The Newcastle United Fans Forum minutes were eventually released on Wednesday morning.

Published fully a week after the meeting had been held, they weren’t exactly worth the wait.

A group of Newcastle fans are giving their time and energy to try and do something productive, only for the club to approach each fans forum meeting in the utmost bad faith.

If you want to read the club’s version of the latest Newcastle United Fans Forum minutes go here – but if you want read the ‘real’ ones, then read on here for this classic take from Chris Holr on what the minutes really tell us…

/The club brought the meeting to order by first stating for the avoidance of doubt that nobody in the room has any power whatsoever. The owner’s people on the ground are Keith (Harold) Bishop and Justin Barnes.  Neither of whom would ever see fit to show any public responsibility or take on an official title.  Every decision for Newcastle United is made at Sports Direct Head office in Shirebrook. The people in the room have been appointed as caretakers only and rarely speak to Mike Ashley themselves.

The club apologised for delays in the regularity of Fans Forum meetings but didn’t justify that in any way.

There was concern that the club could be seen as not being committed to the Fans Forum process.

The club accepted that view but argued the opposite, despite the evidence and their prior apology not a moment earlier for having not had a forum in 10 months. Like it or lump it.

It was stated that Arsenal run Fans Forums on match days and asked whether this would be possible.

The club advised that several members of the management team would be operational on match days.  There have been so many redundancies at the club that all the staff are run ragged, performing multiple roles.  There’s no way Ashley will employ an adequate number of people to provide a genuine supporter forum like other clubs.

Can the club commit to dates for future meetings? It would send out a positive message about the club’s commitment to the Fans Forum.

The club agreed and has proposed dates for future Fans Forums should be after the transfer windows close, after season ticket renewals close, and after the season ends, so any concerns that are brought to the forum will be too late to act on.

Ticketing Update

Let’s concentrate on what’s gone well with ticketing and ignore the fact we refuse to follow the example of almost every other club by actually publishing ticket categories and prices for the entire season annually, rather than game by game.

Safe standing

The club pledged to share the public petition for a commons debate on Safe Standing via social media on the following day. This was published on the club’s Twitter and Facebook accounts on Thursday 26th April 2018.  It was quickly followed by a note that the club doesn’t necessarily support safe standing.

When will the club’s next set of accounts be published?

The club explained that a date has not yet been set for publication but that the next set of accounts would detail the considerable financial impact of the club’s relegation to the Championship for the 2016/17 season.

Mike Ashley repeatedly changes the accounting periods of his businesses to avoid publishing their accounts in a timely manner and keep them shrouded in mystery and the accounts are currently showing as “overdue” at the companies house website.

Stadium expansion

The club’s comments from two consecutive Fans Forums in 2014 were highlighted, which indicated that extending the Gallowgate would not make sense commercially and that its view was likely to remain unchanged in the short and medium term and potentially the long term.

But that’s not why the club don’t expand. Mike Ashley is developing the land behind the Gallowgate end as a personal business venture having bought the land from Newcastle United in 2009.  Everyone knows that the financial rewards of a large stadium are further dwarfed by TV revenues every three years.  As that continues there will only be less financial incentive to expand, yet clubs continue to do it.  Tottenham and Everton will soon push Newcastle into 9th place for Stadium size.

Why? A Premier League stadium is a status symbol, it’s about accommodating all your fans and assuring the widest possible support for the future, not necessarily making money.  But these aims, which top clubs prioritise, cannot take precedence at Newcastle over Mike Ashley’s personal business interests.

Fixture scheduling

The club has no appetite for challenging the Premier league or broadcasters on their criteria for selecting games or refusing a change after a deadline.

Manager and transfers

The club haven’t been able to convince Rafa his ambition can be met at Newcastle as yet, so he’s not signed a contract as yet.

The club discussed, in addition to transfer fees, that there are often significant costs such as its wage bill and agents fees that are not factored in or referred to, as if other clubs don’t have those factors to consider while outspending NUFC.

The club stated they made offers to buy players in January prior to acquiring players on loan. Maybe the effort should be applauded rather than the failure criticised.

