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Newcastle fans welcome Labour commitment to fan involvement inside clubs

6 years ago

The total inability to influence what happens at their football club, has been the overriding feeling amongst Newcastle fans for pretty much all the time I have supported the club, especially since Mike Ashley came along.

When somebody like Ashley owns the club lock, stock and barrel – what can you do?

The major weakness in English football, not just at St.James’ Park, has been the almost total absence of any constraints by the football authorities and/or government on how clubs are run.

Which then effectively allows people such as Mike Ashley and the owners of many other clubs to have free rein on riding roughshod over the overwhelming wishes of the fanbase.

At last one of the major political parties has made a major commitment in their manifesto to change things.

This is how the NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) welcomed the Labour party’s initiative;

Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) welcomes the announcement of the Labour Party’s plans for a shake-up of football governance, which fully supports the Trust’s objectives of ensuring supporters have a greater role in the ownership and running of their clubs.

After several unsuccessful attempts over the years to engage with the owner of Newcastle United and his representatives, NUST long ago reached the view that the ‘football business’ was reluctant to involve fans and indeed had no intention of introducing any form of self-regulation. The German football model has long been held up as an example of governance which should be followed in this country.

If you were at the ‘Political Football’ event organised by the Trust on 18th September you’ll have heard that the Trust has been developing a political strategy aimed at challenging the dysfunctional way that football is governed in this country and calling upon the Government to do something about giving the fans a fairer deal.

We might still be a long way from putting things right but the Labour Party has now promised a fan ownership revolution if it wins next year’s general election, vowing to introduce new laws that would guarantee football supporters representation at Board level.

Labour claims the proposals would allow fans to hold clubs to account on issues such as ticket prices, shirt sponsorship, ground naming rights and changing the colour of the strip or the name of the team.

Clive Efford, Shadow Minister for Sport;

“Our view is that the time has come for fans to be represented at this level, it is something we will act on and definitely implement.”

NUST have been working with national supporter organisations, Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters Federation, and have received positive support from our local MPs.

Chi Onwurah MP (Honorary NUST board member) for Newcastle Central (which includes St. James’ Park) and Ian Lavery who is MP for Wansbeck, have met with Trust Board members. While Ian Mearns MP for Gateshead and Mary Glindon MP for North Tyneside, spoke at our public meeting in September to pledge their support to the Trust’s initiatives on football governance.

With their help we have invited Clive Efford to a meeting in the North East on 30th October to discuss the question of football governance and what a Labour government would do to improve the lot of football fans everywhere.

Jon Cruddas, the head of Labour’s Policy Review;

“The Premier League is a huge success. But football is more than a business,”

“Football clubs are part of people’s identity and sense of belonging. Our plan is to give fans a stake in their clubs. Labour believes in sharing power and responsibility with people and giving football fans a voice is part of our plan to change our country by devolving power to our cities, towns and communities. We believe in a society that gives power to people.”

These sentiments were reflected in NUST’s successful application this week to have St. James’ Park designated as an Asset of Community Value. Fans of Newcastle United are the constant link between the club and the community. Owners, directors, managers and players will come and go, we will continue to support Newcastle United and that entitles us to a say in how our club is run.

Further political pressure will be placed by NUST on the other parties to introduce similar proposals in their manifestos. This is only the start of a campaign to finally introduce must needed change in football governance.

To find out more information and/or to join NUST go HERE


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