The latest NUFC Fans Forum minutes have surely seen the last nail knocked into that particular coffin.

For anything like this to work, a coming together of club and well meaning fans, there has to be respect on both sides.

What has happened over the last eighteen months of the NUFC Fans Forum is no surprise to any rational person, Mike Ashley is only interested in things that he can control and which allow his PR people under the guidance of Keith Bishop to manipulate.

(To feature like Jane, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views are the author’s own etc etc)

The Chronicle were banned for daring to report on protests against Mike Ashley, with the Daily Record getting the same treatment as the Newcastle owner exerted his influence north of the border.

Numerous other journalists and newspapers have received bans via Ashley’s minions at St. James’ Park, from temporary suspensions of a week or two right up to permanent as in the case of the Telegraph.

It is a UEFA requirement that clubs are seen to interact with the fans, treating them as essential partners in the operation of football clubs.

Newcastle United set up the NUFC Fans Forum to tick this box and made a big deal out of the fact that they had worked with the FSF (Football Supporters Federation) in how the forum should be set up and how it would operate.

Most supporters were unsurprisingly sceptical and waited with interest to see what would happen if this really was an outbreak of Glasnost from the Ashley regime.

If supporters wanted to be part of the NUFC Fans Forum then they had to apply to the club, who then chose who they wanted from those that applied. No voting by supporters, the club appoint them. Already you could see a major flaw, Newcastle United having the power to pick and choose who they want…

Only three places on the Forum were permanent ones with the club not choosing who attended.

The Newcastle United Disabled Supporters Association (NUDSA), a democratically organised body, quite rightly had one of those places.

A group of supporters who regularly meet under the title ‘NUFC Fans United’ were allowed to put somebody forward, though it wasn’t clear how that person was chosen as they don’t appear to have any membership or democratic process.

The third permanent place given to NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust), a properly constituted organisation with mass membership and elected board members.

At that very first meeting back in 2013 of the NUFC Fans Forum we were given a great insight into what had happened blow by blow at the first meeting of fans and club officials. The NUST representative, Peter Fanning, who attended as the Trust’s appointed person, gave his own report on how the meeting had gone.

This report ended up appearing before Newcastle United published the official minutes, due to the club putting them up later than they’d originally stated on the official club website. The official minutes didn’t contradict anything major that appeared in the NUST report on proceedings.

Despite this, some weeks later, coincidentally immediately after NUST published a message of support for the banned Evening Chronicle, Mike Ashley ordered NUST to be kicked off the NUFC Fans Forum.

The excuse used was that NUST had published their report before the official minutes, which they claimed broke an agreement for the minutes to appear first, ignoring the fact that if the official minutes had been published on time then this wouldn’t have happened.

The general feeling was that this was simply an excuse to get rid of the Trust and to punish them for backing the banned Chronicle and to prevent anybody else in the future putting out a credible version of what happened at future NUFC Fans Forum meeting, which could inform the fanbase, rather than simply the sanitised club account.

The FSF (Football Supporters Federation) said the club’s move to ban NUST was unfounded and way over the top and they should be reinstated. A number of the individuals on the Fans Forum said the same thing and that it made a mockery of the forum before it had even got going properly.

nufc fans forumThe club ignored the lot of them and simply said that NUST were banned and it was their decision…a funny kind of a partnership when one side dictates what happens and the other side is powerless. It has been downhill from that very first meeting, some NUFC Fans Forum members resigning in disgust at the farce it had turned out to be, whilst others remained – no doubt hoping things would improve, the same with new members who the club appointed to fill the gaps.

The club have also reduced the number of meetings from four per season to three, despite the protests of some Forum members.

So yesterday we were treated to the latest NUFC Fans Forum official minutes, the highlights of which you can read HERE.

These minutes summing up sadly just what a waste of time the NUFC Fans Forum has been from day one, supporters used as stooges yet again by the club.

Before being kicked off the Rangers Board himself, Derek Llambias disbanded the official Rangers Fans Board because they also had dared to tell fans what had really gone on at the meetings, embarrassing Ashley’s men Barry Leach and Llambias because fans learnt how they’d acted and what they’d said.

