Join the NUFC Trust

The Trust exists to provide a way for the fans to get their voices heard by Newcastle United FC. We’re not a protest group, we want to develop formal links between supporters and the Club and to be a positive influence on supporter issues.

nust-latest-news

Why you should join Newcastle United Supporters Trust

This article was originally published on The Mag

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust has been around for ages.

It’s done good work, indifferent work and sometimes no work.

Some people don’t know what it is, others are weary because of failed fan movements that have come before us.

This is a new Newcastle United Supporters Trust with a new board in place.

We came together in January with the simple goal of rebuilding the Supporters Trust making it into a key fan organisation, untainted by the past and excited by the future.

The Supporters Trust exists to represent you.

It exists to give Newcastle United supporters a voice where they have none.

From issues such as safe standing, ticket prices, away allocations and accessibility and inclusion at St James’ Park – we are your best bet.

We work with the Football Supporters Association (now the FSA, formerly the FSF) on fan issues and our membership drives our agenda. We are a wholly democratic institution where one member is only one vote. No individual has more of a say than any other.

I didn’t join the Trust with any designs of ever joining the Trust board or leading it. Any member can stand for election and any member can join the board. It’s an organisation that belongs to you, not me or anyone else.

We have a brand new website ready very soon with log-in functionality and we will take votes on matters through that and by email.

We will be holding public meetings and doing our very best to represent our 4,000 strong (and rapidly growing) membership.

Ultimately, our aim is to own 51% of Newcastle United.

That might not be realistic in the Premier League, but then we will want to work with any new ownership in the future to give fans a say at board level in the running of their football club.

We need a vibrant, committed and huge membership to do that. So join us. We need you.

Alex Hurst (Chair of Newcastle United Supporters Trust)

To join Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) it is only £1 for a year’s membership – Go HERE

Or to become a member for life it is £10 – Go HERE

You can follow on Twitter @nufctrust and visit the website at www.nufctrust.co.uk

nust-latest-news

What now for furious Newcastle United fans? However you feel after Rafa Benitez’s departure, this is one thing you must do

This article was originally published on ChronicleLive

In the five stages of post-Rafa Benitez grief, it feels like most Newcastle United fans are yet to get past the second stage: anger.

As Benitez prepares to leave and United continue to offer scant detail about future direction to mystified supporters, crisis is brewing. For many, irreperable damage has been done by the Benitez decision – which not only leaves Newcastle rudderless ahead of the new season but also has the more profound impact of suggesting that a manager who aspired to more has no place at St James’ Park.

In the five stages of post-Rafa Benitez grief, it feels like most Newcastle United fans are yet to get past the second stage: anger.

As Benitez prepares to leave and United continue to offer scant detail about future direction to mystified supporters, crisis is brewing. For many, irreperable damage has been done by the Benitez decision – which not only leaves Newcastle rudderless ahead of the new season but also has the more profound impact of suggesting that a manager who aspired to more has no place at St James’ Park.

Last season the explosion of online anger faciliated the creation of The Magpie Group , who made early headway by leading protests outside Sports Direct. But calls to action in the stadium – including a walk-in and a boycott, which was eventually postponed – illustrated how difficult it is to direct anger into something tangible among a huge fanbase that prides itself – quite rightly – on its loyalty.

None of this is to say that Newcastle fans aren’t feeling deeply concerned about the state of their football club, which is a prize community asset. Anger this time isn’t about not challenging for honours or the suitability of the manager, it is about something more profound: the absence of hope, communication or connection to a support that should be its greatest asset. And – considering Ashley’s lengthy rap sheet – the feeling that while he has the keys to the castle, it is not worth getting behind.

Nothing brought this home more than Wor Flags’ decision to suspend activities while Ashley remains in charge. A Benitez-inspired fan-led movement that was the envy of the Premier League has been undercut by the owner’s decision-making – wiping out the hard work of volunteers and club staff alike. It is all just so depressing.

But how do United fans channel those feelings into something more constructive? Step forward Alex Hurst, the new chair of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust.

Since Monday’s devastating announcement of Benitez’s departure, the Trust has seen membership rocket to the 4,000 mark on the back of a publicity drive to time with the popular manager’s exit. Hard work behind-the-scenes, where a new board was constituted in January, mean they have ambitious plans that can make an impact at a fairly advanced stage.

