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Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley shown up as total hypocrites with Thursday announcement

4 months ago
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We have finally heard from Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

Newcastle United putting out an official announcement/statement on Thursday morning.

Quotes put out in the name of Lee Charnley explaining how Mike Ashley and the club (see below) are going to help ‘elderly and vulnerable’ Newcastle United supporters.

This particular announcement referring to club staff ringing around Newcastle United fans who may be sitting at home alone, during this self-isolation period for so many.

Nothing of course wrong with this initiative in ‘isolation’, indeed it is an excellent idea and Newcastle United simply following the lead of many other clubs who have already been doing this. Amongst them are Norwich City and Brighton, with indeed managers and players also joining in with other club staff in making the calls.

However…whilst praising this move by Newcastle United, it is also impossible to take it in isolation.

As Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley are shown up to be total hypocrites when you consider their other actions/inactions.

As well as doing the ringing people at home scheme, Brighton have also already announced:

A public commitment that all full-time staff will be paid as normal and this include casual workers, like numerous other clubs Brighton saying they will continue to pay the mainly matchday casual workers, even though there are no matches played at the moment.

The Seagulls have also announced that supporters paying monthly in advance for their 2020/21 season tickets can have a three month payment holiday to help their finances at this very difficult and uncertain time.

Brighton are also constantly updating their fans on what is happening and replying to concerns that they may have, communicating and interacting regularly with the media, plus recently announced they’d donate thousands of free tickets to NHS staff when things get back to some kind of normality.

Compare this to Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley…

An absolute refusal to keep Newcastle fans informed and reassured about anything. As usual, no proper interaction and communication with the media, or willingness to respond to fan concerns.

No public announcement and/or commitment that casual workers will still be paid to help them through these desperate times, so many people left without their regular casual wages.

Then of course we saw yesterday, countless Newcastle fans waking up to find that the entire payment for their 2020/21 season tickets had been taken from their bank account, despite fan groups and individuals pleading with them not to do so. Instead of delaying these payments as any decent club would do until we all know when next season will actually start, Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley taking the money from fans, many who will be very ‘vulnerable’ now, due to the virus seriously affecting their income and/or cashflow.

On top of that, NUST revealed yesterday that Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley have absolutely no intention of delaying any direct debits for 2020/21 season tickets, the club confirming that thousands and thousands of fans will have monthly payments going out regardless of the current crisis.

It is quite shameful for the club, Ashley and Charnley, to claim they are in any way concerned for ‘vulnerable’ Newcastle fans. Yes, great making these phone calls, BUT to then also be adding massive extra financial pressures for thousands of Newcastle fans at these terrible times is an absolute disgrace. Especially when the club is so well placed to be able to give fans payment holidays until we know when next season will start.

I feel really sorry for any of the club staff ringing these vulnerable Newcastle fans and then finding that they are talking to the very same people who are seeing money taken out of their bank accounts by Mike Ashley at the very time they need it the most.

It is also very hard to square the fact that whilst Mike Ashley has Newcastle United putting out messages about people staying safe and staying home, yet with his retail empire he has been doing the exact opposite, it taking the Government to force him to shut Sports Direct stores.

Newcastle United official announcement – Thursday 26 March 2020:

Newcastle United legend Bob Moncur and an army of club staff are taking time to telephone elderly and vulnerable supporters who face an extended period of self isolation during the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite being based at home themselves, club ambassador Moncur and club colleagues are calling around 1,900 season ticket holders aged 70 and above, as well as other vulnerable groups, to chat about football and combat loneliness. The club is continuing to closely monitor government guidance and may extend the scheme to other age groups in future.

Lee Charnley, Newcastle United’s managing director, said:

“The coronavirus outbreak has a profound effect on everyone but it is being felt particularly sharply by the most vulnerable people in our community, including the elderly.

“We have seen just how much of a positive impact the Memory CafĂ© has had on some of our older supporters over the last year, and the phone calls allow us to continue to reach them and to alleviate isolation and loneliness at a time when it is needed most.

“I am immensely proud of how our staff have responded and we will continue to look at how we can expand the scheme to reach as many of our older supporters as possible.”

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