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The Official Newcastle United Response To The Free Sports Direct Advertising Question

8 years ago
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Yesterday was another interesting day in the life of Newcastle United.

A decent performance on the pitch against Leeds saw United through to the dizzy heights of the League Cup last 16, while off the pitch chaos yet again ruled.

The club held a ‘fans forum’ on Monday night, with a number of supporters meeting club officials including Lee Charnley and John Irving.

Fair play to the club for this initiative of fans being able to ask questions but the answers that came back have left fans incredulous at some of what the NUFC Directors said.

The minutes of the Fans Forum were supposed to go up on the official club website on Tuesday but nothing appeared.

So the story broke when the NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) representative who attended the meeting, had his report of the meeting published on the NUST website.

Everything flowed from there and The Mag carried a couple of articles which can be seen HERE and HERE.

Yesterday’s online headlines were filled with what the club directors had said and only late on Wednesday did the club present their own minutes.

I was keen to see what the club version of events would be and to be honest I thought in a number of cases the official Newcastle United version made the club look even worse!

One of the big headlines yesterday was what the club directors had to say about the overwhelming amount of Sports Direct advertising inside St.James’ Park, this is how it appeared in the official NUFC minutes.

Question from Peter Fanning of NUST

Do Sports Direct pay the going rate for advertising, their adverts all over the stadium?

The answer from the Newcastle Directors;

The club explained that the advertising boards in question were installed with Sports Direct branding as a showcase for unused space. Sports Direct don’t pay but it would be sold if other advertisers wanted the space.

I’m looking at the words but still can’t take them in.

If the Newcastle Directors had said ‘Tough, Mike Ashley wants as much free advertising as possible to promote his shops and he isn’t paying for it because it is his club’, I wouldn’t have loved the answer but it is the reality.

However, for the Newcastle Directors to come out with this embarrassing explanation I find just humiliating on their behalf. So for example, when Newcastle play Liverpool at home next month in front of a worldwide audience of millions, the NUFC Directors are telling us that nobody would want to advertise on the prime spot LED display adverts where Ashley currently promotes Sports Direct much of the time, most of it currently aimed at the French market he is clearly trying to get.

That is of course before we get to the numerous other SD advertising hoardings around the stadium that once upon a time were filled by a mixture of local, national and international companies.

So once upon a time these advertising boards were filled by paying companies and now that these adverting slots are seen by X times more people they can’t sell them?!!!

The answers given at the Fans Forum have peeled back the layers for everybody to see just what a shambles we have inside St.James’ Park.

No proper board, no skilled and motivated management team and a total lack of ambition spelt out by the club’s directors themselves.

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