with a fan group and its members is essential. I believe that with a wider range of fans from all over the world we can make the club sit up and see what it needs to do, Every fan wants the same from this amazing club and that’s too see it where it belongs, competing with teams not just settling for mediocracy.

I already do a lot of work for the Newcastle united foundation and its mental health campaign “Be a game changer” and have an ambassador type role with them in terms of delivering the campaign and its message on social media and in meetings. I believe I could help deliver this to a wider audience using the NUST as a platform to get more people involved in that part of the club and help raise the profile and awareness of the work the club and the foundation do behind the scenes.

I fell in love with this club at a young age and have credited it on more than one occasion for saving my life and I want to give back to it in some way and show my support and graciousness towards it. This club does more than people will ever know or understand, It gets people through the darkest times and helps give them a routine and something to look forward to and believe in, Without this club I know I wouldn’t be here today and wouldn’t have led the life I have!

I want to help NUST speak out and spread the message of hope and help to the millions of fans we have around the world and I want to be part of that journey and help take the NUST and the club forward.

This club is our club and we need to protect it as well as we can and help mould its future and I believe I can play a big part in that.

 

 

Jon Lane

 

I’m Jon and this is the second time in the last 12 months that I’ll be running to be part of NUST Board.  Personal stuff first – I’ve been married for 5 years and a father to 2 kids under 4 which occupies my free time currently.  My day job is as a Manager as part of a Large Contact Centre Outsourcer.  I’m currently a member of NUST Council and spent around 3 years as part of the NUFC Fans Forum as the ‘Members Rep’ leaving in the Summer of 2019.

My NUFC journey as a fan is probably very different to most.  My parents were southerners who moved up to Newcastle in 1983, and me and my brother were born within the following 3 years.  My Mum was a Brighton Season ticket with her brother and my Grandpa, as for my Dad his closest football ground when growing up was Selhurst Park – so naturally he supported Man United like his Dad!  Having said that when he lived in the North East, he realised there was only one team his kids would end up following, and although he didn’t “actively encourage” who I supported, once I started wanting to follow the club he didn’t stand in my way and was a Season Ticket Holder with me for 15 years, 14 of those in the Milburn Paddock – by the end of which he would say he’s more NUFC now – as someone on Twitter once said about him “misery hunter”!

The past 18 months have shown us how important fans are to the game, but also how little Clubs and the main players in the game think about those who really matter the most.  The attempted breakaway to the ESL followed by the ‘non-punishment’, alongside the changes to the Champions League which had been negotiated which still favour those clubs anyway stinks to high heaven and shows that Fans need to be involved in making decisions.  UEFA and the Premier League need to hang their heads in shame by the lack of action taken against those 12 clubs, and only have themselves to blame when this comes back in a different form.  If I’m successful in this election I’ll push for Fans to be involved at all levels of decision making as part of the Fan Led Review into Football.

I’m very proud to be a member of the NUST Council, and so far we’ve been consulted on the return for fans into stadiums after COVID.  As part of that group I’ve been a vocal member of the team to ensure that fairness was at the centre of our views.  The Club didn’t take into account our proposals which included not penalising fans who decided to take a refund instead of keep credit in their account which was disappointing and shows we still have some work to do to encourage the club to work with us.  I’m proud that despite not being a board member, I was able to have real input into NUST’s position on these matters.

I’ve also spent some time working on the 1892 Pledge Scheme which I believe is the most ambitious and positive thing to happen to Newcastle United for an incredibly long time.  It’s incredibly important to me that we do what we can to encourage fan ownership right across football, and having a scheme set up to own a stake in a Premier League club is an incredible feat, as is the total of over £120k that has already been raised in such a short amount of time.  This is a very long term project, but the more we can do to raise funds for 1892 Pledge, the more we can encourage others to pledge a monthly amount themselves and therefore put ourselves in as strong a position as possible to own a stake in our great Football Club.

I love this football club as most of us do, but the thing I struggle with is how fractured our fanbase can be.  We will always have scenarios where we wont all agree and that’s fine, but we appear to have more and more instances where we have division.  If I’m elected I want to work on uniting the fan base as much as we can.  I accept there will be some who no matter what we do or say will oppose – but I want to be an advocate for peace across fan groups so NUST can be a true voice for the whole of the NUFC fanbase.

In October I spoke about needing to have ambition as a club, and that I didn’t want my kids to grow up in a world where being 17th in the league is something to be excited about.  None of that has changed and the root cause of that is the current ownership which essentially is just aiming to survive until the Takeover goes through (if it goes through).  That’s not good enough for me and certainly shouldn’t be acceptable to our fanbase.  If I’m elected I’ll look to drive that ambitious outlook to the club wherever possible whoever the owners are.

Like 97% of members in a poll conducted last year, I’m supportive of the proposed takeover and any actions that members of our fanbase can take to make this happen.  I believe that as well as needing to continue to have a constructive relationship with NUFC, we need to do all we can as an organisation to help encourage a change of ownership.  As a member of NUST Board I’ll look to encourage any action that will help a Takeover go through.

By voting for me you’ve got someone who has experience talking to NUFC, has completed work for NUST in the last 9 months and someone who wants to see a change in ownership and drive Fan Ownership to be successful at all levels.  To be successful we need to work together and unite the fan base where we can so we can be an effective voice.  That means attracting more members and raising more money for the 1892 Pledge.  #VoteJon2021

 

 

Graeme Bell

 

If elected, one of my aims is to make the NUST’s voice even louder. It’s not just about me, those already on the board, or those of you reading this now. It’s about Gordon, a man I met during our League Cup defeat against Leicester City a few seasons ago. Gordon, who’s now 86, it is supporters like Gordon who make Newcastle United the club it is. Supporters like Gordon keep the club’s identity that has been stripped away by the current owner. It’s also about the new generation of supporters, as a collective voice, we will be heard. To do this, I plan on improving communication to supporters/members. Whether that’s through online meetings, video updates or focus groups. It is a huge honour to even stand for election, and I know that supporters want, and deserve, a voice.

Having spent the time with Gordon, it reaffirmed all those long away trips that ended in defeat. Sitting in the pouring rain, heavy snow or strong winds. All of it is worth it. Newcastle United is Gordon’s club, it’s your club and mine. From Gordon who has been attending games for over 60 years to those who are having their first ride on the Newcastle United rollercoaster, we are all one, and NUST is a huge part of that rollercoaster.

My first game was the 3-2 win over Barcelona, probably the worst first game in terms of setting expectations! I have experienced a lot of ups and downs with this crazy football club, and it saddens me to see the current state of the club we all love so dearly. I hope that when my son, Ollie, is old enough to attend games with me, the club is in a much better place.

I have written and continue to write for Newcastle United websites and Fanzines, even in its current state the club is extremely close to my heart. Newcastle United was my first love, my wife already knows and has accepted that!

Not only will I strive to have improved communication from NUST to supporters/members, but also to have a club that openly communicates with supporters, whether that is with a new owner or with the current one. The last 14 years of Mike Ashley’s ownership have, for the most part, been soul-destroying and draining for many supporters, including myself. Open and honest communication from the football club is the very least we all deserve. We are one of the most loyal sets of supporters in the country, and deserve a lot better than what we’ve had to put up with, with the current ownership.

I hope to be able to represent all Newcastle United supporters, from every walk of life. Football is for everyone and nobody should feel unwelcome when attending St James’ Park, or any other stadium. I can assure supporters with any concerns whatsoever regarding the football club or NUST that they can contact me at any point, and I will do all I can to help.

NUST will play a part in the fan-led review into football, and I think every single supporter has suffered from burnout due to the ridiculous nature of the current Premier League O&D test. That is, of course, wider than Newcastle United. I would hate for any other group of supporters to go through something similar, and for a prolonged period of time. The fan-led review should lead to greater power for supporter organisations, like NUST. Football is nothing without fans, that is something that has been said time and time again over the last 18 months. The review could lead to an even louder voice for NUST.

The proposed takeover of our beloved football club has been a tiring situation for everyone involved, buyer, seller and the supporters. It is vital that supporters gain answers, this whole debacle has been allowed to continue for far too long. We do not deserve to be treated with utter contempt by the Premier League, or anyone for that matter.

United, we are a lot stronger. I will do all I can to unite all sides of this unbelievable support. We all have our differences which is only natural, however, we all have one of the best things in common, our love of Newcastle United.

