There has been much chat this week about the contents of the Newcastle United fans forum meeting. What was said/what wasn’t said.
The decision to continue to ban Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) without a challenge from the forum members and to no longer invite a representative from the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) has allowed the club a clear run to enable them to get their message out to supporters in the format they choose.
No wonder the forum has little or no credibility amongst fans.
What I find interesting is that we are now just presented with the club’s account of what has been said. Having attended a career’s worth of meetings at local and national level in relation to trade union/management issues, I have rarely been to a lengthy meeting whereby an original set of minutes are wholly accurate for any number of reasons. Often the contents are challenged and revised. Many times I’ve reported back following a meeting and given my own version of what was said, the approach of those attending, and other aspects which you can never get from a cold set of minutes.
I don’t accept that the minutes produced at the forum are a totally accurate summary agreed by all parties. Unfortunately, and without being disrespectful about those attending who are no doubt trying their best, this is what happens when you have a fairly random group of unaccountable individuals attending the meeting.
We have to go on the club’s version and that version alone. We’ve no idea of the context, or whether they are accurate or not.
Those in attendance don’t seem to be able, willing, or feel a need, to present comment or produce an alternative view.
Maybe this is what the club intended by banning NUST and keeping the FSF out. I can’t help but feel those attending the forum are being ‘played’ whilst the club complete their tick box exercise…fan engagement – yes, done that!