They are also, crucially, in a good place to cope with an influx of members looking for something – anything – to offer some hope.

Hurst – who was one of the founding members of Wor Flags in its previous iteration as Gallowgate Flags – explains: “We’ve seen the different protest movements over the years and I’d never criticise anyone for doing anything they think can help the football club but I think people are looking for something different right now.

“The Rafa news has given us a bit of extra impetus. We had around 500 members when I first took over in January and that had gone up to 1,000 before Monday but we’re now nearing 4,000. For the Trust, it’s about strength in numbers as it gives us more authority to speak on behalf of those Trust members. We don’t say we are speaking on behalf of all Newcastle fans, but we can speak on behalf of the Trust and if that means more Newcastle fans then all the better.”

Trust membership has been cut to £1 and, as Hurst points out, they are the only democratically elected fan group who are recognised by both the Premier League and the club, who have to seek dialogue with them as part of the top flight constitution.

They have spoken out about club issues – a strident statement on Benitez’s departure arrived on Tuesday – and have plans to make an impact in the coming weeks. But it’s in a different vein from the Magpie Group or calls to boycott the Arsenal game in protest. They can get in front of Lee Charnley at the Fans Forum, for example, and try to seek answers about what is going on.

“The aim is to one day own 51% in Newcastle United. Is that realistic any time soon in the Premier League? Maybe not. But we would like the club to change ownership and work with a new owner to have fan representation on the board,” he says.

“We have a relationship with the club. Does that mean we support all of their decisions? No I’m personally gutted the manager has left and the club finds itself where it does. But the club have been positive with us since Janauary in terms of communication and wanting our help on areas that affect the club.”

For fed-up fans, the long game might seem pointless right now. But the bigger the organisation grows, the more fans are represented by it and the more skilled up members join, the more impact it can have. 

Plans to work with possible consortiums looking to take the club over are being considered while there is one major project set to be announced in a matter of weeks.

For those worried about how it is run, the £1 ownership fee buys one vote. This correspondent has joined and can vouch for many on the reconsistuted board. Elections in October can change the board; the accounts will be independently audited. There is no better way of making your voice heard.

“The aim is to get to 10,000 members before the start of the season,” Hurst says. “We believe in a successful, open Newcastle United where fans can play their part.” In weeks like this, surely it isn’t asking too much to support that aim?

Anyone who wants to join the NUST can do so here .

premier-league-supporters-meeting

Premier League Supporters Meeting 2019

Last week, the Premier League met with fan groups from its member clubs at the Hyatt Regency Churchill Hotel in London. I was lucky enough to represent the Newcastle United Supporters Trust at this event and can provide mostly positive feedback from my experience. I’ve had better coffee, mind.

The meeting started with a discussion on the progress of implementing a video assistant referee (VAR) system in top-flight matches. While the Premier League has already decided that VAR will be in use from the start of next season, its director of policy Bill Bush explained that the reasoning behind not introducing it sooner, i.e. this season following its use at the World Cup, was that the division wanted more “extensive” testing. Bush said that the challenge of operating VAR across multiple matches happening at the same time – he highlighted that this challenge did not exist to the same degree at the World Cup – would require some “fine tuning”. On Saturdays, the Premier League’s busiest day for fixtures, Bush noted that “clear standards” would have to be in place so as not to use VAR “excessively” and disrupt the flow from kick-off through to full-time too much. Essentially, he suggested, that stoppages for the sake of stoppages were to be avoided.

While the consensus of the fan groups present on the day was in favour of VAR, some consideration was given to whether the technology would cause a distinction between the experience for fans watching the match on TV versus those in the stadium. Bush said that the Premier League were taking this into account and drafting legislation which would possibly require VAR decisions to be explained, in detail, over a PA system.

The conversation in Marylebone then took a political turn, moving onto the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. The Premier League, which is the workplace for many high-earning and highly taxed EU nationals, is apparently in the process of floating a “football-specific” immigration policy to the Home Office. The sentiment from fans around the table on the day was that foreign players had enhanced the league, and therefore the league should do what it can to maintain access to the best footballing talent in the world, irrespective of nationality.

Structured dialogue, i.e. regular meetings between fan groups and senior members of their clubs’ staff, was also on the agenda. The Premier League is reviewing its policy on the regularity with which clubs are mandated to “brief” fans on club-related news. There is also some talk of making forum events have “at least one director present”. The Premier League would like to see supporter liaison roles elevated in their importance.

