Newcastle United Supporters Trust have called on the club to look after their loyal supporters.
In the latest disgraceful episode of taking football fans for granted, almost a month after the Premier League Live TV matches for April were announced, this week saw Newcastle (and Everton) supporters discover their game had been moved to a Monday night (from Saturday 21st April to 8pm Monday 23rd April).
The decision reached by the Premier League, Sky Sports and both Newcastle United & Everton.
The one missing factor being any consultation with, or regard for, fans.
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) have now written to the club (see below), asking them to take responsibility for supporters being left out of pocket by the late change, fans having believed it was safe to book non-refundable travel and accommodation with the April Live TV dates having already been confirmed.
In a letter addressed to Managing Director Lee Charnley (as well as Head of Marketing Communications Lee Marshall), NUST say that with each club banking an extra £1.1m each thanks to the match moving, surely it is the right thing to do to use a small part of that cash to ensure no supporter is penalised.
This is the letter that was sent (via email) on Friday afternoon by NUST Vice Chairman Peter Fanning.
FAO Lee Charnley
FAO Lee Marshall
You will no doubt realise the reaction there has been to the changed date and the Trust would ask you to consider how you can help fans affected by the new arrangements.
I know the club have indicated that fans who have bought tickets but who now can’t get to the game can get a refund on their ticket and we are grateful for that.
We would ask the club to go further though and recognise that fans may also have incurred costs on travel arrangements and possibly accommodation and we would ask that you put arrangements in place for those costs also to be reimbursed.
This would include fans who cannot get to the rearranged game and also those who still go to the game but who incur costs through having to rebook tickets and or accommodation.
I realise this is not normally available to fans but this has been an unusual situation.
Newcastle fans loyally follow the club all over the country. This season in particular has already seen a disproportionate number of our away games rescheduled for TV. Fans are sensible enough not to make their travel and accommodation arrangements until the TV schedules are confirmed.
This time the game has been rescheduled after the TV games for April had been announced and after the club had sold tickets.
In meetings with Richard Scudamore he has said to us that clubs have the final say on whether a broadcaster’s TV “pick” is OK. On that basis NUST would ask the club to recognise your responsibilities towards the fans when you agreed to the rescheduled game.
It has been suggested that a televised game is worth £1.1million [to each club], compensating the relatively small number of fans who will have incurred additional costs will be a very small part of that amount.
I look forward to hearing from you and hope you will see this as an opportunity for the club to take a lead in rewarding loyal fans for their continuing support.’
NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust)