Total joke as fans told ‘Be careful what you wish for’ when Mike Ashley sells Newcastle United
An interesting piece in the local media today about fan engagement in football, especially with regard to Mike Ashley and Newcastle United.
It features an interview with the Chief Executive of the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).
The Chief Executive is Kevin Miles, who also happens to be a Newcastle fan.
In his interview with the Chronicle Kevin Miles says with regard to a potential takeover of Newcastle United:
“If there’s a genuine prospect of a takeover, be careful what you wish for because it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person or people who have managed to get enough money together to buy it are necessarily going to be any better than what went before.
“The history of takeovers is littered with people who have come in and done far worse – because football is an industry that has been plagued by chancers, profiteers, asset strippers and people who see football as a soft target – precisely because they do have a supporter base who are so fiercely loyal. And there are no competitors.”
All fans know that there are no guarantees under a new owner but if you take this attitude (be careful what you wish for) then you would never do anything in life.
What we do know for sure is that Mike Ashley is toxic for Newcastle United and I haven’t met a fan yet who wouldn’t be willing to gamble on new owners.
Yes you can always point to the chancers/disasters but I bet the fans of clubs such as Man City, Liverpool, Leicester, Wolves and so on aren’t too upset with their new(ish) owners, pining for what went before them.
As for engagement with Mike Ashley and Newcastle United, Kevin Miles says:
“One of the breakthroughs in regulation was the government’s working report on supporter engagement where it’s now a requirement for a club to engage with supporters. That’s been built into the rules.
“Now there is a question about whether Newcastle United have lived up even to the Premier League’s rules. If you took that to the people at the club and said ‘You haven’t done this’ they’d probably say ‘That’s a fair cop’. They have to stick to those rules so it’s something they must do.”
Ironically, no mention anywhere in the interview of the official Newcastle United Fans Forum.
Nor any mention of Kevin Miles and the FSA acting in an advisory way to Newcastle United on how it was set up.
The NUFC Fans Forum saw fans chosen to take part by the club, rather than being voted on by other supporters.
The only exceptions being the three people representing NUST, NUDSA and the London supporters club who have elected representatives. Very quickly the club banned NUST having a representative because they published their own account of what happened at a meeting, as well as the twisted propaganda put out by the club – otherwise known as their Fans Forum minutes. There was no kind of democratic vote amongst the Fans Forum members on whether to ban the NUST rep, just the club implementing it.
Mike Ashley and his minions have never had any intention of seriously engaging with their own official Fans Forum, instead always attempting to use it to push out their PR messages. Many other clubs stream live their official fans forum meetings, or put them out on video later, but Newcastle have refused to allow this – stopping the fanbase seeing questions asked and answered, it is almost as though they see honesty and openness as a bad idea.
As for having to stick to the rules on engaging with fans…
An official Premier League document laid out in September 2017 what each of the 20 PL clubs were doing in terms of interaction with their fans.
Information was supplied by each of the clubs and this is what Mike Ashley committed to.
The NUFC listing said:
The Forum meet quarterly and includes 16 fan representatives, most of whom are randomly drawn
from applicants who meet the criteria for each category.
Four groups have permanent representation on the Forum, including the Supporters Trust and the Disabled Supporters Association.
The club are represented by the Managing Director, Head of Marketing & Communications and other senior staff members.’
Since that September 2017 announcement/document from the Premier League, if Mike Ashley and his people had told the truth, it means we should have had at least eight Newcastle United Fans Forum meetings.
Instead, these are the dates when the Newcastle United Fans Forum have met since September 2017:
25 April 2018
24 September 2018
That is it.
Indeed it is even worse because before those two meetings, the previous one was held on 29 June 2017.
So in 29 months there has been two Newcastle United fans forum meetings and in eight days time it will be exactly a year since the last one.
Just like Mike Ashley hasn’t genuinely put Newcastle United up for sale at a market price, there has never been the slightest intention of genuine interaction by his regime with the fans.
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