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NUST - Supports The Singers' Corner!

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The Newcastle United Supporters' Trust notes the increased mood of optimism amongst supporters despite the club's relegation to the Championship. This can only be due to the fantastic news that Rafa Benitez has agreed to stay at United and that the club has agreed to scrap a failed model for running the football side of Newcastle United Football Club.

Part of this new mood of optimism has led to a grass-roots movement of those who want to sing in support of Rafa and the team congregating in the Corner section of The Gallowgate. At the last home game of the season v Spurs the support for the team and Rafa was excellent and most of it was generated by supporters in The Corner whose vocal support for the team was infectious and created a brilliant atmosphere. Who will doubt that the positivity generated by the loud, vocal support created the environment for a great win and influenced Rafa that Newcastle United is the club for him? That can be repeated again and again this coming season.

Therefore the Newcastle United Supporters' Trust supports completely the move of supporters who want to sing to congregate in The Corner section but also in the Gallowgate lower tier and on the east side too (or as close as possible). NUST believes this can only be a positive development and one which will help Rafa and the team claim promotion back to the Premier League over the 2016/17 season. Our club's supporters are its greatest assets in so many ways. On match-days we want to be part of the effort to get three points rather than be simple paying customers.

Going forward, NUST hopes the Box Office, the Supporters Liaison Officer, the Fans Forum and everyone at Newcastle United FC will do everything it can to facilitate this positive development.

No-one should confuse the loud, vocal support for the team and manager as bad behaviour and NUST also believes supporters in that part of St James' Park have a responsibility to behave responsibly and uphold the good name of our football club.

Everything should be done to support and build upon a real and genuine attempt to provide Rafa and the team with brilliant, active support from a part of St James' Park traditionally known to do that.

If you want to join the singers in The Corner, contact the Box Office – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your details and they will switch your season ticket to those areas.

You could telephone the Box Office on 0844 372 1892.
Or you could visit the Box Office and make the appropriate arrangements there.

 

NUST Relegation Statement

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Like all fans of Newcastle United Football Club we are dismayed about the club's relegation from the Premier League. Sadly this was all too inevitable in our opinion. In 2013 NUST were banned from the Fans' Forum for daring to call into question the management of Newcastle United Football Club and its apparent lack of ambition. The issues we raised with the club at that time still remain unanswered and after years of chronic mismanagement the club has been once more relegated from the Premier League. We consider that this relegation was completely avoidable and we are left once again to question whether or not OUR club is being run for the benefit of Newcastle United and its supporters or simply for a businessman who now admits he regrets 'getting into football'.

Whilst none of us can change the past, all supporters can influence the club's future. The loyal fans of Newcastle United deserve much more and we urge all fans to now demand more. We must seek a positive change that will lead to this great club back into the Premier League as a force to be reckoned with.'

We applaud Rafa Benitez for his valiant attempts to save the club from relegation and NUST call upon the owner and Managing Director to make every effort to ensure Rafa Benitez remains at the club and is provided the same level of financial commitment given, belatedly, to Steve McClaren.

This will inevitably mean the current 'governance' of the club being overhauled from top to bottom and more control being given to Rafa, the introduction of a professional Board of Directors with experience of successfully running a football club and added supporter representation at Board level.

 

Whose Football is it? Event

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"Whose football is it? A discussion and debate on reconnecting north east football clubs to their communities". NUST's Peter Fanning is a panelist for this interesting event held before Sunday's match.

This event, organized in partnership between The Northern Correspondent and the Baltic Centre will take place at BALTIC Level 1 on Sunday 15th May from 10.30am to 12.30pm - the morning of the final day of the season. The discussion will consider questions such as:

  • How does football shape the identity of a region like the north east, and cities and towns like Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough?
  • What are the key challenges and opportunities for football in the north east?
  • How might we reconnect football with north east communities?
  • What role could football play in regenerating our region, and meeting its needs?
  • How successful has the north east been in integrating football into other areas of public and cultural life?
  • What are the opportunities for collaboration and partnership?

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead
  • Roger Domeneghetti, author of From the Back Page to the Front Room
  • Sarah Munro, director of BALTIC
  • Peter Fanning, Newcastle United Supporters' Trust
  • Dr Kevin Dixon, Teesside University sports sociologist
  • Luke Edwards, Telegraph's north east football reporter
  • Lois Stonock, researcher and curator
  • Charlie Tims, researcher
  • Michael Martin, editor of True Faith fanzine
  • Kate Bradley, chief executive, Newcastle United Foundation

Come along and join in the debate.
For all the details of the event

 

Trust Launches Community Ownership Statement

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Newcastle United Supporters' Trust last week publicly launched their statement of intent setting out their ambitions for Community Ownership and what it means for the future of Newcastle United.