It is clear at Newcastle United that there is no intention of the club showing any respect whatsoever to the supporters who are giving up their time and effort for no doubt the best of reasons, the club don’t see them as equal partners, simply as more mugs who can be used by the Mike Ashley empire.

Our club is a laughing stock under Mike Ashley and with predicted profits expected to be posted of around £50m or more for the 2013/14 season in the coming days, surely supporters remaining on this valueless platform is no longer an option.

I would urge the current members of the NUFC Fans Forum to resign en masse and leave with some dignity intact, simply sitting there and continuing to prop up Ashley’s rotten regime at St. James’ Park must surely be seen as something they can no longer tolerate.



  • Chemical Dave

    Good read, those that attend as “fans” are nothing of the sort….gutless patsies.

  • mactoon

    Good idea, disband the fans only representation through which questions can be asked. it would be better as fans to put questions through the fan representatives, there are 15 representatives including one for each stand so put your questions to them and open the pandoras box. To disband the fans reps is just walking away and accepting what is happening. Ashley would love that

  • LeazesEnder

    I double-dare them to to resign en-masse!

    One member went as far as congratulation the club on its honesty and openness…… LOL, and they’re thinking about inviting Liverpool Fan Lee Ryder along…. which means that Liverpool will have as much representation on our fans forum than Tyneside…. I cant wait

  • Chemical Dave

    There was representation with nust remember? Unfortunately by not showing solidarity with those banished by the club its easy to conclude they are there for little more than ticking FIFA’s boxes.

  • wor monga

    You walked away last summer, Jane, and found it really easy
    to stay away…so what gives you the right to tell anybody who wants to stay
    involved what to do?…

    Throughout It’s history there’s never been any democracy running
    the club, and the so called supporters representatives were always going to be
    there now simply because someone somewhere has decided it seemed like a good
    idea.

    But It’s a 100% Ashley owned business these days, and that
    means he’ll make all the decisions, and you either have to accept that’s the
    way it is…or do what you have done, and stay away…

    the only trouble with doing that though seems to be that for
    every one who’s walked…there’s another who’s prepared to take that seat, so how can you be
    sure you can get yours back when these good times, you talk of, roll back

  • LeazesEnder

    wor monga So lets just congratulate the Fans Forum on getting something done about the flood in the Gallowgate?

    They found the source….its was tears!

  • Roppa

    Well said Jane, every true supporter with whom I have discussed this issue
    totally agree, it is a farce. If any of the FF members had any self-respect
    they would resign. If they truly wanted to represent the fans they would
    realise by now that their mission is hopeless – the Club is merely fulfilling
    (in the most basic form possible) their EUFA obligations.
    However, what the FF does expose is:
    1.The utter contempt that the regime has for the supporters.
    2.The Club has no intention to effectively communicate
    with the fans. The answers (and the questions) are sterile,    and offer no hope,
    respect, or ambition for its fan base
    3.The Club is being run by an absolute dictator, and his
    minions are spineless employees whose mission is only to follow the party line –
    they do not support NUFC and they couldn’t care less what becomes of it – their
    goal is to please their paymaster.
    4.The Club has no ambition to win anything, and hence it
    will appoint John Carver as its Head Coach – it will be more of the same for years to come

    5.The Club will do exactly as it pleases, and the wishes
    of the fans is of no consequence to them – refer to their pathetic reply
    regarding the reinstatement of the singing section
    The list is endless, and the Club’s contempt for its fan base can be seen in
    every reply they have given at the FF. Ashley expects, no he demands, that the
    fan base is equally as submissive as his employees. Due to his billions of £s he
    always gets what he wants and as long as he has 52,000 attendees (they don’t
    need to be fans) at the home matches, he will be one ‘happy owner’. Ashley,
    Charnley, Carver et al are all here for the long term and whilst he has a full
    stadium every week, his every despicable action is being endorsed by the fans
    of the Club he is destroying.