Remember the  state of-the-art crowd-facing LED system that was installed 4 years ago at great expense?  Just be grateful for that!  Ignore that it’s purported purpose of increasing commercial income is negated by it’s use to advertise Sports Direct for Free

Is the club for sale?

The club stated that the position has not changed and if or when there is anything to update, the club would do so.

Here’s the statement Derek Llambias made in 2011, which still stands:

“If I can draw an analogy: My house is not for sale. In fact you could offer me twice what it is worth and it would still not be for sale because it has a personal value to me right now that is greater than twice the price. But if someone knocks on my door with a truly extraordinary figure, a sum which I had never imagined would be offered, then there comes a time when I have to seriously consider it.”

You can follow the author on Twitter @bigchrisholt

To feature like Chris Holt submit your article to [email protected] and/or for more info go here



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Penfold is 2nd in line for the Wood Chipper, odious piece of schitt that he is

    • FatParosite

      No point taking out your anger on the dumpy Ashley mini-me. He has no more control in NUFC than the door stops at the SJP… arguably less.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        He`s the Minion who has been a major help in downgrading the club.
        it`s not anger, it`s [email protected]@king revenge

    • Peaky

      😂😂😂

    • Leicester Mag

      Maybe a knit your own r sole kit may be a fitting gift if he ends up a sacrifice to HMRC

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    What the club have said is the cost of developing the Gallowgate say ten million plus would not be justifiable. They also correctly pointed out that when West Brom returned an extra five hundred tickets it took nearly a week to sell them so how are we going to fill an extra ten thousand seats in the Gallowgate. The answer is except for a handful of games we are not. Fifty two thousand is an ideal capacity . Certain teams in the Premiership are not filling their stadiums as it is Arsenal being one and Man City for cup semi finals. At least they are keeping the great loyalty system so well done to the club.

    • Guest 2

      And refurbishing / modernising the Academy and training facilities is also a waste of money to Ashley, despite him publicly stating years ago he would do just that.

      Stooge.

      • Jezza

        Don’t feed the troll, lads.

    • Fireman Sam

      If the club showed any ambition (I.e. Managed to get rid of Ashley) it could sell out 100,000 for the big games.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Where are the buyers £350 is cheap for a club which would have no debt.

        • TheNutJob

          there is little or no interest in a club stuck up in the North East & that`s a fact

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Sadly I agree there is nothing more than Ashley sell up and a new board come in with three hundred million to spend.
            I hope it happens but in the mean time I stick to reality.

    • Paul Patterson

      So for the sake of £10m, you would rather the capacity stays the same forever, FOREVER? No chance of development regardless of how successful we are?
      Very short sighted to not give any future owners (or even Ashley himself) that extra income. But hey, awfully nice to just pocket that money eh?

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Ashley does not pocket any money. Personally I think 52,400 is the right capacity. When a team sends 2,000 back like West Brom we sold them out the day before . At best we would have got fifty three thousand .It might happen that we expand but it would only be a handful games where we need sixty thousand. Tottenham had 36,000 empty seats against Watford on Monday so they do not need a bigger stadium. Arsenal always have thousands of empty seats. Man City never sell out for cup ties.

      • 1957

        I’m sure the 8500 additional seats at Anfield cost around £13500 per seat on a fairly easy site so adding say 5000 at the Gallowgate would probably cost around £67m at least not £10m. New build is around £9000 per seat.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          I think thatvestimate is the Minimum cost, Shepherd said it would cost more than the Milburn and Leazes’ together.

          A much cheaper option would be to raise the roof level, add exec boxes and utilise the corner more but I’m told there are foundation issues in that corner.

      • Jezza

        Monkseaton is alright because Old Trafford’s capacity has been increased to around 75,000. Don’t feed the troll.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        It’s not £10m even the financially challenged Fat Freddy Shepherd said that the Gallowgate would cost more than the 1998-2000 development of the Leazes and Milburn. Most likely to be approaching £100m now. That will, in reality only give around 5,000 seats.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        If money was no object it could be expanded but why bother? Just put the entry prices up a few quid.