 

Andrew Hey

 

I’m a 23-year-old who has only ever really witnessed Mike Ashley’s ownership. There have been many lows during this time and very few highs. Throughout this time the only thing that has sustained me as a football supporter was the hope of a better future under new ownership.  My dad tells me many stories about Newcastle’s past and some of the great players he’s witnessed. He brought me up on tales of Supermac, Keegan, Waddle, Beardsley and Gascoigne. I could only dream of witnessing players of this standard playing for my club again. If we had players of that calibre now they wouldn’t be here for long. Two seasons ago Rafa’s departure was a colossal blow to me. When Rafa left any lingering hope of progress left with him. Under Ashley’s ownership I thought the club was damned to be eternally mediocre at best. That all changed in April last year when news of the takeover led by PIF broke. I began to dare to dream again with the Ashley era a thing of the past and the club now competing for the highest honours. Unfortunately, I never thought that the Premier League would conspire to keep us mired in perpetual mediocrity. I still can’t understand how the Premier League have acted in the interests of Newcastle and its fans over the past 15 months.

In my opinion we are perched on the verge of either greatness or on the edge of a very deep abyss. We must fight now to do all that is possible to support the consortium in an attempt to get this takeover over the line so that we can head towards greatness. When the deal collapsed, NUST did seem to step up and fight but unfortunately after the meeting with Richard Masters there has been very little activity and no leadership on this issue as far as I can see. NUST have followed and not led to the extent that they should have. This is what I want to change. We should demand answers from the Premier League, and we should use every means possible to try and bring this about.

My fervent belief is that NUST should be campaigning all out to help the takeover. I’ve heard many people say they aren’t a protest group. If they aren’t then they should be. NUST has rapidly grown over the last few years due to two events. One was Rafa’s departure and the second was the stalling of the takeover last year. The majority of people who signed up for NUST, joined out of disgust and wanted to protest against these cataclysmic events. They wanted NUST to voice their concerns towards the club and latterly the EPL. This sadly hasn’t happened on the scale that many wanted.

These events have led me to run for a position on the Board of NUST. I would like to try change the direction of NUST and make lead the fight against the EPL. I believe that NUST is the most logical group to do this. It has a large support base and, as a result of this, it has legitimacy that is recognized by other organizations such as the club, the FSA and the EPL. Over the past year, it is true that NUST has fought against the EPL and has challenged them to an extent. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been enough. There is more to be done and I want to lead NUST in their renewed efforts to defeat the EPL. This leads me to my policies and what my plans are if elected. I have only one policy and that is to fight for this takeover.

ONE ISSUE POLICY

SUPPORTING THE TAKEOVER

My message is very simple. I have one issue and one issue only and that is to support the proposed takeover of Newcastle United through any means necessary. This one issue is vital to the future of Newcastle United but also to the city and to the wider region. You could even argue that the takeover is vital to the future health of English football and it’s governance.

For the past year, it seems to me, that the trust has sat on the fence on this issue and hasn’t led the fanbase. Well, I intend to try and change this. I want the trust to lead from the front and be the voice of the fans on this issue. If elected I want to utilize NUST and all its resources to campaign vigorously in favour of the takeover.

The takeover fills me with hope about the future of Newcastle United. I dread to contemplate the alternative. That is why I think it’s so imperative that we fight for it. It’s the only issue that matters and the one chance we have as Newcastle fans to get our club back on the right track.

I find it farcical that Richard Masters claims to be protecting Newcastle United and its fans. It’s simply a complete fantasy and I think we have been lied to repeatedly by the EPL. I think they have led an orchestrated media campaign to discredit the takeover, and anyone associated with it. We should be combating this with all of our resources and highlight this disgraceful behaviour.

Many believe that the actions of one person cannot defeat the EPL. If we all pull together and do our part, we can put an enormous amount of pressure on the EPL. I believe that NUST should be leading these efforts to tackle this enormous challenge we are facing.

I can’t promise success against the EPL, but what I can say is that if elected I will put my heart and soul into using the trust to try and get what 97% of us want.

If you agree with me then please vote for me in this upcoming election. I look forward to having the opportunity and the privilege to represent this fanbase and try and help push this takeover through. Thank you for your time.