It was at this point I suggested that the director attendance stipulation should be extended to owners. Bush responded that this would be at the individual owner’s discretion, but acknowledged the “concerns of certain clubs”. I highlighted that Newcastle had previously delayed and cancelled forum meetings. Bush suggested that the league would look into punishing clubs which did not fulfil their responsibilities in fan engagement.

Safe standing was also discussed on the day. All fan groups represented were in favour of this being introduced. Bush explained that, as with VAR, it is a case of carrying out the necessary checks before committing to something. The safety reviews are ongoing and will require external, government-level support from the Department for Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS).

On fan behaviour and recent pitch incursions, Bush made it clear that the Premier League is “against collective punishment” and would rather focus on individual bans and sanctions. Relating to the scenes during out 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, fellow Newcastle fan and chief executive of the United Football Supporters’ Organisation Kevin Miles noted the need “for a distinction between enthusiasm for a last-minute goal and a genuine intent to do harm”. Bush agreed that cases should be treated on an individual basis with context taken into account.

Travel for away games was also discussed. Progressive ticketing policies are being floated by the Premier League, in conjunction with DCMS, to various rail companies, including train tickets which are aligned to the fixture, rather than the intended date of travel. This would, in theory, mean that if fixtures were moved because of TV scheduling decisions, fans would at least not have to buy another ticket. There was also talk, Bush revealed, about a football supporters’ rail card, but rail companies were less receptive to this idea, as there are already many different concession arrangements in place.

I pointed out that travel for away fans, especially those of clubs far away from other clubs, was made more difficult when fixtures were re-arranged with little notice. I used Newcastle as an example, naturally, and drew attention to our 18 consecutive away fixtures on Monday nights. Bush asked whether I was sure if this was the case. Kevin Miles, as well as the representatives of several other northern clubs present, assured him that it was.

I said that I appreciated that some fixtures would become inconvenient travel situations, because of where Newcastle is, but asked whether more could be done to ensure that one-sided travelling did not persist. Newcastle fans are happy to follow their team to difficult destinations, so long as fans of other clubs are doing the same. The Liverpool and Everton delegates, in particular, were very supportive of this point. The Liverpool delegate noted that Liverpool’s mid-week or Monday night fixtures tend to be half at home and half away. He said that the same should be true of Newcastle’s.

Finally, the conversation moved onto Kick it Out’s anti-racism initiatives, particularly those aimed at making sure that grounds were more welcoming to fans from ethnic minority backgrounds. Kick it Out has produced guidance on how to report racism in the stands and is encouraging clubs to actively reach out to groups who might support them on TV but not feel comfortable attending the ground in person. The Premier League is lending its name to these initiatives and encourages fans groups to do similar work.

Overall, I’d class the meeting as a success insofar as important issues were raised and I got to say my piece about away day inconveniences. I’m encouraged by the progress made on VAR and structured dialogue. While it is unlikely Mike Ashley will turn up at the next fans forum event, it is nice to know that the Premier League agrees that these should be held more often and not unscrupulously re-arranged.

Watch Rohan discuss the meeting:

Rohan discusses the Premier League Supporters Meeting

You can also view the minutes posted by the Football Supporters Federation (FSF):

http://www.fsf.org.uk/assets/Downloads/News/2019/PL-supporters-meeting-march-2019.pdf

Bournemouth (a) – setting the record straight

Anyone reading the variety of reports of Newcastle fans’ behaviour in several different publications would feel justified in thinking the worst. I was there and I thought it was important to put a few of the accusations to bed and give some perspective from the point of view of someone that saw it all (or at least most of it).

I travelled down to Bournemouth at the weekend and like the vast majority of travelling Mags was in jubilant spirits for the day. There is something special amongst the fanbase when we’ve made a really long journey that’s hard to put into words unless you’ve experienced it first-hand. It’s something I recommend you all do.

It’s been difficult to read many of the reports in the media from the weekend and I’ve become increasingly annoyed as the accusations have grown, so here’s another perspective on the behaviour of some of our fans.