    • Gallowgate Dave

      Monkseaton out of interest do you EVER think the current regime has done any wrong?

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        I certainly do not blame them for the two relegations as the playing squad was good enough to finish in the top half both times. We had a vast array of players some on £100k a year and never should have gone down. The pricing policy has been excellent and second to none especially with the ten year deal. We have interest free loans which has saved us round £80m pounds. I could go on with the good stuff. However I do not think Charnley is up to the job getting players in and we could do with a more high profile like character like Freddie Fletcher to take the club forward. The other thing which was quickly reversed was the renaming of the stadium but Wonga put that right but still got a load of abuse of the fans. They are not the only high interest loan company. So all in all could have been like Sunderland if it was not for Ashley. My main worry is that there is no one out there who wants to buy us or can take us forward.

        • Gallowgate Dave

          So you don’t think undermining Keegan, employing Dennis Wise and appointing the unhinged Joe Kinnear as well as appointing the hapless Steve McClaren, particularly in a role that undermined his (already limited) authority right from the start, contributed significantly to the relegations then? Ashley ultimately responsible for all those decisions.

          My 10 year price freeze isn’t good value, I’d pay more to the club if they were interested in competing and I’d enjoy it far more.

          You do realise Charmless is employed by Ashley as a yes man, an acolyte to do exactly as he’s told don’t you? Charnley = Ashley.

          And you don’t recognise that profiting from people in desperate poverty and exploiting them is morally wrong then?

        • Gallowgate Dave

          Oh and the interest free loans are needed in part due to his chronic mismanagement of the club (two relegations, failure to compete at the business end of the table) and failure to maximise our revenue streams as it’s easier to run the club on a shoestring than actually try to drive the revenue up to compete. That goes for any company – it takes talent to drive revenue up, anyone can just slash costs. He is also compensated for his “interest free” loans by free advertising and I suspect funnelling the merchandising through Sports Direct.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Ashley inherited the debt and did not create it. The former directors put a million in and took one hundred and forty million out. Ashley has not taken a penny out and has left the club on sound financial footing. A very good man

  • Pelican

    In regards to the accounts, perhaps they are struggling with Ashley loaning the club £33 million with one hand (approximate figures) and then taking £18 million of that back with the other hand. For those of us who are not accountants, this practise raises an eyebrow. We were told that the approx £33 million (minus £18 million) was to balance the books, so if the books are not balanced, there will be questions. Whatever is going on, it certainly seems ‘creative’.

    • Guest 2

      And don’t forget the £11 million he repaid himself in 2012.

      £29 million of ‘personal’ loans fully repaid – by him loaning the money through his other companies and adding the amount to debt owed. £144 million of it.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Thick as pig 💩

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      HMRC is there to help
      😂😂😂😂

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      It makes no difference what so ever except that the club owes £13m more to whatever party. One transaction increases the loan the other decreases the loan. Just pretend the transactions are to Barclays there is no difference except it’s an interest free loan which is great for the club.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Why does it raise eyebrows? The £15m was likely required to provide working capital.

  • Dillon Tovak

    Having a big stadium shouldn’t be about how much money it brings in, as long as you don’t lose money obviously, but should be about allowing the maximum amount of fans to actually watch the team.

    • TheNutJob

      they aren`t interested in the fans Dillon.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Which player should we sell to pay for it?

      • Paul Patterson

        Oh come on ..

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          The money has to come from somewhere.

          • Dillon Tovak

            You’re so worried about poor mikes money aren’t you?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’m worried about the club’s money and it’s ability to function. If the club commit to building a £67m stadium extension, they have to pay for it somehow. They can borrow the money off Mike but that’s not popular, fans complain about that. They can borrow from the bank but that would leave the club in the hands of an external creditor who will charge interest.

            There doesn’t appear to be a business case for the expansion.

            Mike wants to sell the club, if he commits to a stadium extension that makes no business sense. it diminishes the attractiveness of the club to an investor.

      • Gallowgate Dave

        On this occasion I agree with you (I seldom do). There should be a balance to prices for fans but essentially the more a club can generate from our pockets the more they can spend on players. Simple fact. Unfortunately with the current regime whatever we plough into the club I’m convinced it wouldn’t be invested in the team.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Absolutely, in my business, if demand exceeds supply, we put the prices up.