 

Jonathan Drape-Comyn

 

I would like to put myself forward for the NUST board in the coming election. The fan experience in supporting Newcastle United is at an all-time low, and not enough has been done to improve this.

 

We can do more. NUST needs to become a more proactive organisation. It isn’t true that NUST does nothing. From protecting fans, to building key relationships within the media and parliament – as well as the 1892 pledge scheme – I am not a critic who thinks that NUST has ‘done nowt’ and needs to be turned upside down. What is so important now though is that we have a board that can do more.

 

The main reason why I am putting myself forward again for election this year is that I believe that the issue of ownership change at Newcastle United, fans’ right to protest and the need for NUST to take control of their relationship with the club are integral to the future of
Newcastle United.

I want answers and open dialogue from the club. There should be no more secrets. I don’t know about you, but I have become tired with seeing statement after statement from various parties involved in the club. Talk is cheap, Newcastle United has become cheap and we really need to start introducing actionable measures. If they fail, they fail – but we have to begin to try to seriously implement change today.

Transparency has become a key word. We demand transparency from the club, and the Premier League, rightly so. However, I believe that NUST needs to become more transparent also. What are we doing? What are our ideas? Where do we want to go? If we can’t
communicate sufficiently with our own members, then how can begin to expect others to communicate sufficiently with us? I think we are in real danger of becoming an organisation, viewed by its own fans, of one that is not open to critical fan opinion or difference of opinion.

Aside from the takeover saga, NUFC is still decaying right in front of our eyes. There are so many issues at large that need to be addressed aside from the takeover. Kick-off times with no regards for away fans, shirt prices, ticket prices, safe standing etc. Along with the media, both locally and nationally – we can all do an awful lot more than what we are doing.

We must be more open. The more opinions, the better – whether we like it or not – and in some cases, whether it’s fair or not.

Listed below are 10 of my ideas, and propositions if I am elected:
1. More open, transparent and clear communication between NUST board and members.
2. Free to view, transparent board meetings which will be posted on YouTube for all to watch.
3. Introduce an official NUST SLO to represent fan issues with the club.
4. Initiate a relationship with club sponsors, Castore, Fun88 etc in regard to the running
of the club and other issues, such as the extortionate price of shirts.
5. Engaging with local authority for matchday travel, be it local transit, or national rail. Can we get rail discounts? The cost of football is becoming extortionate and we need to start this change.
6. 100% full backing and support of safe, organised and legal fan protests.
7. In person and online community/townhall style events where members can join in with discussions, share their own ideas, provide in person feedback/criticism.
8. Work with government and local authority to raise the wider issues of NUFC and football fans in the public domain. Fixtures lists, ticket prices, communication etc.
9. I will open my schedule each week to chat with any fans about their ideas, feedback, share what we are doing etc.
10. Actively engage more with local, national and international media to get our voice and message out there to an even wider audience.

Fans should have the right to protest. I believe in protest – and if elected I’ll be doing all I can to ensure that NUST backs protest, but also actively engages with organisers. What is equally important is that any protest is organised efficiently and lawfully. If it is, then I’ll be backing it. Creating negative publicity surrounding Mike Ashley’s ownership of NUFC is integral to change.

This does not mean that NUST is a protest group, or ever should be a protest group. A trust is about long term owning a stake in their club and, in the mean-time, doing positive things that
contribute to the fan-experience.

NUST has come so far in a short space of time, but we have to change from what I believe is our current Mr Nice Guy approach. Fresh impetus, new ideas and more measurable action.

We have lost the balance between fighting for a new owner, and not allowing the club to continue to get a free ride from the fans.
Newcastle United needs a Supporters Liaison Officer. Officially, this is Lee Marshall, however, it is fair to say that he exists in the role by name only. I will be suggesting that NUST put forward their own SLO in order to liaise with fans.

I want to be on the board because I care for the opinion of all NUFC fans. I’m not doing this for myself but to give a voice to fans who feel they don’t have one. Not just for me, or my mates, but a voice to those fans I may disagree with, a voice to the ones who want NUST to be better, and a voice to the ones who want more proactive action, and ultimately a better Newcastle United.

 

We have to be more proactive. We may fail, but it’s better to do something than to do nothing. Let’s start today.

Football without fans is nothing.

 

 

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