The edited ‘highlights’ from the latest NUFC Fans Forum are below – the club managing not to include any reference to the subject everybody is talking about.

Yes, everybody expected the minutes from the latest meeting of fans and club officials to be used to put last season’s finances out in the best possible PR light…only for amazingly, not a single mention of the expected £50m or so profits from last season.

The 2013/14 accounts have to be published by the end of this month according to reports, so we won’t need to wait too long to see what audacious spin Mike Ashley’s people put on the figures. A massive profit due to tens of millions of extra TV cash, selling our best player (Cabaye) and not buying a single player last season.

So what did the fans talk about when they met Lee Charnley and others last Monday?

Well we have picked out the ‘highlights’ such as they were, but these were easily the blandest set of NUFC Fans Forum minutes released so far.

Reading comments elsewhere from some of the fans forum members, they don’t claim that anything included wasn’t said, but they feel a lot has been left out – especially the arguments back and forward and the unhappiness on certain issues from the majority of forum members, the minutes painting a picture that airbrushes out much of the disagreement.

One big change is that nothing is attributed to individual board members Lee Charnley or John Irving, so we get no idea of what they actually contributed. Almost all answers are just simply attributed to ‘The Board’. An obvious step to try and avoid the likes of Lee Charnley being ridiculed again due to what he said, though the subjects/answers are so sanitised there is little to get your teeth into this time.

It is ludicrous really that the minutes don’t make any reference to last season’s financial figures, even a mention that they were discussed but they are going to be released separately.

By ignoring last season’s finances and the countless questions that flow from them, Ashley and his minions totally undermine the supporters who they have selected to be on the Fans Forum and who have accepted this poisoned chalice.

Questions/subjects in bold, followed by the club response in the minutes.

Why was Santon loaned out and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa sold in January but nobody brought in?

The board explained that January is a very challenging market for clubs. The overall aim is to improve the squad and the club will only move for a player if it is felt they can help to achieve that on a longer-term basis. The club continues to assess its squad with a view to the summer transfer window.

We know that Sports Direct do not pay for static advertising. Do they pay for pitch side advertising?

Sports Direct receives no more space on the LED perimeter boards than other club partners, with the relationship unchanged since previous discussions about the company.

Does Newcastle United pay all its employees at least the Living Wage?

The board said that it does not pay the living wage but it does abide by employment law as per legislation set by the government and pay the minimum wage.

Not trying in Cups?

The board contested the idea that the club goes out to lose any match. It was suggested that Newcastle United’s openness in relation to the Premier League being its priority was unlike other Premier League clubs, who operate in much the same way without communicating that view to supporters.

Happy just to survive in the Premier League?

The board stated there is a misconception that the board wants the team to finish tenth. The board’s aim is for the club to finish as high up the table as it possibly can, with tenth a minimum position for this season.

FA Cup team selection at Leicester?

The board assured Forum members that John Carver played his best possible team in the Leicester cup game and the board did not influence his team selection in any way.

nufc fans forum

Lowering the wage bill?

The board has not discussed reducing the wage bill and conversely it continually assesses its transfer spend and wage bill in order to set it at an appropriate level to ensure the club meets one of its strategic aims of improving the quality of its squad.

Can the club give an indication of the proceeds from home strips over a season compared to previous years (i.e. adidas kits)?

The club stated that domestic shirt sales generally across most Premier League clubs are lower compared to what they have been historically.

Has the ban on NCJ Media been lifted and are they now allowed free speech without the ban being re-imposed?

The board confirmed the ban has been lifted and that it is rebuilding its relationship with NCJ Media. The board stated the media group has absolute editorial control and that the club simply asks for balance in its coverage.

The club noted that a vocal minority of supporters on social media heavily criticise NCJ Media and its journalists when articles are positive about the club, which in the board’s view puts pressure on them to write critical pieces to compensate.

Singing section?

Trialled the reintroduction of a singing section area for an European game, however a number of individuals within that area breached certain ground regulations, including the use of smoke canisters, a high level of drunkenness and significant levels of foul and abusive language, so the club did not progress this further.

Will the club ensure the transfer activity it does in the summer ensures we have a squad that’s equipped for the full season? I am also concerned that the club seems to be prepared to let players go in January, but not prepared to replace them in that window.

The board’s aim is to complete its recruitment for the season ahead each summer on the basis it will likely do little or no business in the January window.

Beyond wages and Premier League football, what attraction is there for young players intending to win things to join the club? Do we sell ourselves as a stepping stone?

The board stated the club is sold as one that wants to compete as high in the Premier League as possible. The reality is that because of the age profile and ambition of the players the club will target, it is not unreasonable to think that Newcastle United may not be the last club they will play for.

Ambition?

The board stated there is absolutely no appetite just to exist as a Premier League club and reiterated it wanted to finish as high as it possibly can in every season, but that it had to be realistic and not over-promise and under-deliver.

Is there a reason why Fabricio Coloccini doesn’t play in FA Cup matches?

