SF0001_Shane_Ferguson_Newcastle_United_NUFCMany of us football fans are so passionate that we can easily identify with the famous Bill Shankly quotation: “football is not a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that”.  Sometimes, passion can lead us to trenchant criticism of our club’s players, particularly when as is the case with NUFC, the club is going through a rocky patch.

That means it is always refreshing when your club heroes step outside of the goldfish bowl of football, and are able to contribute to the other things that matter in life.  That is often easier to do once you are retired, as Robbie Elliott showed in his gargantuan European bike ride this year, raising money for the very worthy causes of cancer research and the Bobby Robson Foundation.

So it is all the more admirable when our active players are able to get directly involved in helping support the causes that are close to our own hearts, and which really are a matter of life-and-death.  The North East cricket community was therefore hugely grateful to first team squad player Shane Ferguson for his help with charity fundraising associated with the sudden illness of one of our dearest friends.

North Eastern cricketers were shocked last summer to discover that one of the long-standing stalwarts of the local midweek league, Jon Robinson, had been diagnosed with secondary cancer at the young age of 47.  When it was clear in early December that this would be terminal, both his clubs, Genetics and Mallards, together with South Northumberland Cricket Club, decided to organise a charity fundraising evening to mark his life.

This was held at the South North sports centre in Gosforth on 21st December this year, and involved an indoor cricket tournament by way of a last testimonial for Jon, including a charity raffle.  Unfortunately, a last minute deterioration in Jon’s condition meant that he could not be present, but he was kept up to date with regular texts and calls from the organisers.

pic 1We were delighted that Shane gave his full support to the evening.  He managed to arrange the full Newcastle United squad to autograph a NUFC shirt, that was raffled on that evening, as well as being present for the first three matches to provide his vocal encouragement.

Around 50 members of the north east cricket community were present, including a large number of NUFC season ticket holders. The fundraising evening raised a total of £1300, which, in accordance with Jon’s wishes, is being split between donations to Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie Hospices.

All involved were extremely grateful to the financial support provided by both SNCC and Genetics in arranging the evening, as well as to Shane for providing his valuable time and personal support for two very worthy causes and a very dear friend.

Jon passed away shortly after, on New Year’s Day after, spending his last days in hospice care.  He was delighted and greatly moved by the contributions from all concerned, and for the last testimonial that his sporting colleagues were able to provide.

We would like to record our own thanks to Shane for getting involved here with something that we have to admit, matters more to us than NUFC.

(Photo: the signed shirt arranged by Shane Ferguson – pic courtesy of Jez Greenwood)

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22 comments
GR1125
GR1125

Excellent article. Folks make decisions to stay or go, it's their decision & everyone's circumstances are different.

Me? I meet the same lads who I started to go to the match with 47 years ago; we have a beer or five, our sons now join us - it's what we do. We see the same faces in the pubs, all desperate folks just like us!

Yes, we want things to change but if it was trophies we were after we would have stopped going years ago.

I still think we need some Messiah figure to organize something against the regime but I believe that it will be embarrassment or shame which will drive Ashley out, not losing a few quid at the turnstile.

Pardew suddenly departed & Ashley will certainly depart.

Until then, why should I allow him to stop me having a good day out in my town (apart from 90 minutes sometimes) with friends & family? 

Maximus Moose
Maximus Moose

A very good article but at the end of the day by going to the match your condoning Ashley

SGM
SGM

Your protests would make a huge impact on the club, but for one thing, Gate receipts are a fraction of a clubs income, so a club doesn't need to keep them happy, they are now no longer courted, in fact they are becoming a problem, all clubs in the Prem. now discourage individuals in favour of corporate.

v0ices
v0ices

@SGM a rather large fraction of a clubs income don't make it sound like pennies when its tens of millions, not to mention all the associated income from merchandise etc. The mans greedy cut his profits and he will sell up so he can take his money elsewhere for a better return. That's not taking into account any penalties sky or BT may have written into contracts regarding empty grounds. Staying away may not work but going will just continue to feed the fat mans wallet and justify his tenure as custodian of our club.

SGM
SGM

@v0ices @SGM Merchandise has been sold off, internal catering has been sold off, even the match-day programmes.Individuals need marshalling and crowd control is becoming expensive, corporate is far more profitable. And i believe its Sky that feeds the wallet. if you want to hit his Wallet cancel your Sky subscription.

1957
1957

It's always nice to read Chris's articles, wish I could do as well. I don't always agree with them but they are a blessed relief from the rehashed Chronicle rubbish and the efforts from the let's write anything so everyone can slag off the regime crew.

I still go to the match, not because I'm a particular admirer of the clubs business plan, but because it's time I get to spend with my son who lives out of the area and travels home for each home game. Oddly for some we still enjoy the games and the chance to interact with the supporters around us, some of whom we have sat with for many years. None of these are contemplating a boycott, because we all feel it will have no effect on Ashley.

A boycott of SD would have as much effect as the mackem's Sugar Puffs effort years ago, SD is a national company and our small corner of the world is of little consequence in the grand scheme of things

mentalman
mentalman

Finally a decent article.

I would disagree with you on the success of the 60minute walkout simply because there was a 69th minute walkout to. Hats off to the guys who arranged the walkout but then a seperate group came along and decided to do their own walkout 9mins later which turned both into a joke. I can remember watching it on TV and on 60mins the commentators said is this the arranged walkout or is it just a load of geordies going for a pie.

Why couldn't eveyone just agree to leave at one point, it would have made a much bigger statement.

Brian Standen
Brian Standen

Top artucle, puts my writing to shame. Excellent points

Rangers1ST
Rangers1ST

@MikeAshleyLies Boycott wouldn't work anyway with the TV £ you get. Only way to be rid of him is a collective vilification of SD by fans.

andy_emmers
andy_emmers

@MikeAshleyLies Excellent article - see it all over the fan pages, all want action but end up falling out over preaching their point of view

LeazesEnder
LeazesEnder

I always presumed these Mills and Boon articles were written for 'the Ladies' or ex-pats reminiscing over salad days fare...