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Member Update - 9th February 2023

Member Update - 9th February 2023

Strawberry Place leasehold returns to NUFC

Over many years NUST have been consistent in our suggestion that the land at Strawberry Place should not be sold for private development ,and should be developed for the benefit of the football club and local community. When an application was made for planning permission NUST objected to the application and made representations before the Council’s planning committee opposing the proposed development. We are pleased to see that the land is to be transferred back to NUFC and look forward to learning about their plans in the coming months.
Ticketing Questions Put to Club - Wembley and away tickets

Newcastle United have reached their first final in 24 years. What is clear to the Board of the Trust is that ticketing issues and queries are the most important matters to many Trust members. Periods 1 to 3 of Wembley ticket sales have now taken place and the club have clarified a number of matters, but during the last few days the Trust has been still been seeking answers to the questions asked by our Members.

With this in mind the Board has spoken to Newcastle United and we are pleased to report that the club have provided answers to questions raised by members on ticketing.

Member Question:

For Wembley, is there any chance tickets will actually go down to periods 4,5 and 6? Or are they only periods that will take place if tickets don’t sell out in each previous tier?

Answer from NUFC:

Each period is guaranteed to take place.

Trust analysis:

The club is seeking to ensuring some members and non-members (with purchase history) will receive tickets in their attempt to ensure a range of fans have access to Wembley. The vast majority of tickets will go to season ticket holders. Periods 4-6 seem to be ballots so not every qualifying applicant will receive tickets, unlike in periods 1-3 where tickets are guaranteed if you qualify and purchase through the cub site in your allocated period time slot.

Member Question:

Why are less and less tickets for away games going on sale to season ticket holders? Are they holding back more tickets for corporate than they used to?

Answer from NUFC:

As you can appreciate, demand for away ticket allocations during this season is significantly higher from fans. We can confirm that there have been no changes in the allocation of 10% made available to staff, players, and corporate ticket holders for away matches.

For specific matches this season, like Crystal Palace vs Newcastle United, the away fan capacity at Selhurst Park was reduced by roughly a couple of hundred seats. This was a local Safety Advisory Group (SAG) issue rather than a decision made by Crystal Palace in isolation, and therefore it wasn’t something we were able to influence. This now applies to all clubs visiting the ground moving forward.

There have been instances during this season where there has been an increased uptake from players wanting their families to attend a game. In addition, and in the interests of being transparent, permanent full-time staff are now able to apply to purchase a ticket on a balloted basis from a very small allocation of tickets. 

As you might expect, lots of our staff work home matches but are not able to watch the match itself. This scheme gives our hard-working people the chance to enjoy watching the team they work so hard to support behind the scenes, and I hope you would agree this is a worthy addition. Rest assured, this takes only a small number of tickets.

Please be assured that our fans are at the heart of the club and we will always look to ensure our loyal supporters are rewarded with access to as many away match tickets as possible whilst supporting our other matchday commitments.

We hope the above clarifications help NUST members with the queries they have raised with us, many thanks to Newcastle United for their prompt engagement on these matters and their transparency on these issues.
Trust stands up for fans caught up in Sheffield Wednesday issues

Trust Board member Cliff Culley and Thomas Concannon ex Trust Board member and now working with the FSA met with Bob Eastwood, Head of Safety and Security and two of his colleagues Steve Dowson and Andy Pomfret from the English Football League (EFC) on Tuesday 31st January.

Bob advised that the EFL and Sheffield Wednesday are taking those concerns very seriously and Sheffield Wednesday have already implemented some changes to ensure similar incidents do not happen again.

There was a good discussion and the Trust provided the EFL with all the reports received by our Members and the EFL will now will consider and discuss the evidence in detail with Sheffield Wednesday. The EFL committed to keeping the Trust updated.  

The Trust would like to thank again, those who provided input of their experiences on the day and it will hopefully make future visits by away fans to Hillsborough a safer and more pleasant experience.
AGM Update

NUST held it's Annual General Meeting at Heroes Lounge, St James' Park on Thursday 12th January 2023. 

The Board would like to thank all Members that attended the AGM, the minutes of which can be found by clicking on the link below. 

To begin the evening, Trust Chair Thomas Concannon welcomed Members and provided a summary of work undertaken by the Trust over the past 12 months - whilst not an exhaustive list, this included: · 

  • Bringing to a close the NUST 1892 Pledge Scheme, which directly resulted in £200,000 being distributed to the following North East based charities:
    • The Alan Shearer Foundation (£83,500)  
    • The Newcastle West End Foodbank (£27,500)
    • The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation (£59,000) 
    • The Newcastle United Foundation (£30,000)
  •  Our work with the relevant authorities in relation to the review of the ‘crushing’ incident at the Leeds Utd v Newcastle United fixture in January 2022. Forming and developing a working relationship with the newly created Supporter Services Department at Newcastle United, headed up by Sarah Medcalf.
  • Working to provide recommendations to Newcastle United's Supporter Services Department following the fan-led review into football governance, led by Tracy Crouch MP. 

Thomas Concannon also confirmed that he had recently taken up a new role with the Football Supporters Association as its Premier League Network Manager, and that in order to avoid any potential conflict of interest he would be resigning from his position on the Board of NUST*, although he would continue to play a role as a NUST member. 

We then moved to the formal business of the evening and received the Trust accounts for year ending August 2022 (available HERE). The accounts were approved and Stephenson Coates Audit Limited were re-appointed as Trust auditors. 

An update was then provided on the recent NUST Annual Election and it was confirmed that following this, Alex Hurst, Paul Karter and Michael Martin* were elected to the Board. 

NUST Board Member Cliff Culley then explained to those in attendance that since the rules adopted by NUST were the model rules and no longer fit for modern time, they required to be updated. Cliff explained that Trust has worked with the Co-Op, given that their model rules had been subject to minor updates, the new Trust rules now reflect those updates, and as a result member approval was required to confirm acceptance of the updated model.

Cliff proceeded to explain the changes that were proposed to those in attendance, and members were then requested to approve the update to the rules - these changes were unanimously agreed. An copy of the updated rules, that will now be submitted to the FCA, can be found here.

A Q&A was then held with the Board, with a number of members asking questions and raising points - these included: 

  • Ticketing
  • Relationship with NUFC
  • NUW Team1892 Pledge Scheme
  • Diversity and inclusion  The fan-led review
  • Member surveys
  • Ground capacityKit supplier
  • Wi-Fi / additional giant screens in St James' Park

The Board would like to thank Newcastle United for allowing NUST to host the meeting, in particular Sarah Medcalf (Head of Supporter Services) and Dominica O'Neill (Director of People and Talent) for their help in facilitating the event. Thank you once again to all that attended and to those that provided apologies. Thank you for your continued support.

A copy of the AGM minutes can be found HERE.

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