  • A lex

    mactoon Which, in turn, would make Ashley in default of a UEFA instruction to develop and maintain links with supporters. So by resigning and stating that the relationship just doesn’t work in its current dictatorial guide puts him on the back foot with the football governing bodies. You just sound like another fan who is in the ‘appease and do nothing’ camp.

  • mactoon

    A lex mactoon  Appease and do nothing camp??? I had my season ticket since the late 70s and threw it in 2 seasons ago as I refuse to give this leech another penny. Dont judge without relevant information mate! To walk away from the fans firum removes ANY option to question this disgraceful regime who are not fit to run a football club and wave goodbye to the chance to show the football world what is going on.

  • LosHolmes

    Mike_Ashley_Out more than I thought it would.

  • bill black

    To get anything done the local M.Ps.MUST get involved with the way Ashley runs the club but as far as I can see only the Wirral M.P is involve in seeing him unfit to run a football club, so I suggest you remember that in the General Election

  • Chemical Dave

    There’ll be no good times as long as fat leech owns the club, the best the likes of you can hope for is it gives you the opportunity to sneer at “so called fans” which I’ve noticed you take with delight…you’re loving this aren’t you ? Meanwhile it costs less for two people to go to a game now than it did for one two decades ago. There’ll be plenty looking to go back once these parasites have gone, hopefully” so called fans” like you will be priced out again.

  • Chemical Dave

    Sorry Mac but its difficult to place any faith in these meetings as if the club aren’t completely satisfied withwhat message is delivered, they’ll simply ban those involved (press/nust) so its obvious that those still involved are trusted to say what they want….

  • mentalman

    I’ve seen countless articles and comments about Ashley being unfit to “run” a football club. My question is does Ashley “run” the football club officially or just own it. Is Charnley not the guy who is running the club which would lead to the question of Ashley being fit to own a football club.
    Unfortunately I think any premier league or fa investigation would say he is.

  • A lex

    bill black Agree, but I have exchanged correspondence a few times with Chi Onuwura, MP for the NUFC consituency (Newcastle Central) about Ashley. Trust me, her and other local interested politicians and councillors, are tearing their hair out at Ashley simply ignoring them and refusing to meet them. 
    But, this Parliamentary Committee appearance is different, so he’ll be forced to meet at some point. Just hope that the NUFC goings on can be brought up alongside the main reason of the USC and SD business in Scotland.

    If nothing else, it will garner negative press for him. Ashley won;t get anything positive out of this, for sure.

  • mactoon

    Chemical Dave  Agreed dave but I have had questions asked through these representatives and any voice has to be better than no voice at all and letting him get away with it unchallenged. The thing that riles me is that Rangers fought back and a high profile person squashed Ashleys board members flat. Where are our high profile people who could challenge Ashley?

  • A lex

    mactoon A lex Happy to hold my hands up whenever I get something wrong – and, yes, I probably misjudged your overall sentiment. Apologies for that.
    Of course, I can see reasons for keeping a communicative channel open. However, when this is abused by one party, it just doesn’t work. Therefore, if that channel is closed down, then it will be taken up by the football authorities and the media, and they’ll ensure there is more openness in a reconstition of a future FF. Again, a bit of pain and period of no communication now (which wouldn’t be difficult!) will bring forced improvements later.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    mentalman Mike Ashley is on the Board. Ashley owns the Club. The Club is part of MASH Holdings and is described as being part of the ‘group’. MASH is Ashley 100%.

    Just how do you manage to think Charnley runs anything? 

    Charnley does as he is told and runs the club how the owner directs. Same goes for Carr and Carver.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    wor monga Have you ever fought for anything in your life? I suspect not.

    How come so many so called ‘supporters’ are more than happy to do absolutely nothing and slag off anyone who suggests at least trying?

  • Toonbadger

    Fans Forum? Waste of space and time

  • toonloyal

    a bit off piste, but how many season ticket holders do we have at the moment?  (renewal 25th March)

  • Adam_B

    This is a hard one, as the divergent opinions clearly express.

