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Quite incredible as Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United Season Ticket Refunds plan is reported as success for fans

4 weeks ago
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Thursday at last saw an official announcement on Newcastle United Season Ticket Refunds.

Mike Ashley finally making public what is going to be allowed to be done about dealing with the issue.

Newcastle United the twentieth of twenty Premier League clubs to do anything about refunds.

This totally mirrors what happened with refunds for the games fans couldn’t attend in 2019/20, Mike Ashley was also the last Premier League owner to announce how and when fans would be refunded, plus of course Newcastle supporters the very last of the 20 PL clubs to actually get their money returned.

Yesterday’s Mike Ashley announcement (see below) has naturally been given a lot of media coverage.

The overwhelming verdict that this is a great positive move for the Newcastle fans.

Indeed, many Newcastle supporters are saying the same thing.

However, when you really look at what has been announced, is this the case?

The first thing you have to get into your head is that Mike Ashley was always going to offer refunds on the money paid by fans, for tickets that they haven’t been able to use and won’t be able to use in the coming months.

He is legally obliged to do so and so had / has no other option, the only thing to judge Mike Ashley on, is how he does it and how quickly the money reaches the NUFC supporters.

The very fact that Newcastle United are the very last Premier League club to address the problem tells you everything really…BUT what about what was actually announced by our glorious leader?

In essence, what we are talking about is overwhelmingly two groups of people.

Number One

The thousands of Newcastle United fans who had FULL 2020/21 season ticket money taken by direct debit from their accounts in March 2020.

Number Two

The thousands of Newcastle United fans who have had monthly payments taken from their accounts, starting in April 2020.

Taking the Number One group first.

They can now apply to get a refund for the first five home matches of this 2020/21 season, if taking this option the money would arrive by mid-December according to Ashley’s announcement.

So, nine (NINE) months after having full season ticket money taken, they will get just over a quarter of their money back!

The way the virus situation is heading and measures being taken, it very much fits in with what was announced by the government in September when amongst other things they announced no fans would be allowed back into stadiums in October 2020. The government stating that it was expected there will be six months minimum (October 2020 – March 2021 inclusive) of restrictions, which will surely preclude any supporters inside stadiums in that time period.

We are surely now looking at this being reality, no fans all all inside St James Park until the very final stages of the 2020/21 season, if we are lucky, even then it would only be minimal number of fans.

Mike Ashley says it will be three instalments throughout the season if fans still can’t attend matches. So those who paid full ST money in March 2020, can get their first refund on five matches in mid-December but I reckon for sure, any second refund payment (another five matches?) wouldn’t be received until at the very earliest after March 2021. That would mean the club still having half their 2020/21 season ticket money over a year after they had paid the cash upfront.

As for the Number Two group, I think it is even more ludicrous.

These thousands of NUFC fans have now made seven monthly payments from April-October 2020 inclusive AND Mike Ashley is going to continue taking these payments for November 2020, December 2020, January 2021 and February 2021.

That is quite outrageous for me, fair enough if for some reason they wanted to do it, BUT having made seven of eleven payments for 2020/21, they will for certain have already paid more money than any small number of matches they might potentially be allowed into.

It is farcical that they will have to keep making these monthly payments, with then at the same time only able to get back in this period (November 2020 – February 2021) a refund on five matches.

When they make their final payment in February, they will be in credit to the tune of 14 Premier League home matches.

All credit to those who have been putting pressure on Mike Ashley, especially NUST, but to claim this as a great victory and / or positive move is laughable.

At the very least all monthly payments should have been stopped and as for those who had full ST payment taken in March 2020, at the very least they should be getting an immediate refund of a minimum of half their ST money.

Southampton have been refunding those who have paid for season tickets match by match, each home game that goes by without fans allowed, they then send that money into the bank accounts.

It isn’t difficult, you just need the will to do so.

Newcastle United Official Announcement:

Newcastle United has confirmed information for existing 2020/21 season ticket holders while fixtures at St. James’ Park continue to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The club suspended all one-year season ticket and single match ticket sales for the current season during the summer and provided refunds or account credits to all supporters who were forced to miss the final games of the 2019/20 campaign.

However, supporters on long-term price freeze deals – which secure the lowest possible prices for seats over a nine or ten-year period – have continued to make scheduled payments for the 2020/21 campaign as the club awaits permission to enable them to return to St. James’ Park.

Despite months of work to plan for a safe, socially distanced return of supporters, clubs across the country have not yet been given the go-ahead by authorities and an outline date for the return of spectators has yet to be confirmed by the government.

In an online meeting with supporters and supporter groups to discuss a potential safe return to matches last month, the club made a broad commitment to refunding season ticket holders at designated stages throughout the season.

While the number of matches that will be missed by season ticket holders is still to be determined, the club can confirm details of how payments can be used to pay off 2021/22 season tickets or how to claim a refund.

Take forward or refund?

Season ticket holders on long-term price freeze deals will have two options when it comes to the existing amount they have already paid:

– Take their payments for the current 2020/21 season forward to pay off next season’s 2021/22 season ticket in full, or;

– Claim a refund for the matches they miss; paid pro rata at three stages throughout the season depending on when fans can return. Season ticket holders can opt in or out of refunds at each stage.

Before the process is outlined below, supporters are asked to take note of the following important information in relation to their current payment schedule.

Important information – payments for this season (2020/21)

The club hopes to welcome supporters back safely to St. James’ Park at the earliest opportunity during the current 2020/21 season.

Accordingly, in order to protect season ticket holders’ existing price freeze deals, scheduled Direct Debit payments for the current season will continue to be taken until February 2021.

If a refund is requested (information below), the refund process will run concurrently.

Important information – payments for next season (2021/22)

While some long-term price freeze deals were due to expire at the end of this season, the club can confirm that all deals will be extended to include next season.

Supporters wishing to keep their season ticket under their existing price freeze deal for next season would ordinarily begin payments for 2021/22 in March 2021.

If no 2020/21 refund is requested, the balance will be taken forward to pay the 2021/22 season in full. For individuals taking this option, your existing payments will continue as scheduled until February 2021 and will then cease until March 2022.

If a refund is requested for this season, your monthly or annual Direct Debits taken from March 2021 onwards will be adjusted depending on the amount of 2020/21 matches refunded.

Take balance forward

Season ticket holders on long-term price freeze deals can opt to take their existing payments forward to pay towards next season’s balance.

Any scheduled payments for the current season will continue until February 2021. If the balance is paid in full at this time, the balance will be taken forward for the 2021/22 season and any applicable Direct Debit payments will cease until March 2022.

Supporters wishing to take this option do not need to take any further action.

Refunds

Season ticket holders who select this option will be given a pro rata refund for Premier League matches missed during the current 2020/21 season.

Because the exact number of matches that will be missed is still unknown, refunds will be issued in up to three stages throughout the season to cover any Premier League fixtures as applicable.

The first batch of refunds will be received by mid-December 2020 to cover the first five home matches. Depending on when supporters are able to safely return, there will be two further refund windows to cover any further Premier League fixtures affected, with the second window announced in early 2021.

To request a refund for the first five matches, please click here.

The application deadline is Friday 27th November 2020.

The club will communicate details around the second stage of refunds in early 2021.

Existing account credits

Supporters who requested an account credit for matches missed during the 2019/20 season will be able use their balance for tickets during the 2020/21 season onwards.

Ticket information for single matches and season tickets will be confirmed in due course, pending government approval for the return of spectators to stadiums.

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