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Opinion

Steve McClaren attends NUFC Fans Forum but no Mike Ashley

5 years ago
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The much awaited NUFC Fans Forum meeting took place on Monday night, with Lee Charnley and Bobby Moncur in attendance as usual.

A relative surprise was to see Steve McClaren turning up as well, the new United Head Coach showing a willingness to engage with supporters as he did at Derby County with regular question and answer sessions.

One glaring omission, if no surprise, was Mike Ashley.

The owner choosing not to turn up, despite requests from the Fans Forum members that they’d like him to attend.

Last night’s meeting took place to a backdrop of not a single signing as yet this summer.

It was also two or three months late as far as the Fans Forum members were concerned.

With Lee Charnley having agreed to organise an emergency meeting before the end of last season in response to the unanimous request of the supporters sitting on the forum, only to then ignore repeated inquiries from them as to why no such meeting then took place.

The club’s minutes of the meeting will be made public in the coming days but without going into the actual detail, the feedback from a few of the Fans Forum members suggests the following:

Obvious disappointment (but no surprise) that Mike Ashley had chosen not to be there, fans appreciated the fact that Steve McClaren had made the effort and that he conducted himself well.

However, I get the impression that apart from McClaren’s contribution, it was just more of the same from Charnley and co. The club overwhelmingly dictating the substance and pace of the meeting,  with Newcastle United continuing to be run the Mike Ashley way and the bigger questions unable to be answered because the only person who could do so, wasn’t in the room.

One of the supporters in attendance was Taylor Payne and he used his Twitter account to give a bit of an overview of proceedings, without compromising things before the minutes are agreed:

‘I do like McClaren. I like how he engages with people, I like his attitude and his honesty and his positivity. Him being there was a big plus.

McClaren impressed me by asking US (the supporters) questions, made me feel like he is actually interested in fans. Nobody at the club has done that before.

However, I do feel that it was very clever by the club to have him there as it kept the focus very much on the now and the future.

Structure of the meeting was different tonight, so unfortunately I only got to ask 3 of the 10 questions I had. Other people covered some.

I was a bit disappointed with that, meeting moved on quickly and it felt like there wasn’t enough time to go into detail very often.’

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