    Are the FF fan representatives complicit in enabling the MA regime to tick its UEFA/FA/EPL  boxes whilst simultaneously running NUFC as nothing more than a personal, commercial fiefdom for the owner’s self aggrandisement? Or, are they able in any way, shape or form to put some pressure on this disgusting regime and hold them to account whilst informing those outside NUFC’s administrators about some of the things going on there?

    Personally, I believe that the FF without the NUST represented is pointless and ought (if it actually isn’t) to be in contravention of its own raison d’etre. In industrial disputes the management meet with the official representatives of its staff, not with unofficial representatives and there is case law I think which even precludes the latter. If, as suggested by some other commentators below, the current FF representatives announced that they will stand down en masse if the NUST is not restored to the FF, then maybe the club would be obliged to agree to this, rather than be simply allowed to call the whole initiative off. I am no lawyer, and would welcome an official comment from the NUST regarding what it thinks about this point.

    Clearly, whatever the FF’s remit is however, we (should) all know by now that the owner (and by implication his representatives) holds both the club and the fans in contempt, using it solely as a personal money-making vehicle and screw the football, screw the fans, screw the Newcastle culture, in fact screw anything that is a distraction from using NUFC for anything at all more than making MA richer (and maybe pissing off those who dared to object to his presence and his outrageous, opportunistic and unlawful (remember Keegan and lie-gate) behaviour.

    So even if NUST got back to the FF, would anything really change? Almost certainly not. The fans can still do their bit to highlight to the world what is going on in NUFC and so put pressure on the regime, I have mentioned my suggestions to this end before. The FF will not be the answer to our prayers unfortunately.

  • newcastle7

    The fans forum is a well structured meeting with a good balance of supporters who have put forward many
    good questions and points. The way the club has used the 250,000 pounds away money is excellent compared to other clubs. The fans I know on the forum have applied to go on so why would they walk away.
    It’s a good idea and works well. Much of the minutes are a direct response to questions asked by supporters.
    The fans forum members should be proud of themselves not ashamed. Well done.

  • Chemical Dave

    Ask them why they can’t extend the east stand next time they meet up top 20 fan.

  • No Brainer

    Adam_B With only 1000 members many of whom are no longer match attenders it would mean that they would not be representing the fans they are meant to.

    If the amateurish way the group was banned is any example of their ability to lead then we are better off waiting until someone with a brain to lead any change or challenge to the current club structure/ownership.

    remember it went a bit like this 
    Anyone publishing minutes before the club will be removed from the forum
    Stuff them we are publishing the minutes the club has sent us and other forum members.
    Eh? Huh! what you mean we are off the forum?

  • Jarra MIck

    That’s the point monga being on the fans forum those people are not involved can’t you see that! They are stooges for this hateful regime.

  • No Brainer

    bill black But politicians have been calling for football clubs to be ran in the way he runs nufc for such a long time with financial prudence the by word in order to protect the local tradesmen contractors who often get shafted most by busted clubs.

  • No Brainer

    wor monga What these people seem to fail to garner is that in order to get the good times (second in the league and a cup final (lets remember it was terrible ref decisions which got us there)) back it would take £500m plus the purchase price. Its not going to happen in the way they wish.

    Getting there has to be slow and steady

  • Roppa

    Adam_B  A well structured point of view, I think the degree of contempt is equally shared between Ashley & the fans & vice versa. It would be great to get him back on board, but I think its gone too far now – from both sides. However, a good Manager / Coach appointment would be a great start towards him redeeming himself!

    However, whilst the stadium is full every week, and the fans that do go, continue to express no dissatisfaction with his running of the Club, he will (wrongly) believe that the only real dissenters are from the keyboard fans!

    PS apologies, for some reason, my ‘like’ has shown as an unlike

  • No Brainer

    Sickandtiredstill wor monga But nobody is actually doing anything are they

  • Sickandtiredstill

    newcastle7  Questions and answers like this one, Simon?

    2015 – “We know that Sports Direct do not pay for static advertising. Do they pay for pitch side advertising?”

    The board outlined how LED perimeter advertising space is allocated, with time slots shared between the Premier League and the club’s partners (sponsors, kit manufacturers, beer suppliers, retail etc.). 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.