          • Dillon Tovak

            What’s your business, shovelling shyte?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            If it were and we were fully booked, we’d charge more to do that shovelling.

          • Dillon Tovak

            That’s cos you’re nice.

          • Gallowgate Dave

            Spoken like a true Thatcherite. To be fair I work in an industry where demand exceeds supply and if people are prepared to pay for you then you’re hardly going to drop prices (within reason, I could charge more but don’t as I want to be of value). The difference with NUFC is I hardly consider my season ticket particularly “cheap” even on a 10 year price deal as the “value” I get is poor – an owner putting in minimal effort, not maximising the club’s revenue streams and basically just aiming to survive in the Premier League (with mixed success of even that low target) with no effort to win the cups as it’s viewed as a potential jeopardy to survival. We’ve therefore ceased to exist as a sporting club (aim to win silverware) and instead exist to keep the gravy train rolling through. Price of everything and value of nowt and all that.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’m more of a social and free-market libertarian but I take your point. It’s human nature to put their price up when they are in demand. My brother in law works for the local council and he knows full-well that the council are over-staffed so will never support strike action for fear that the tax-payer realises their taxes are wasted (he puts it a different way but the gist is the same!). His wife is a junior doctor, she’s all for going on strike for more pay because she knows she’s in demand.

            Perhaps we’re all Thatcherites.

            As for the aim for silverware, don’t you think you are a little late in the day to realise this? We’ve won for 47 years and even that achievement has been written off the record books by Uefa.

            In your example of poor product, the excitement has been high this year. Until March, every game was a nervous roller-coaster but we have been safe for a few weeks and now we concentrate on the quality of the performance and realise it’s not that great. Again, it really hasn’t been since 2003/4 season when we started to run out of money.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      With current technology, It would take around 25 years to break even.

      • Dillon Tovak

        Show your working out for that maths.
        As the club will still exist in 25 years it’s a fine investment anyway.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          OK, 2006 estimate for the extension on the Gallowgate was £67m. Technology on foundations (the problem on this site) has not moved on AFAIK, a civil / structural engineer can confirm.

          To be honest, I over-estimated the number of extra seats it would create.

          There are about 3,500 more seats in the Leazes over the Gallowgate, so to replicate that, we’re talking £19,000 per seat. Assuming no need for more staff, no need to repair and assuming we sell every seat per game we receive at £25 (current marginal price) we receive £87,500 extra revenue every game. Assume 20 home games a season it will take 38 years to pay for itself.

  • Leazes.

    Not an ounce of warmth in the official minutes, not an ounce of care,. not an ounce of hope…. The club is second rate and that will reflect in our City, or should I say my City as none of you bnggers are from Newcastle and don’t give a sh*te anyway.

    There is nothing at all to indicate any genuine offers for the club but naturally Staveley the broker would want to know all of the possibilities for a future owner, so at least one outsider seems to have had a look at the set-up. Whether or not that ‘due diligence’ could possibly unravel United’s merchandise sales from that of S***** D*****t…. I would very much doubt….and what about the advertising that they were going to pay…. that went quiet didn’t it?

    Question: Why does Charnley hide from the spotlight?

    • Pelican

      What I find irritable is that they cannot just give straight answer. It comes across very disingenuous. Take this one for example:

      PF asked if the club is still up for sale?
      “The club stated that the position has not changed and if or when there is anything to update, the club would do so.”

      How about giving a clear, concise and informative answer without leaving things open to interpretation. A simple “yes” would have been more than sufficient.

      • TheNutJob

        to say they lack integrity would be an understatement

      • Leazes.

        Yes this is the way this regime operates. It is OUR club you know…. the thing with accountants is that they really believe everything is owned…. they don’t believe that we own it…and they’ll damage it to prove ownership, then say…’there’s nothing you can do’ to cement that belief….. one day the Ashley and Mutley will be gone but the fans will still be here.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          How is it your club, you don’t go to the match, you despise everything about it, it’s not your club.

