The NUFC Fans Forum has provoked plenty of debate over the past couple of years.
The club claiming it is a valuable way of interacting with Newcastle supporters which helps to dictate the direction of the club, whilst many fans accuse it of being a talking shop and simply a PR/whitewashing exercise.
With the NUFC Fans Forum members being handpicked by the club rather than voted on by fellow supporters, it hardly helps.
Whilst the fact that the club banned the democratically elected NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) member because they published their own overview of an early NUFC Fans Forum, hardly helps either. The club publishing their minutes later than they had said they would, meaning that the NUST account went public first.
The club took this chance to ban the NUST representative rather than allow a vote on the matter by the Fans Forum members, once again clearly showing that this is no equal partnership of club and supporters.
Other decisions have also been taken unilaterally by the football club, including cutting the number of meetings from four to three per year. Plus after promising to arrange an emergency meeting towards the end of last season, with relegation threatening, Lee Charnley then ignored contact requests from Forum members and no meeting in the relegation run-in took place.
Sandwiched in the middle are of course the actual volunteers who make up the NUFC Fans Forum.
On the one hand facing the unenviable task of trying to interact productively with Newcastle United, whilst at the same time facing accusations of being stooges by some other Newcastle fans. A thankless job if ever there was one.
There has only been one NUFC Fans Forum meeting in over seven months but the next one is due to take place later today (Monday 22 February).
However, one of the supporter representatives on the NUFC Fans Forum, Black and White members representative Taylor Payne, has this Monday lunchtime revealed via Twitter (one half of the Taylor and Besty Twitter partnership)that there hasn’t even been an agenda sent out by the club as at noon today.
“Fans Forum tonight. No agenda sent out by the club yet, no idea who will be attending, no correspondence from fans via the club site.”
Also, the fan members haven’t been informed of who will be attending, nor had any messages passed on by the football club from other supporters – the club has a dedicated page on their website where any Newcastle fan can leave a message (these are collated by the club as a middle man) for their relevant Fans Forum representative to pass on any concerns or queries, or suggest matters that could/should be raised when the forum members meet club officials.
When supporters are prepared to volunteer, the least that the club can do is give them the due respect and at least try and make it look like they are remotely interested in it looking like a credible attempt at taking notice of Newcastle fans.
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Fans Forum tonight. No agenda sent out by the club yet, no idea who will be attending, no correspondence from fans via the club site #nufc
— Taylor and Besty (@TaylorandBesty) February 22, 2016