The board stated it may have been due to injuries and, in the past, a manager’s decision to rest him. This season, Fabricio Coloccini played in all of the club’s midweek Capital One Cup games.

Why did Fabricio Coloccini not attend warm weather training in Dubai?

The board stated that the player had been given permission to remain in Newcastle.

nufc fans forum

How does the club see the issues surrounding Rangers?

The board stated it is aware of the UEFA regulations regarding the situation. The club and its owner would not put Newcastle United in a position where it would lose a European place because of Rangers.

Any addition to a previous statement that Mike Ashley will not sell in Newcastle United until “the end of next season.”

The board stated that the date was specified in order to dismiss incorrect stories in the media and that Mike Ashley remains committed to Newcastle United.

Feeder clubs?

The board stated that it is exploring the possibility of strategic partnerships with a number of clubs. A number of Premier League clubs already have this type of arrangement/relationship. The purpose of this would be to send players to these clubs to aid their development with the ultimate beneficiary being Newcastle United.

Sale of land behind Gallowgate End that is essential for any future expansion of St. James’ Park?

The board explained that the land has not been owned by the club or appeared in its accounts since before Mike Ashley’s time at the club. It is under the umbrella of Mike Ashley’s ownership, separate to the club. A public consultation has been called for 12th March, which is to assess the potential development of the site.

Decision on permanent head coach?

The board stated that it will not consider the matter again until the end of the season.

The board went through a lengthy process in terms of speaking to a number of people about coming to the club as a potential head coach. The outcome of that process was that the board felt the best option was for John Carver to be appointed to the position until the end of the season, at which point it will be reviewed.

In the event the board should need to look for an external candidate in the summer for the position of Head Coach, the board would not have to start the process all over again due to the level of detail and work which went into the initial search.

The criteria of a potential new head coach?

The board would look for an individual who would fit into the club’s structure, someone who is tactically astute, and who has a track record of developing young players and the ability to improve players. The club has no concerns over whether a potential new head coach is British or from overseas and deems other criteria far more important.

Would the club revisit the Director of Football role?  (Suggesting that the chief scout, Graham Carr, was assuming the role.)

The board stated it is not planning to reintroduce the role. The responsibilities associated with that role are shared between several parties within the club and the club feels its track record in recruiting players is generally strong.



  • amacdee

    As I’ve already mentioned elsewhere the fans forum is what it is. A pathetic attempt tp pretend there is “dialogue” between fans and the regime. Whereas its just another example of Fatman and his cronies taking the plss out of loyal fans.

    If the financials had been aired there would have been a chance for those present to question the clubs ambition but, as always, the Fatman picks and chooses when, where and how to hoodwink the Toon Army while the fans bend over and take it once again. #AshleyOut

  • GToon

    Reading that (the replies from the “board”) does not give me one iota of hope for the future or the slightest inkling that next season might be better than this. Reading between the lines they havent got a clue and if it makes money they will do it from paying people nowt to selling players without adequate back up. What a club. Ashley out!

  • Sickandtiredstill

    If they won’t publish the full minutes then there is no point of a Fans Forum at all. Ashley has shown before with NUST and then in Glasgow with RFB that anyone daring to actually publish or mention the truth will be sanctioned and banned.

  • Greggy164

    Once Llambias gets his old job back he will sort it out for you.

  • Chemical Dave

    If I’m wrong about the following statement then I’ll be only to pleased to apologise but I’m unable to conclude any other than that the fans forum is nothing other than smoke and mirrors and those involved are no better than “the board” themselves. By entering into these meaningless meetings they’re giving these shysters the credibility they do not deserve. Stomach churning.

  • Wingpaddock

    The point in the article about a lot of what was said being left out from the minutes is disturbing. Normally a draft copy of minutes should be prepared and then distributed to all those involved to agree or disagree their content – ammendments made if necessary. What is the process for the FF minutes – there are some members who post on here who are FF members can they enlighten us as to exactly what happens.
    The apparent farce of these meetings for me was illustrated by the following extract.
    Why did Fabricio Coloccini not attend warm weather training in Dubai?
    The board stated that the player had been given permission to remain in Newcastle
    This was a simple WHY question -requiring a reason -but the answer just said he had been given permission to remain in Newcastle.
    Well presumably that was already known by the FF member who asked the question. The true aswer may have been that he could not travel because he was ill or whatever. Why would the reason behind his not travelling be such a secret.
    This to me just perpetuates the belief that the club is not transparent and is somewhat deceptive in it’s answers to matters there really should be no mystery about. This then makes fans disbelieve most things that come out of SJP.

  • LeazesEnder

    Does the board comprise entirely of Daleks, or is there an ounce of human emotion in any of them?…. 

    Bob Moncur….’The club noted that a vocal minority of supporters on social media heavily criticise NCJ Media and its journalists when articles are positive about the club, which in the board’s view puts pressure on them to write critical pieces to compensate’

    1.  You banned them
    2. What positive spin do you want in excess of a 95% approval rating conjured up by the head of the Maths department Lee Ryder. 
    3. Are you a fruitcake?

