Mike Ashley has cancelled a charity end of season awards night organised by the Newcastle United Foundation because it was deemed inappropriate due to the relegation fight the club have managed to involve themselves in.
The charity bash would have included awards being presented to players and of course members of the squad and coaching staff would have been expected to attend.
The Foundation is ran separate to the club and is the charitable arm of NUFC, with it being a requirement that every club in the Premier League has to have a Foundation.
In an official statement released on Thursday night, the club apologised for any inconvenience to those who bought tickets, having cancelled it less than a week before it was going to take place next Wednesday night.
NUFC Official Statement:
‘Newcastle United Football Club has made the very difficult decision that in view of the current league position, it would not be appropriate for the team and coaching staff to be celebrating the season and collecting awards at a time when our only focus is on the next two games and securing Premier League status.
“The Club would like to extend its apologies for any inconvenience caused to those businesses who had purchased tables to support the event, but we hope that you can appreciate our decision has not been taken lightly.
“The Club will work with the Foundation to find another opportunity to support them to raise funds for their outstanding work, which engages with over 50,000 people in our community.’
Sadly this smacks of being more a PR stunt and trying to look as though the club are belatedly taking the relegation threat seriously.
Any normal club would surely have cancelled weeks ago rather than doing it at this stage, simply punishing the Foundation and those who had been good enough to buy tickets and support the charity.
Leaving it until this stage, they might as well have waited until they saw the result at QPR and then cancelled!
I think fans are a lot angrier with regard to countless other matters at the club than being bothered about players attending a charity do.
Personally, I think this is more about Mike Ashley avoiding potential flak aimed at him and by connection his retail empire, rather than any kind of genuine worries that it would harm the club’s survival chances.
Also, maybe it would have done a lot of the players good, in terms of hopefully the squad being suitably embarrassed when picking up the awards, giving them the kick up the backside they need.