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FSF Annual Report

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As members will be aware NUST work closely with, and are members of, the Football Supporters Federation (FSF). Board member Michael Martin was appointed to the FSF National Council in July 2015 and has represented the Trust in a number of FSF initiatives.

Whilst most supporters will be aware of the FSF’s high profile ‘twenty’s plenty’ campaign, which aims to limit ticket prices for away fans at £20.00, there are a number of less high profile initiatives undertaken by the FSF which many supporters will find of interest. The FSF have recently released their annual report looking back at 12 months of campaigning which makes for a very good read and includes chapters on ‘Share TV wealth’, Safe Standing, 'Away Fans Matter' as well as articles on Fans for Diversity, the role of Supporter Liasion Officer - limited at Newcastle United we would suggest - and a review of the FSF awards.

Download FSF Annual Review 2015 here

 

Newcastle United Supporters' Trust 2016 Elections Announced

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The NUST formally announces the election process for the appointment of Trust Board Members as announced at the 2016 AGM on 20th January 2016.

There are 6 Trust Board positions to be filled and candidates are standing for a position on the Trust Board only, not specific roles.

All eligible NUST members have been sent an email or a letter (if no email address held) announcing the 2016 elections with all the relevant details.

Any member interested in nominating a candidate or voting must be at least 16 years of age and a fully paid up member of the NUST as of 20th January 2016. Should you wish to run as a candidate then you must be at least 18 years of age and a fully paid up NUST member as of 20th January 2016.

Even if you’re not interested in standing for a place on the Trust Board please take an interest in these elections; this is your Trust and elected individuals will be representing your interests together with the aims and objectives of the NUST.

All relevant information can be found in the election section of our website

 

Whose Club Is It? Part 3 - The National Picture

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"Football is the national game, and football supporters are the lifeblood of the game".

That's the first line of the final report of the Government Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement published this week. The EWG was formed after a recommendation in the Government's 2013 response to the 2011 Football Governance Review. Initially the focus was to look at barriers and incentives for supporter ownership but the remit was extended to include supporter involvement and engagement, by the then Minister Helen Grant.

NUST have been involved in discussions through our Trust networks and as part of our participation in the Supporters Direct Premier League Trusts Group.

The report contains a number of recommendations intended to assist supporter ownership including opportunities to bid in an insolvency process, and additional funding set aside to help supporters' trusts to prepare an ownership bid. Whilst this EWG report promises progress for clubs facing potential insolvency through a number of recommendations, it is important to recognise that it does not significantly address the barriers to supporter ownership faced by supporters of clubs which are not facing insolvency. NUST therefore will continue to support the call from the Supporters Trust movement that there is an urgent need to commission a further EWG to specifically address the barriers to a meaningful supporter ownership stake at solvent clubs.

The report also covers what can, and will, be done to improve engagement and dialogue between clubs and fans, to improve transparency and trust.

The Group reported that "the Supporter Liaison Officer role, made mandatory by the Premier League in 2012/13 is developing and working well in most clubs". NUST wrote to the SLO at Newcastle United in December 2013 asking for regular consultation arrangements to be set up between him and the Trust. We have never received a reply to that letter.

The Group reported that "the majority of clubs in the Premier League hold regular Fans Forums where topical issues which are important to fans are discussed in an open and productive manner." After the first meeting of the Newcastle United Fans Forum the Trust was banned from future meetings. The Trust contacted the Club for an explanation for the ban but has never received a reply. The Football Supporters Federation wrote to the Club in November 2013 asking the Club to reinstate the Trust to the Forum but again the request was ignored.

The Government's Expert Working Group feel that there should be increased opportunity for fans to be involved in club governance. The report recommends that a level of structured dialogue on major club issues needs to be agreed and implemented and the Expert Working Group have developed a model for a minimum level of structured engagement and dialogue between clubs and fans which will deliver the commitments made by the Premier League and Football League.

Their recommendation is that this representative group of supporters should include the club's Supporters Trust. They further recommend that no individuals should be excluded from the meetings without good reason. The Trust will be contacting the club to discuss how these recommendations can be implemented, leading to a new level of structured dialogue between the Trust and senior club personnel.

NUST's "Whose Club Is It?" campaign over the last year has been arguing for closer links between the club, the local community and the fans on the basis that there is much more to a football club than acting as a marketing tool for the owners main business interests.

The Government's Expert Working Group report states their support for the general idea of greater supporter representation on club boards and states that independent non-executive directors, as they operate in other areas of business, can add value to club boards. They also believe that clubs should be required to comply with the principles of the Companies Act which states that company boards should give due regard to the interests of its stakeholders, as well as its shareholders and have due regard to the impact of the company's operations on the community. NUST applauds this idea which fits closely with our principles of a community club.

Unfortunately the Working Group report has no authority to make these changes happen and the Trust would repeat our earlier calls for regulation or legislation to be introduced because Premiership clubs will not bring about these changes willingly.

We hope to discuss these issues with Newcastle United in the near future and we will keep members up to date on any developments.

 

NUST 6th Annual General Meeting

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NUST's sixth Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 20th January 2016 at 6pm. The venue is The Mining Institute, Neville Hall,  Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE

The agenda for the meeting

1. Apologies

2. Chair’s report

3. Treasurer’s report

4. Re-appointment of Auditors

5. 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 membership is required for entrance.

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

 

Strawberry Place - Planning Application

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NUST reported last month (27th November) how NUST board members had recently met with representatives of Maricco Ltd who were acting as developers for the site behind the Gallowgate End where the car park adjacent to St James Metro station is situated. Whilst being reluctant to reveal who they were acting for - our representatives informed them it was within the Mike Ashley group of companies - it was quite clear from the meeting that the development did not include any plans for a ground extension, nor indeed did the configuration of the site leave any opportunity for a future extension of the Gallowgate End. As previously reported by NUST, a joint report commissioned by the club and the City Council as recently as 2008 detailed exactly how an extension of the Gallowgate End over the site could be completed. It is clear that this proposal appears to have been abandoned by the club.

NUST can now confirm, as anticipated, that the planning application to the Council has been submitted for the site and it appears to be consistent with the information provided at last month's meeting. See Evening Chronicle article.

Whilst other Premier League clubs appear to be either moving to grounds with greater capacity or extending their own grounds to increase capacity, it is clear that there is no such intention here at Newcastle.

We have written to the club for information but sadly, although of no surprise, we have received no response.

Whilst the land was originally leased to Newcastle United it appears to be no longer within their control and therefore even for those supporters who didn't believe a ground extension a viable option it should be noted that regardless, any profit from the site will not flow to the club.

NUST intend to write to the Council making representations in respect of the site and would encourage supporters to do likewise.

If any planning experts would like to assist with this process please contact NUST on email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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"What is a club in any case? Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It's not the television contracts, get out clauses or the marketing departments or executive boxes. It's the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city"

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