          • Rabid Dog

            You are a nasty troll. If you don’t understand how it is his/my club then you are… I don’t have the words to describe what you are…

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It’s not his club, he doesn’t support the club. He just lies

          • Kev Newcastle England

            Are you a fat bstard Fleckman?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I think you are on the wrong forum, for build, hair colour, likes and dislikes, try Grindr

          • Kev Newcastle England

            Are you a fat bstard Fleckman?
            Being in a shopping queque leaves you feeling smug,you sad ‘kin runt.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’m not, Kev. I’m in decent shape, I’m not sure where this is leading but I suspect you want to take me on a date.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I’ll be anything you want honey but I get the impression I’m not dealing with the brightest if buttons.

        • Cockneytrev

          Your correct the fans will still be here,, unfortunately I’m of an age now that I’m beginning to believe we will never be rid of this odious parasite in my lifetime unless he pops his clogs,,,

          • Rich Lawson

            Cholestral will do the job.

          • Leazes.

            we could send him food

          • Rich Lawson

            Is that food bank at The Strawberry not for him then ?

        • Gallowgate Dave

          I agree with you but what I don’t understand is why we don’t fight for OUR club. Lee Charmless should be run out of Toon and Ashley’s real love S***** D***** should be humiliated at every opportunity. What frustrates me is how few people joined the protests, we just accept being walked over.

  • Leicester Mag

    At last a Mag article that hits to the heart of the issue. Waiting on our resident moon beams to articulate the benefits of this pointless charade.

  • magpiefifer

    The club minutes are just the latest example of the utter contempt which Ashley and his puppets hold us fans in!
    The crass comments made in relation to the wage bill/agents costs illustrates how little they believe that the fans have any intelligence.
    We really need to get rid of this stinking regime.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Look at the comments, if the club think fans lack intelligence, I think the club has it about right.

      • magpiefifer

        Are you referring to your comment!!?

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Goodness no, I only come on here to give my self esteem a boost.

          • magpiefifer

            I thought so!!!!!?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I shop once a week in Asda and purposely join a queue for a till with some fatties in it, just to look at the conveyor belt. I go away feeling smug.

            I get the same feeling when reading the comments from certain chaps on here.

  • TheNutJob

    wor kid has an intense dislike for Penfold, magnify that a 100 fold for Fatty
    😂😂
    both are disingenuous in every respect, both have lied to the fans for years and as a managing director Penfold has not only shirked his responsibility to the club but has sold his soul to the owner. neither are worthy of the position they hold and the sooner they are gone the better

    • Leazes.

      He doesn’t act in the interests of the club…. Penfold not your klid.

  • Taz

    C u next Tuesdays, the lot of them !😞

  • Desree

    On a more positive note – 100 quid was donated to the SBR foundation today.

    Me losing the bet with Bobbi Flekman on whether we would stay up or not.

    Bobbi kindly agreed that the loser should donate the 100 quid to charity.

    I am running a book on whether Raffa goes before the season kicks off.

    • Rich Lawson

      Good on you,well done.

    • Gallowgate Dave

      Fair play to you, at least some good has come from an interaction with him!

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Excellent work Desree, if only everyone would pay up their bets, JEZZA, JEZZA, just do the right thing, take a leaf out if Desree’s book, maybe even the songbook:

      Money don’t make my world go ’round
      I’m reaching up for the higher ground
      To a warm and peaceful place
      I can rest my weary face

      • Desree

        Money don’t make my world go round.

  • Wezza147

    *Mike Ashley repeatedly changes the accounting periods of his businesses to avoid publishing their accounts in a timely manner*

    But MA always does everything above board, nothing to see here, move along. For the apologists that was sarcasm.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      NUFC’s accounting period was last changed by one month some 10yrs ago. This was done to fit in with other premier league clubs, get real fella.

  • Jonas

    Lambias’ comment there is exactly how i take it. Its up for sale inasmuch as everything has price, not in the traditional understanding of the term.

    its there in quotes and everything that’s happened since he’s been here yet some believe that he ‘wants to sell’.
    if he had ever wanted to sell he’d have been long gone years ago.