Newcastle United fans group announce details of protests for Newcastle v Leeds match
A Newcastle United fans group have released details of protests to take place at St James Park on Friday night.
Newcastle v Leeds is live on Sky Sports with an 8pm kick-off.
The Newcastle United fans group Protest NUFC releasing the statement below, explaining their intentions and how other supporters can help.
Newcastle United fans group @ProtestNUFC Statement – 15 September 2021:
Newcastle United Fans Protest against Premier League for Transparency on Friday (versus Leeds United)
Thursday 16 September 2021
Newcastle United fans @ProtestNUFC are calling for Newcastle United fans attending Friday’s home game against Leeds to protest against the Premier League’s lack of transparency in relation to not one, but two legal actions Mike Ashley has commenced.
NUFC are in an arbitration process relating to “separation” which has been delayed, without explanation, until “early 2022” whilst St James Holdings Ltd have a jurisdiction hearing for a competition appeal tribunal (CAT) hearing on 29 September 2021 to determine jurisdiction on alleged anti-competitive behaviour in relation to the proposed takeover.
It was widely reported, in April 2020, that NUFC was to be sold to a consortium made up of Amanda Staveley’s PCP capital, the Reuben brothers, and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.
Twenty months later and there has been no movement and frustrations have begun to increase among the fanbase as their concerns around Mike Ashley’s tenure and continued lack of investment have been realised.
A spokesperson for @ProtestNUFC:
“In our mind Mike has already sold the club, he’s said as much, and we anticipated, correctly, that he wouldn’t invest significantly. Realistically why would he?!”
“We knew this in July when we went to London and delivered a letter to Downing Street and the PL’s headquarters. Unsurprisingly we’ve had no responses to either of those letters.”
“Prior to our London protest, and subsequently, Newcastle United fans have been writing to the PL, MPs and the Independent Football Ombudsman (IFO) to seek transparency and understand when we can expect a conclusion to this saga. The lack of a clear and realistic timeframe has meant the club and fans have been left in purgatory and the information vacuum results in a lot of disinformation and clickbait with no real information.”
“As a group, and before considering match day protests, we provided input to Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review and asked Newcastle United fans to send us their communications with the PL and turned this into a complaint letter. The PL rules state they have 6 weeks to respond and the deadline is Friday. The IFO can act if the PL fails to respond and we will be asking them to do so.”
“Additionally, we’ve written to the lead QCs of the competition action and the arbitration outlining our intent to add fans into the CAT case as additional parties. We believe this addition may make the PL think twice about seeking to appeal the outcome of the jurisdiction hearing for three reasons:
1. Season Ticket holders who didn’t receive their refunds until later than normal would have received that refund much sooner under new ownership according to Amanda Staveley’s public statement.
2. Fans aren’t linked to the club and therefore jurisdiction shouldn’t be an issue.
3. The PL have a duty of care toward all fans of PL clubs and not just the so called “big 6”. It doesn’t feel like the PL are meeting their requirements for NUFC fans at the moment.”
A combination of lack of information off the pitch and the football on the pitch has led to an increasingly frustrated fanbase with recent chants for both the owner and manager to leave.
“We understand the fans’ frustrations, we are fans after all and let’s face it the results haven’t helped to improve the relations between the fans and the club. In our minds though, if we can get transparency from the PL and understand why this takeover is so difficult when compared to Burnley’s for example, who’s buyers have refinanced the club so that it is in significant debt, compared with a consortium who reportedly sent in a 300-page business plan outlining significant investment in the club and the wider region.”
Planning for a campaign of protests began two weeks ago with @ProtestNUFC hosting a meeting at the Tyneside Irish centre.
“Unfortunately, attendance on the night wasn’t as anticipated, however we ran a poll which has over 1,400 participants casting over 12,300 votes in which 77% of respondents wanted action inside the ground and over 66% wanted peaceful, disruptive action that gained media attention. There’s real sense of apathy in the fanbase at the moment, largely from the last 14 years of neglect and the last 20 months of hoping for something better so this level of response has been reassuring those fans want to do something.
“Before the game we’ll be highlighting our displeasure with banners, drums, and anti-PL chants. We’ll be distributing flyers throughout the East stand for fans to hold up for the tv cameras which send a message directly to the PL. Given the scenes at soccer aid and Wembley recently we’ve also included some instructions to make a fairly decent paper plane – quite literally flyers!”
So, what happens after Friday?
“Ideally Friday wouldn’t happen as we’d know when a decision will be made. That’s how bad it is for NUFC fans at the minute, it’s not a positive decision that we want just a decision so we can move on from the hope of something better. That being said we’re looking at continuing the momentum at Watford away, and then we have Spurs at home, who were allegedly vociferous against this takeover for a variety of reasons so that might be interesting.”
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