    A direct response? You live in cuckoo land, lad.

  • LeazesEnder

    Sickandtiredstill newcastle7 There’s no relationship at all between the question and the answer…. it was simple enough….you would almost think they didn’t want to give a reply!

  • Sickandtiredstill

    No Brainer Sickandtiredstill wor monga What do you care? You’re another one who hasn’t fought for anything more than a seat on the bus.

  • mactoon

    Chemical Dave  Because the buildings behind the East stand are grade 2 listed buildings and the law won’t allow the East stand to be built any higher as it would interfere wit TV/radio signals. Next time ask them yourself through the fans reps. That’s what they are for

  • DavidDrape

    wor monga Jane has every right to say her piece also many other older guys who have walked but have followed the toon for 50years also have an equal say just because some people think they are super fans by still going gives them no extra rights

  • amacdee

    Adam_B

    “Are
    the FF fan representatives complicit in enabling the MA regime to tick
    its UEFA/FA/EPL  boxes whilst simultaneously running NUFC as nothing
    more than a personal, commercial fiefdom for the owner’s self
    aggrandisement?”
    Yes ! All fans should boycott the forum then FIFA might just investigate NUFC further and uncover the entire can of worms !

  • DavidDrape

    Roppa agree and if fans went to germany and found out the initiatives and projects they have in place between club and fans it would surely amaze people. the germans are light years ahead of us. i am mega disappointed our club didn’t want to lead the way in many things by being forward thinking on behalf of the fans such as standing and other fan issues re tickets but no MA and his cronies couldn’t really give 2 hoots

  • DavidDrape

    newcastle7 simon it was 200k per annum but you may be happy with what the board has down with the money. i am not happy about certain things: everyone firstly no doubt eve will agree as far as NUDSA is concerned they should be catered for first for many reasons such as logistics, ticket availability etc  however, on the first season the club kept the money in the bank for as long as possible & even had the cheek to spend some on sjp away section upgrade i heard – jees that money was meant for us toon fans going away from home. i also question exactly how much involvement fans actually had in the allocation of these discounted tickets as far as i could see it was the club making all the decisions. we all have different views to what we think is fair but  those small band of fans possibly 300 who go to every away game (like you) should have been catered for first but were not (2 free away tickets) as they were grouped tighter with everyone else and got the same discount. also the reciprocal ticket prices was a way of nufc keeping the money and not having to spend it when the money was there to be spent on us away fans. also it should have all been discussed at length and a plan put in place

  • DavidDrape

    newcastle7 and published but that is asking too much as they are a shoestring club

  • Stonesy

    From the “highlights” I read in the press, it looked like an embarrassing exercise in brown-nosing to me. Well done, if that’s your kind of thing.

  • Chemical Dave

    Its okay Mac, I already knew, simon Carr didn’t though despite him claiming to be in the top twenty fans who ever lived. Hence his name change to Newcastle 7.

  • Roppa

    DavidDrape Roppa yes, it’s tragic how many opportunities have been lost. Ashley could have had us leading the way in so many different aspects of the game. Had he reinvested the profits of NUFC into the coaching staff, players, academy and furthermore, embraced the passion / ideas of the fans, we could have been one of the leading lights of the EPL. Consequently, he & Spxxts Dixxxt could have been reaping the benefits of the positive world-wide exposure.

    Instead, he has chosen his tried & tested path of conflict /  disregard for anything that is disagreeable to him. He is a control freak / dictator who lives in a cocoon of his own self grandeur. He takes as much as possible, but gives nothing back. 

    He could be a real hero on Tyneside, he has only to:
    1) Reinvest the profits to get a top coach & coaching team – across all levels

    2) Reinvest the profits to buy good quality players to greatly strengthen the team & squad
    3) set the coach & his staff a target to be a top 8 team – and to strongly challenge for a top 6 spot.
    4) Set the coach a target to win a domestic trophy
    5) Invest in a world class Sports Scientist to ensure we are bottom of the injuries league – we have been top since the days of Souness!

    C’mon Mike let’s forgive, forget, & take the many opportunities that present themselves to drive NUFC forward. The above 5 points could be the start of a great journey!

