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“Nobody dies in football matches in fires. It doesn’t happen.”

The 56 presented by LUNG Theatre  Photograph Joe PriestleyWith the new football season well under way Live Theatre will be kicking off September by presenting LUNG Theatre's award-winning play The 56 - a look at one of the darkest days in football history on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 September.
At 3.40pm on 11 May 1985 Bradford City Football Club were supposed to be celebrating receiving the Division Three championship trophy – their first trophy in 56 years – in front of 11,000 jubilant fans before the start of their match against Lincoln City.
Instead it turned into a day of appalling tragedy. A small fire broke out in the main stand at Valley Parade stadium. Within four minutes, the wooden structure was ablaze. Using over sixty real-life testimonies this bold and pertinent piece of documentary theatre pays homage to the 56 supporters who lost their lives and more than 250 who were injured and examines the solidarity, strength and community in the face of overwhelming tragedy.


Rafa Supports the Fans Film

Rafa and film team final Resize 3NUST are supporting the fans film being produced by Gateshead based film maker Zahra Zamorrodian. It's a film to be made about fans by fans for the fans and Rafa Benitez is right behind it too. Check out the following link
The Newcastle United manager is not the focus of the documentary, and neither is the team on the pitch, however, his decision to remain at St James' Park following relegation to the Championship is key to the positivity supporters are taking into this season. Likewise, Rafa has talked about the important part Newcastle's supporters played in his decision to stay at the club.

In his interview with Zahra for the documentary, Rafa also reveals the extent to which Newcastle supporters should be grateful to his daughters for encouraging him to stay. Asked if daughters had a major bearing on his decision, Rafa says: "It's true. My family wanted me to stay because I was two years in Italy, six months in Spain. So for them, to stay in England was really important. 
"They follow the social network, they have Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all these things.

And they were telling me 'Listen, the fans love you. You have to stay. You have to stay for them. You have to win for them.'
"For one or two weeks, they were pushing and pushing."

For Zahra, that kind of insight into the influence fans can have, even remotely via social media, adds important context to the film.

And, when she came up with the concept of recording the season from the fans' perspective, it was because the club is at such an interesting point in its history. Zahra says: "The feeling around the city, the positivity, the fact that more than 35,000 season tickets have been sold, all that stems from Rafa's decision to stay.
"And it's that feeling of hope and a re-connection with their club that makes Newcastle fans of such interest to me as a filmmaker.
"Really, the timing of this documentary is all down to Rafa. He's given Newcastle supporters belief and we want to record that positivity, and the way they deal with the disappointments that naturally happen.
"Like Friday night's result at Fulham. As a fan, that was a setback, but it's interesting from a filmmaker's perspective to see how those disappointments are handled."

In Rafa's interview with Zahra, he also directly addresses fans and asks them to support both the film and his team.
Rafa says: "I am trying to support this [the film]. I think it's important to do this film for the fans, about the fans, and I think that you will enjoy it.
"I will say to all of you, stay keeping and supporting the team. Stay behind the team and the players, they will appreciate that.
"And you will be a crucial part if we go up. It depends on you. We can try our best but you can make a difference."

'We Are The Geordies' will follow a small number of fans, who will be the film's main focus, and document home and travelling black and white support. The film will feature an unusual mix of professionally filmed interviews and footage, interspersed with 'camerafan' footage, where supporters contribute their own phone videos of match day. Have a look at some preliminary footage from the Fulham game.

For Zahra and the 'We Are The Geordies' production team, Saturday's (13th August) first home game of the season will be hugely important.
Zahra adds: "The Huddersfield game is massive for us because it's massive for the fans.
"It looks like it will be a record Championship crowd, which is amazing and really sums up why these supporters are so interesting.
"We'll be in and around St James' filming and we're hoping to receive a lot of 'camerafan' footage that really captures the day.
"Everything from breakfast and the Metro journey, to the flags in Gallowgate and post-match pub. Really, whatever makes your match day, match day."

'We Are The Geordies' is not a Newcastle United project, however, the club is very positive about the concept of a film about its fans and has offered support wherever possible, including access to St James' Park.

For more information, and to contact Zahra, please visit
Or follow the project on Twitter (@GeordiesFF) and Facebook (

Photo and film links provided by FNA Films


About the fans, for the fans, by the fans!

NUFC fans credit Singe Vert Photography ResizedThe Trust attended a really interesting meeting on Friday night hosted by Fans United at the Irish Centre in Newcastle. A Gateshead filmmaker has announced plans for a new and very personal project - and she is asking Newcastle United fans for their help.
Zahra Zomorrodian produced the successful comedy, 'The Stagg Do,' which was shot in Northumberland and released in 2014.