Let me start with half time. I stupidly decided to go down to the concourse before the end of the first half to buy a few beers. On the very overcrowded concourse there was a buoyant and happy atmosphere with some of the usual signing. We all heard a sound come from the stand but it took until we saw confirmation from the TVs that Newcastle had scored. The concourse erupted into celebrations. Some fans took it slightly too far and banged the metal above the bar.

At this point I was stood right at the front. It was the banging that caused the staff to decide to shut the bar. And that sparked a reaction amongst the fans to try and stop the shutters coming down. Plenty of fans had paid for drinks they hadn’t received, and it seemed pretty unfair that they were going to close the bar for a bit of banging and joyful singing when Newcastle had just scored.

I didn’t see any flares nor any smoke and I’m certain that the shutters weren’t coming down as an automatic reaction to smoke. Anyone that saw the concourse would be shocked if their counters had such technology installed. I certainly didn’t see any staff being pulled over the bar or being assaulted. I’m not saying that neither of those things definitely didn’t happen but I was in a pretty good position to see everything and didn’t notice either.

However, there was at least two instances I saw that were completely out of order. One of our fans, and I use that word begrudgingly, threw something at catering staff behind the bar and it hit them in the face.

Another idiot got behind the bar and looked to steal something. It wasn’t, as has been described, a case of him handing stuff back over the bar to a gleefully accepting crowd.

Both of these instances are despicable behaviour that were widely and loudly criticised by most of those in attendance. There is no defence to this kind of behaviour and instances like this shame our fan base.

Whilst there were a few isolated instances of unacceptable behaviour, to paint the large group of fans on the concourse as a drunken, criminal mob is hugely exaggerated at best and an outright smearing lie at worst.

Roll on 94 minutes and Matt Richie scored a quite beautiful equaliser. Lots of fans, myself included, moved towards the front to celebrate as is natural in such circumstances. It’s not clever to charge towards a small area as a crowd. It is not criminal. It was difficult to see clearly what happened in the melee but that’s exactly what it was. A chaotic mess of jubilant mags who were celebrating wildly in a small space with only a knee-high barrier between us and the playing area perimeter.

Common sense and perspective could and should have been used and fans calmly ushered back. But football fans have often been treated as criminals in the first instance as a matter of course and after recent events, heavy handed policing and stewarding prevailed. It looks likely to have a lasting impact on an unlucky few who ended up over the knee-high barrier. Anyone amongst that celebration knows that it could have been any one of us that ended up on the grass there and that none of us had the remotest criminal intent. I’d speculate that those that did end up on the grass didn’t intend to be there and were forced over.

One of those arrested has since been released without charge after CCTV showed he was pulled over by a steward. He was then detained for more than 20 hours before being released. This is unacceptable. That steward has probably shown more intent out of anyone to get Newcastle fans onto the pitch.

To support the lads facing prosecution for celebrating the winner on Saturday please donate here

https://www.gofundme.com/legal-fees-for-mags-arrested-at-bournemouth

helping-supporters-arrested-at-bournemouth

Helping the supporters arrested at Bournemouth

Seven fans in the away end didn’t get home after Saturday. That night they were arrested for entering the field of play after the equaliser. 

Fans shouldn’t enter the field of play.    The law against entering the field of play is there rightly to protect players and officials.  We’ve seen incidents in recent weeks in Birmingham and Edinburgh of those laws being broken and the people involved rightly facing prosecution.  What happened on Saturday with fans of Newcastle United isn’t that.

We are launching a campaign to support those fans.

Having spoken to most of the families of the arrested  fans – there was no intention to commit a criminal act.  No players were harmed. No home supporters taunted.

Fans surged forwards at one of  the smallest grounds ever to host Premier League football and for a matter of seconds were on the pitch. 

We would like to support these fans who are facing banning orders and potential criminal records by raising contributions for their basic legal fees  and basic travel costs as the hearings will take place in Dorset.

If any of the families or individuals feel unable to accept the fees or their charges are dropped before they have to travel or pay for legal expenses, then this money will be donated to charity and the charity of choice paid with a proof of public payment.

Please donate if you can:

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/legal-fees-for-mags-arrested-at-bournemouth/edit/story

Board

Newcastle United Supporters Trust

int-womens-day

International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day let’s hear from one of NUST’s newest Board members, Linda Bush on why she joined the Board, and why International Women’s Day is as relevant as ever.

nust-latest-news

Premier League agrees to continue £30 away tickets cap

The Trust are delighted to hear the news that Premier League clubs have agreed to continue the £30 away tickets cap today having worked alongside other supporters Trusts and the Premier League on the campaign for cheaper away tickets.