  • dont believe the hype

    That bamboozled me mind, the complete polar opposite to a direct response !

  • Chemical Dave

    Hiya simon, ask if f its worth paying someone in the communications department to knee posting positive Ashley spin, particularly if they keep getting exposed ?

  • newcastle7

    Chemical Dave  I will continue to post what are my views .Personally I think most people on this site are manic depressives with serious issues .You are all full of doom and gloom in short a bunch of moaning minnies who like a good grumble.

  • Chemical Dave

    newcastle7 Chemical Dave
    what are your views on the east stand extension you recommended as your previous log in, fraud fan ?

  • newcastle7

    Chemical Dave newcastle7  Ring the club and ask them if I am a fraud fan been to more games than anyone on this site.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    newcastle7 Chemical Dave Simon, I have a feeling you would have seen a good side to Hitler.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    dont believe the hype The simple fact is they won’t ever answer, because it gives the game away as to the intentions of Ashley’s ownership.
    Sports Direct didn’t buy the Club, Ashley did. SD didn’t and hasn’t made any ‘loans’ to the Club, Ashley did.
    Ashley in fact doesn’t even ‘own’ SD any longer, he is the majority shareholder (just) of a public listed company, somewhat answerable to other shareholders.
    Why therefore, does the Club refuse to explain why SD enjoys the benefits they do? Why will the Club not answer how the retail deal works and what revenue we actually receive from it as opposed to before SD were given it, (apparently for free). Same for all the advertising.
    Confusing some fans by talking of interests payments etc has absolutely nothing to with things. SD has given NUFC nothing, but in return receives lots. 
    As for all the other football related stuff, does anyone really believe any of it? Ashley, Charnley, Carr and JC know how to run a football club/team and make it as successful and competitive on the pitch as it is in the finance department? Yeah right. 
    8 seasons of this and the only thing improved is the balance sheet.

  • Chemical Dave

    I just rang, they say you’re a lying fraud, sorry.

  • dont believe the hype

    Sick and tired,
    I can’t stand it anymore, I called that he was a wrong un from when he sold Milner, the whole one of the lads thing was just a calculated act to get people onside, the worrying thing is though is that the only people who care seem to be the ones who post on blogs and have boycotted, I was talking to a lad at work who takes his son, when I asked him about the cups aren’t priority statement, he didn’t even know about it, too many people only read the last five pages of their favourute red top.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Hehehehe!

  • Sickandtiredstill

    Agreed, mate. Plenty seem willing to something but nothing gets organised. For every person hacked off their seems to be posters more than happy with Ashley. I seriously fail to understand anyone saying they are a supporter when they can just sit and watch the team and club shrivel up in this way.

  • dav_art

    newcastle7  These people give their time and they ask pertinent questions.  They aren’t responsible for the answers.  I think to say they should resign is a little silly. 

    So basically, the message loud and clear from this site is that everyone at NUFC should resign if they have any self respect.  If they don’t they are pond life and deserving of the nasty vitriol that comes their way from the once respect The Mag.  Not that they actually might have a mind of their own and have thought about the pros and cons and decided for themselves.

    Tiresome and disrespectful of the members of the forum.

  • newcastle7

    Sickandtiredstill newcastle7  While Mike Ashley has not directly paid for advertising he secured a great deal with Wonga and a great kit deal.
    His interest free loan has already saved us over one hundred million pounds
    so that more than compensates for the free advertising. Well done Mike.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    newcastle7 Sickandtiredstill Compensates who? 
    SD haven’t given the club anything, Simon, why should they be given free advertising and the run of our retail operation?

    I’m sure the fact that Puma replaced Umbro as Rangers kit suppliers (thanks to Ashley) is also a coincidence?

    As for Wonga – GFY.

  • StevePassmoor

    Slow and steady, yes, but how steady and how slow?
    Are we really any further forward than a couple of places in the league after 8 years?

  • mactoon

    No because when ashley came he said he had a 5 year plan to have us competing with the best teams in Europe and spend 20 million a season on players. Where are we now….