Mike Ashley’s running of Newcastle United is once again shown up, this time through the contempt displayed towards the NUFC Fans Forum.
For those who aren’t aware, the Fans Forum is made up of a group of fans who meet club officials (including Managing Director Lee Charnley) three times a year, it used to be four until Newcastle United decided having four meetings was unnecessary.
Prospective Fans Forum members have to put themselves forward and it is the club who actually choose which supporters are allowed on, not a case of supporters voting for their representatives as happens at other clubs.
Yet despite Mike Ashley’s minions choosing the make-up of the Fans Forum, the contempt they have treat them with is unbelievable.
In response to the crisis at St James’ Park and the spectre of relegation, the Fans Forum collectively wrote to the club on 21 April 2015 asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the problems at Newcastle United and the challenges facing the club.
Amazingly, Lee Charnley quickly sprung into action and took time off from searching the World for our next manager, replying only five days later to agree that this early meeting was essential and that the planned end of season meeting would be brought forward to enable a meeting with the Fans Forum members to happen as soon as possible – adding that the club would come to it with an ‘open and transparent’ approach.
Despite this promise to the Fans Forum (and by association, the Newcastle supporter fanbase as a whole) no such meeting has taken place.
However, it gets worse, because Taylor Payne who is the ‘Members Representative’ on the Fans Forum has confirmed that not only has no meeting taken place, but to compound matters the club hasn’t had the courtesy to even reply to Forum members’ requests for information as to when the meeting will be.
Taylor saying that he has sent countless emails to the club but with no reply. This confirms what I have been told by other Fans Forum members who don’t want to have their names made public.
Lee Charnley’s letter of the 26 April (38 days ago) agreeing to an urgent meeting BEFORE the end of the season is reproduced below, whilst firstly this is the message that Taylor (one half of the renowned @TaylorandBesty Twitter account) sent earlier today in reply to a fan who was asking what was happening with the promised Fans Forum meeting:
“Requested a meeting after Leicester, club agreed. We’ve heard nothing since. Sent countless emails. No idea why.”
Lee Charnley letter to NUFC Fans Forum members (Made Public 26 April 2015)
“In order to discuss the issues you raise, I intend to bring forward the date of our next Fans Forum meeting which was originally scheduled for the end of the season.
“I am sure Forum members past and present will agree that the Club has been open and transparent during all interactions, including meetings and correspondence, and this next meeting will be no different.
“In my opinion, the introduction of the Forum has been productive for all the parties involved and, as we move forward, the Forum will continue to be one of our preferred forms of fan communication and engagement.
“With five games now remaining of the season – including three at St. James’ Park, I would ask you, indeed all supporters, to get fully behind John Carver and the players as they look to finish the season as strongly as possible.
“When St. James’ Park is loud and supportive of the team on the pitch, it does make a huge difference.”
“We accept mistakes have been made and understand you raise these issues because you want the best for your football club.
“Please be assured we want the same – we want to give you a football club you can be proud of and a team you feel passionate to support.”