Her next film will be a documentary about Newcastle United's upcoming season but almost all the action will take place away from the pitch, focussing instead on the fans' match day experiences. Have a look at a short film here to hear a bit more about her ideas -

As well as looking for a small number of fans to be the main focus of the film throughout the season, Zahra is also asking supporters to become 'camerafans' and to contribute their own footage of match day.

Zahra, the film's producer, explains: "This film is very much about fans, not football.

"I find it fascinating trying to understand what makes men and women, all over the world, care so much about Newcastle United.

"Why do fans get up in the dead of night to travel to away games, or watch the match on telly from the other side of the world. Those are the stories we want to explore.

"The idea came to me when I was talking with a Liverpool fan about Rafa Benitez and how different everything about the club feels this year. There's a positivity which has been missing for so long and I want to capture that."

The documentary's working title is 'We Are The Geordies' and it will feature an unusual mix of professionally filmed interviews and footage, interspersed with 'camerafan' footage.

'We Are The Geordies' will be directed by James DeMarco, while Keith Bell ('Dog Soldiers,' 'The Descent' and 'Harry Brown,' which starred Sir Michael Caine) will be executive producer.

It is not a Newcastle United project, however, the club is very positive about the concept of a film about its fans and has offered support wherever possible, including access to St James' Park.

Zahra continues: "Technology today means that almost everyone has a phone they can record and share HD video footage from.

"Ten years ago, what we're proposing wouldn't even be possible but now we know there are thousands of potential 'camerafans' at every game. People who can film a short bit of their match day and share that with us.

"You only need to look at YouTube and see the thousands of videos of football fans chanting, celebrating and doing all the daft things that make up a match day.

"The energy and excitement in some of those videos is incredible and we want to include that raw energy and passion in this film."

As well as documenting both home and travelling black and white support, 'We Are the Geordies' will also explore NUFC fan clubs around the globe, capturing the fanaticism of fans living thousands of miles away from St James' Park.

Given the short time before the start of the season, Zahra is keen to move things as quickly as possible and she is asking Newcastle fans, wherever they are based, to get in touch and help spread the word.

Zahra adds: "What we really need now is for fans to get on board. We're looking for a number of supporters to become the core of the film as we follow them over the course of the season. And they can be based anywhere in the world.

"Fans can also help by investing in the film through our Kickstarter and we're trying to raise an initial £20,000 through that, though the actual budget is £300,000.

"We're also talking to investors and the feedback we're getting is fantastic. There's a real sense that this is the right project, at the right time.

"We'll be tracking supporters to the Burton Albions and the Rotherhams as Rafa tries to deliver us back to the Premier League.

"As a Newcastle fan myself, I'm not naive. Things feel positive now, and there's a real sense we're moving in the right direction, but anything could still go wrong for us.

"We don't know what this season will bring and that's the beauty of this film. All the drama, the highs and lows, are still unknown. I can't wait to start filming and gathering together material from fans.

"My hope is that the film's climax is our promotion but that's out of our hands. As ever, as fans, all we can do is continue to support the team as we always have and that's what I want 'We Are The Geordies' to convey."

For more information, and to contact Zahra, please visit

Or follow the project on Twitter (@GeordiesFF) and Facebook (

At the Trust we think this is an exciting project about fantastic Newcastle fans, made by Newcastle fans and we'll be trying to support the film makers where we can.


NUST - Supports The Singers' Corner!

nust logo smallThe 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

nust logo smallLike 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.


Strawberry Place - Planning Objections

Strawberry PlaceNUST have previously reported on the proposed development at Strawberry Place - having met developers acting on behalf of Mike Ashley. We can now report that following the submission of a planning application 2015/1778/01/DET by developers Maricco Ltd, NUST have filed an objection to the planning application. All objections can be viewed here on the Council's website. Alternatively goto search and then enter 2015/1778/01/DET. Please feel free to register your own objections to this scheme which will prevent forever any expansion of the ground. NUST believe that the 52,000 capacity would not be enough if Newcastle were in Leicester's position and that this is an extremely shortsighted move.

Read NUST's Objection here

NUST's objection contains the draft report commissioned by NUFC and Newcastle Council about extending the stadium - which NUFC originally denied could be done.