See a copy of Community Ownership Statement here

At a conference held in Newcastle, attended by football supporters from around the country, different ownership models were discussed and the role of supporters in owning their clubs was passionately debated. The Trust has long advocated that supporters should have a greater role in the running of football clubs. We believe that Newcastle United should be a club at the centre of our community, existing for the benefit of its supporters, the City and the local community it serves. A club that values its supporters as long term custodians of the club, a club that works with our local MPs, the city council, local businesses and seeks to work with local clubs to develop and retain talent in the region. A club that strives for excellence on and off the pitch.

The conference heard Kevin Miles, Chief Executive of the Football Supporters Federation, report on what the Government's Expert Working Group had recommended. More importantly he opened proceedings by explaining that whatever legal minefield surrounds supporters buying their football club, it was recognised the world over that this is not about legal and technical business issues. There is an emotional context to the world of football that recognises that football clubs belong to football supporters.

Ian Mearns MP for Gateshead, speaking as both a Member of Parliament and a lifelong Newcastle United fan explained how he was hoping to raise the profile of football supporters as Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporter Issues. In a week when the brave families of the Hillsborough 96 had shown that the voices of football supporters can be heard above the voice of the Establishment, Ian confirmed that he would be working to help ensure that football supporter issues would not be ignored and wherever possible he will ensure access to Ministers is available.

Frank Beattie told us about the realities of having a place on the Board at Carlisle United and the lessons learned over the years as owners changed and new agreements with supporters were put in place. "Build a war chest, build bridges and work with whoever you have to," said Frank but his overriding message was... "you must work in the best interests of the football club."

We then heard about some amazing goings on at Leeds United. Howard Nelson didn't have time to cover the whole Leeds United back-story through their recent list of owners whose actions have been questionable to say the least, and continue to be so. He did list for us the ownership options that are out there and have been explored by the Leeds Fans United Consortium:

  • Benevolent billionaire – few and far between and invariably bring "ego" baggage. (Don't we know it!)
  • Large Corporate – "brand" issues and shareholder responsibilities.
  • Leeds fan base – lacking depth of funds.
  • Wealthy Leeds fan in partnership with the fans – "the dream ticket."

We may think we have problems with our current owner, part of Howards message was "be careful what you wish for".

Brian Cormack and Garry Halliday then told us the fantastic story of the Foundation of Hearts. They've saved their club from administration and have a plan for the fans to own the major shareholding in five years. Their current owner is a fan, bought the club to save it from an allegedly crazy Russian owner, and is selling it to the fans as they raise the money. Interestingly, one of their first actions was to change the club's sponsor........from Wonga!

We then heard about what is probably the most successful major sports club in the north east region which was saved by its fans and the local community, Durham County Cricket Club. David Harker, Chief Executive, outlined for delegates the journey the club had been on. They've moved from a minor county club operating on an amateur level to a premier professional club at the top of their game. In cricket, it's clear that a connection with the fans is essential even though their ongoing development has meant the introduction of different people taking the club forward with external investors now being the major shareholders.
David asked an important question which reflected much of what had gone before..."Do you need a point of crisis to create the momentum for greater fan involvement in club ownership?"

What would be our point of crisis? TV money and UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules mean there is less chance of clubs in the top levels of football facing financial ruin. Even relegation is unlikely to be regarded as enough of a crisis to require fans to become Toon saviours.

What the Supporters' Trust does want is to form an alliance of those interested in securing the future of Newcastle United as a Community Club. We believe the basic preconditions are in place and the club can be run successfully and developed further using its own income and resources. What we need is an owner willing to engage with fans and to recognise their responsibilities to engage with the local community and play a part in regenerating the city of Newcastle and the Tyneside area rather than simply showcasing the business interests of a sports retail company.

Our statement of Community Ownership sets out our vision and we will continue to work to identify those who are interested in forming an alliance to take the vision forward. Contact the Trust at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you believe you can help.

 

NUST Conference - This Friday - Places Available

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There's still time to book your place at our Conference on Friday. The conference is open to anyone - not just NUST members. There's been a lot of interest from around the country and NUST members and non-members who are interested in taking part in the debate are encouraged to come along and have your say.

We've got a great line up of speakers:

Kevin Miles, the Chief Executive of the Football Supporters Federation spent many an hour in the Government's Expert Working Group and he'll be giving us some insight into what their report means for us all and how we compare with fans of other European clubs.

Ian Mearns MP and committed Newcastle United fan will help us to understand what our MPs can do for football fans.

David Harker, Chief Executive of Durham County Cricket Club will tell us about community ownership in the world of first class cricket.

Fans involved in Fan Ownership across the country will share their experiences at Hearts, Carlisle and Leeds United.

Copy of the full Programme here.

Get in touch as soon as possible by e-mailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and book a place.

The conference takes place in Rutherford Hall, Northumbria University starting at 12.30pm. until 5.00pm. and is free to attend.

 

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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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