  • dont believe the hype

    Daleks ? Spot on Leazes

  • Chemical Dave

    Moncur, dear oh dear.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Chemical Dave Fully agree with you

  • LeazesEnder

    Chemical Dave The Fans Forum is a FIFA directive they have to do it…you can tell they don’t want to be there!

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Wingpaddock The whole thing is riddled with non answers, just spin.

  • LeazesEnder

    Chemical Dave I say that about his wig!

  • Sickandtiredstill

    LeazesEnder Chemical Dave Then no one should attend. No way can a ‘genuine’ supporter consistently put up with being fed this nonsense. Force the club into failing a FIFA directive at the very least.

  • newcastle7

    The Chronicle and Journal should have been banned for life as they printed lies about the club. Gave to much
    coverage to the militant march attended by three hundred people.They never mention the great work
    of the Newcastle foundation which helps the poor and disadvanted.If I was Mike it would have been a life ban.
    Met Bob Moncur many times and he is a true fan as well as club ambassador a great bloke.

  • Paul Patterson

    newcastle7  In that case you’re an idiot . .

  • Sickandtiredstill

    What lies, Simon? Feel free to let us all know.
    A lot iof people have been supporting and going to matches before you were even born. You would do well to remember that as well as the real cost 2 people paid while following the club.

  • Demented_Man

    newcastle7 Aye, a little sop to charity and that makes your Uncle Mike a great benefactor to humanity.

    For goodness sake, give your brain a chance.

  • LeazesEnder

    No questions about NUST?

  • Chemical Dave

    Simon the mackem.

  • MilitantGeordie

    I had to stop at the ‘ Mike Ashley remains commited to Newcastle United’. I manged to get past the politician style avoidance of answering each question although when he said…

    ‘The
    board’s aim is to complete its recruitment for the season ahead each
    summer on the basis it will likely do little or no business in the
    January window’ that really annoyed me. So what they are saying is the squad that kicks off the season has to be enough because we’re not bringing in reinforcements in January even if most of our players are injured.. we’ll just coast along and hope we can scrape through. Players going out in January is a different story.. that’s when players suddenly become more expensive in their eyes.. perfect time to sell or loan out even if the squad is a patched up broken mess.. we’ll just make do.  ARGGHHH!! The club doing business for PROFIT reasons not FOOTBALL reasons! Pretty sure this is supposed to be a competitive sports team providing entertainment for the customers not a money generator for the owner!

    Anyway it’s plain to see this is the modus operandi for the foreseeable future, propaganda and spin to cover up the big swindle going on behind the scenes. Well sadly it looks like i’ll be continuing my 5 year protest. It feels good knowing i’m not putting money into ‘ his ‘ pockets but you know what. I really miss the buzz of excitement and pride i felt when it was match day, proudly wearing my shiny new Toon top and mumbling toon chants all day totally obsessed with the club i’ve loved since childhood. That’s what gets me the most.. he’s robbed me of my sanctuary. Whenever i’ve been going through bad times i always had Newcastle United to turn too.. not anymore. Thanks Mike and i hope you choke on that money you covet so much. Prick.

  • MilitantGeordie

    LeazesEnder yep. The Board…….’We want the media to retain their right to openly report on the club as they see fit. But if they say nasty things about out little profit racket or say anything to damage the Sports Direct brand they’ll be banned with immediately effect’

  • MilitantGeordie

    Sickandtiredstill LeazesEnder Chemical Dave I think the fans go in there thinking’ RIGHT! this time i’ll really show them! they won’t wriggle out of my questions the b******d’s’. And then they get hit with the carefully managed scrpited lies and come out thinking ‘ RRRAGHH next time!’ That’s what keeps them going back. You’re right though they should stop attending but the anger means they can’t help themselves. I wouldn’t go personally because no matter how good your question is they will swerve it like David Cameron does.

  • Porciestreet

    LeazesEnder Chemical Dave 
    Yes, they have to do it but it doesn’t mean that whosoever attends is 100% fan or a bunch of stooges invited to fill the required seats, if you get my drift…!

  • LeazesEnder

    MilitantGeordie Football is definitely not a priority with this bunch of carpetbaggers!, did anyone sense any love of the game in that airbrushed account because I certainly didn’t?

  • Burrells

    You know what was the cherry on the cake for me??
    //www.themag.co.uk/2015/03/special-edition-black-and-white-shirt-great-cause/
    Another club in another sport doing what we should be doing better than we are!
    This is the epitome of everything wrong with NUFC under Ashley.
    We will never escape the fact that football is a money making operation- but at least other clubs make money in exhange for goods; such as ambition or drive. I don’t think I’d mind the Ashley Association being here if we had that. We’re all just being exploited and there are 52000 people every fortnight without the balls to do what needs to be done.

    I must object to “when aah were a laad” comments too. Football changed with the genesis of the Premier League and has never been the same since. What was and what is now are two completely different beasts and all that remains are some black and white stripes on a shirt. Fans need to deal with that too before we can move on