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Opinion

Astonishing hypocrisy from Newcastle United releasing this official statement about Liverpool trouble

2 months ago
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This Newcastle v Liverpool match will be remembered for many reasons.

If things fall their way in the next week, Liverpool fans may well see it as the match that won them their first Premier League title.

A very fortunate win at St James Park, scoring three times from only four efforts on target, assisted by some abysmal decisions by the match officials.

However, for many Newcastle supporters it will stick in the memory as probably the match that saw the most widespread trouble inside St James Park in the all-seater era.

Newcastle United have now released an official statement regarding the disorder caused, due to Liverpool fans being in areas of the ground other than the 3,200 in the away end.

The hypocrisy shown by the club is astonishing.

They say that they are committed to ‘taking action against any supporter who sold or passed on tickets to Liverpool fans’ for the match.

I would rather every seat was filled by Newcastle fans, but if a season ticket holder passed on a ticket to a Liverpool fan they knew and could trust to behave, at face value or as a gift, then I don’t have a big problem with that.

However, if they have sold it for greed to any random person, not caring what this could lead to, then I have no sympathy if there are repercussions for them.

Which brings us to Newcastle United.

They made a big thing  of saying they were doing their best to ensure that tickets only went to Newcastle supporters. When the match by match tickets went on sale to members only and quickly sold out, only members who had already bought tickets this season were allowed to buy. So you could have paid for a membership and still not be allowed to buy.

Then you have the club.

Despite all the talk of doing everything they could to prevent trouble, they then happily sold hundreds of corporate tickets to Liverpool fans.

With the legal scummy touting websites selling tickets in Newcastle sections of St James Park for £1,000+, paying a couple of hundred quid for a corporate ticket would have been seen as a bargain for many scousers.

The reason there was so much trouble wasn’t (in the main) down to random Liverpool fans in ones and twos dotted around the stadium, instead it was mainly down to the club having sold hundreds of tickets to Liverpool fans in corporate areas.

Many Liverpool fans would have done what I have done at away grounds in the past when I could only get a ticket in the home end. You show a bit of respect for your surroundings and also for your self-preservation! So basically, you sit there quietly and if Newcastle by some miracle score you don’t invite trouble and keep any celebration to a bare minimum, if anything. Loads of Liverpool fans will have done this on Saturday and had no hassle.

Obviously some who were dotted around St James Park didn’t…but once again, the main trouble was caused by those in the corporate areas.

By allowing large numbers of Liverpool fans to buy tickets in the same home/corporate areas, that simply invites major trouble. The confidence felt due to being part of a big group, absolutely guaranteed that they would be celebrating big style if Liverpool scored.

They did so three times and obviously the atmosphere/disorder ramped up each time, with many Newcastle fans reacting to these Liverpool supporters.

Surely for this one match, Newcastle should have taken at least the same care as they did with normal tickets, if not far more, in selling the corporate tickets.

If you needed previous purchase history to buy a normal ticket, why not apply the same to the corporate areas?

As for the wider disorder outside St James Park and in the city centre, before and after the game, Sky Sports and the Premier League also have to hold their hands up.

This would have been a massive success for them in commercial terms but by moving it to a Saturday night, it absolutely guaranteed there would be implications for the policing of the day. All day drinking made it inevitable that there would be more issues, on top of the greed/stupidity of both Newcastle United and individual fans not caring who they were selling tickets to.

This official statement from the club is worthless when they aren’t prepared to hold their hands up as well, that they were to blame for most of the disorder and accept that they will have to learn from their mistakes, for similar games in the future.

Official Newcastle United statement:

‘Newcastle United would like to thank the vast majority of supporters in attendance at St. James’ Park on Saturday evening for creating a fantastic atmosphere.

Unfortunately, despite restricting match ticket sales to existing members and reminding fans that visiting supporters were not permitted in home areas, a number of Liverpool fans did obtain and use tickets initially held by Newcastle United fans.

We can confirm that standard tickets were only sold by the club to existing Newcastle United members and no general admission tickets were sold to Liverpool supporters by Newcastle United beyond the visitors’ usual allocation.

As is policy for all matches, supporters of both home and away clubs are welcome in hospitality areas at St. James’ Park. However, club colours are prohibited and guests supporting the visiting club are asked to behave appropriately or risk facing ejection.

The safety and security of all supporters is of paramount importance and club stewards, with the support of the police, did endeavour to eject any visiting fans from home and hospitality areas when outbreaks of disorder did regrettably occur.

We can confirm that 22 individuals were ejected from St. James’ Park on Saturday evening, with seven arrests made.

We will be reviewing supporter feedback and CCTV and we will be taking action against any supporter who sold or passed on tickets to Liverpool fans.

We remind supporters that selling or passing their tickets to other individuals is against ticket terms and conditions and may be a criminal offence.

While the stadium is monitored closely, any supporter who feels threatened or witnesses any instances of abuse or disorder at St. James’ Park is encouraged to speak to their nearest steward or police officer.

Alternatively, supporters can text ‘HELP’ followed by their seat location and details of the incident to 60070.’

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