Read Extension Report here

Norman Watson Chair of NUST stated '"we have been observing the proposed development for some time and have met with developers to discuss their plans. It is clear that the proposal will prevent any future ground expansion which is of concern to NUST and many supporters"


Whose Club Is It? Rafa Onside

nust logo smallFollowing our report last week posing the question 'Whose club is it?', which, whilst raising the issue of supporter involvement in the running of football clubs, also suggested the need for 'major changes' in the running of Newcastle United, we welcome the appointment of new manager Rafa Benitez. Whilst fully accepting that the short term priority is to avoid relegation NUST hope that the appointment is the first signs of ambition by the Ashley regime and the first step towards a major change in the running of the club and an acceptance that the 'current business model' is flawed and in need of a major overhaul.

Good luck Rafa and welcome to Newcastle United!


Whose club is it? Come and have your say.

nust logo smallThe Trust shares the concerns of all Newcastle United fans about the present situation at the club. Members of the Fans Forum have clearly expressed the views of many in their recent open letter to the club and all members of the Trust Board endorse those sentiments. We also share the frustrations expressed by Alan Shearer regarding the running of the club and that problems exist from top to bottom. Whilst there is much media speculation about the position of Steve McLaren, NUST believes that the managerial position is only part of a much greater problem at the club.

We have long advocated the position 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, which exists for the benefit of its supporters, the City and the local community it serves. A club that works with its supporters, the city council, local businesses and seeks to work with local clubs to develop and retain talent in the region. In particular, a club which strives for excellence on and off the pitch.

We feel that the Club already has the basic preconditions for success under new ownership:

  • Large fan base with a regular attendance of over 50,000;
  • Stadium of sufficient size and quality with the option to expand;
  • Located at the heart of the City;
  • Significant future growth opportunities are available in developing new commercial sponsorship and overseas markets;
  • Capable of maintaining the investment level needed for continuous team development;
  • History and tradition, both in Europe and at home.

The Board of the Trust are working to form an alliance of those interested in securing the future of Newcastle United as a community owned club and who are willing to help secure that aim. At the moment we do not believe we have a willing seller. We do believe, however, that at some point a transfer event will occur as the present owner seeks to leave. We believe that we must prepare so that we are ready and able to intervene financially in any future partial or full sale of NUFC. We want you to join the Trust and help us achieve that aim.

We have worked with local Members of Parliament and representatives of the City Council, former NUFC Board members and local businesses, who share our vision of Newcastle United as a "Community Club". We have attempted to open a channel of communication with club representatives but sadly our requests have been ignored. The club shows no willingness to engage with it's supporters in any meaningful way.

Without major change at the club there will be no long term improvement simply by sacking the manager. No lessons have been learnt over recent years and as a result the club continues in decline.

On Friday 29th April 2016, we are holding a fan ownership conference in Newcastle entitled "Whose Club is it?" We have a number of speakers from clubs around the country who will talk about their own experiences of different ownership models and we will explore the concept of what a "community club" should look like. Further details about how to sign up for the conference will be sent out over the next week or two.

Come along on the 29th April and show your support for real change at Newcastle United.


Just the Ticket

20 plentyNUST have long supported the Football Supporters' Federation's 'twenty's plenty' campaign. The recent Liverpool fans walkout in protest about their, now defunct, £77.00 ticket prices raised the whole issue of ticket pricing far beyond the normal football fan base and brought it to a much wider audience. What the walkout did prove beyond doubt was the strength of 'fan power'. Within days the Liverpool board publicly issued a letter to supporters backtracking on their ticket proposals and apologising for the way they, the owners, had misjudged the situation.

Here at Newcastle United over many years we have seen collective action by our supporters in support of common causes - from the Supporters for Change group in the late 80's, via the Save our Seats campaign in the late 90's, to last year's protests and the boycott of the Spurs game. Unfortunately, examples of owners and club Boards publicly responding to direct action in the way Liverpool's owners did recently, are rare.

As part of a co-ordinated approach by Premier League Trusts we wrote to the Club in January. We asked them to support proposals at the next Premier League shareholders' meeting ensuring a significant amount of the new TV money will be used to secure positive benefits for matchgoing fans across the game. We have not yet received any reply from the Club to let us know what their position will be at their meeting.

On Friday, 19th February NUST were represented at the FSF organised Premier League supporter groups meeting in London. This meeting had been organised ahead of the Premier League shareholders' meeting at the end of March with the intention of placing pressure on Premier League clubs with regard to ticketing and a host of other fan issues.

We will update members following the meeting.


Whose Club Is It? Part 3 - The National Picture

nust logo small"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

NUSnust logo smallT'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.

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