Away fans are an integral part of any match day, the effort, time and commitment away fans show supporting their team often hundreds of miles away is again being listened to.

The cap of £30 was originally introduced in 2017/17 season and we hope away fan attendances will remain at the high levels seen in recent years.

nust-latest-news

Minutes of Annual General Meeting

Minutes of Annual General Meeting, 6.00pm 30th January 2019. Held at Lit and Phil, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Border Members Present: Peter Fanning (Chair), Alex Hurst (AH), Colin Whittle (CW), Anthony Armstrong (AA), Simon Campbell (SC), Michael Carling (MC), Chris Johnson (CJ), Paul Brown King (PBK),

PF opened the AGM and thanked members for their attendance. He informed members that he was stepping down from the role of Chair following the AGM, with the role to be taken up by AH.

1.0 Apologies

Apologies were received from Board members Norman Watson (NW), Mal Mclean (MMc) and Wallace Wilson (WW).

2.0 Chairman’s report

PF presented his report on the activities of the trust over the past 12 months and in particular concentrated upon NUST involvement with the Magpie Group/FSF and Supporters Direct and their merger/relationship with the club and the Fans Forum/ NUST proposed rule change /relationship with NUFC Fan Foodbank /relationship with NUFC Foundation.

Kevin Miles (CEO of FSF) was invited to explain to members the details of the FSF/Supporters Direct merger and provided details of the organisation and the services the FSF provides to fans on a wide range of supporter issues.

CW outlined the continued involvement of NUST in relation to the NUFC Fans Foodbank initiative which was now into its second year. Collections continued on a match day and were complemented by a number of funding initiatives through the year.

AH was introduced to members as the incoming Chair and talked to members about potential plans he hoped to introduce following his appointment as Chair.

3.0 Treasurer’s report

CW outlined the NUST accounts, and confirmed the financial position of the Trust.

4.0 Re-appointment of auditors

PF addressed the members and proposed that S.M Lowery, who had audited the Trust accounts for some years, be re-appointed. The proposal was approved.

5.0 Amendment to Rules

CW outlined to members the history of the NUST rules and how they were ‘model rules’ agreed by Supporters Direct with the FCA and adopted by Supporters Trusts incl NUST. The rules had been subsequently updated following a change in legislation and a revised set to be adopted by Supporters Trusts had been agreed between the FCA and Supporters Direct. A copy of the revised rules were distributed to members highlighting the changes, together with an explanatory note prepared by NW. The proposal to adopt the new revised set of Rules was approved.

6.0 Any Other Business

PF invited members to raise any other business. No matters were raised.

Peter Fanning

Chair

notice-of-annual-general-meeting

Notice of Annual General Meeting

Newcastle United Supporters Society Limited
Registration Number: 30721R

When:
6.00pm, 30th January 2019

Where:
The Lit and Phil Society, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1SE

Trust board members:
Chairman; Peter Fanning, Norman Watson, Alex Hurst, Simon Campbell, Michael Carling, Anthony Armstrong, Mal McLean, Paul Brown-King, Colin Whittle, Chris Johnson.

Agenda:
Apologies
Chair’s report
Treasurer’s report
Re-appointment of Auditors
Amendments to Rules
Any other business

The Annual General Meeting is open to all shareholding members* of the Newcastle United Supporters Society Limited (trading as Newcastle United Supporters Trust).

Proof of identity is provided prior to entrance.

*Must be aged 16 or over, and a paid up to date member.

NUST Board

logo-trans

Who are we?

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust is not a protest group, but a positive force for change.

We seek to benefit our football club and its supporters by channeling the passion of its loyal supporters into a forward-thinking non-profit organisation that is a legally constituted, democratic, not-for-profit Supporters Trust.

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) seeks to benefit both the Football Club and its supporters by channeling the passion of Newcastle supporters into a forward-thinking organisation that is a legally constituted, democratic, not-for-profit Supporters Trust of Newcastle United.

Contact Us

PO Box 621

Newcastle Upon Tyne

NE5 9AD

info@nufctrust.co.uk

@nufctrust

Copyright 2019 NUFC Trust ©  All Rights Reserved