The Mag has become embroiled in a political scandal in the corridors of power at Newcastle City Council.

An article appeared on our website (View From Newcastle Civic Centre) by local Labour councillor, Rob Higgins, last week.

This obviously stirred up a bit of a hornets nest as that article was closely followed by another (Newcastle United and The City Council) by Rob.

The Evening Chronicle have now picked up on the story and we now have our very own…Toongate? The whips are out though and order restored, though on a serious note it is a shocking situation when the football club and city council are so far apart.

‘Yellow card’ for Scotswood councillor Rob Higgins

by Adrian Pearson, Evening Chronicle Sep 11 2012

IF you think politics is a dirty game, just imagine what happens when you mix it with football.

Well, one city councillor has found out after he penned a piece setting out his love for Newcastle United – and then added why council leaders just don’t get it.

Scotswood councillor Rob Higgins gets a yellow card from Labour Party whips for attacking party leaders in Newcastle, saying Nick Forbes and his team do “not share my own passion for football and my devotion to the local team”.

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His attack on Newcastle Council included a criticism of council leaders for not handing Alan Pardew some sort of city honour after his success last season.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he brought up the offside rule as well.

Writing for the online blog of The Mag, Mr Higgins had some harsh words for the six-strong council cabinet which makes city decisions. “Most of whom,” the councillor wrote of the cabinet which includes four women, “would probably struggle to understand offside”.

Speaking of his Labour leader, Mr Higgins adds: “We all know about the fiasco over the renaming of the ground which was so contentious that it even evoked an indignant response from the leader, not renowned for his passion for the game. However, his remark about upsetting the fans ‘standing on the terraces’ did display a somewhat outdated knowledge of the football world.”

Labour whip Michael Burke said: “As a football referee myself who spends many a Sunday morning debating the offside rule, I think it is fair to say the offside rule brings about as much debate as Rob’s blog. I’m happy Rob has retracted his comments, but I think a yellow card may be justified from the Whip’s Office.”

Mr Higgins told the Chronicle: “I did make some light-hearted comments which were perhaps a little unwise and I have now retracted these.”

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