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Opinion

Newcastle United owners score own goal with social media messages

3 months ago
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I was disappointed to hear about and then read the social media posts from Newcastle United owners Mehrdad Ghodoussi and Jamie Reuben, about the need to give Eddie’s team more support in the stadium, that we needed to be louder and that we need to be the 12th man.

These are the social media posts in question.

Mehrdad Ghodoussi on Twitter after the 4-1 win over Chelsea – 25 November 2023:

“What a team.

“NUFC we need to give these guys more support in the stadium, we need to be louder, we need to be the 12th man.”

Jamie Reuben then replying to the Mehrdad Ghodoussi Tweet – 25 November 2023:

“What a team and yes we need to match the intensity of the players with our support.”

I thought the atmosphere against Chelsea was decent, despite it being a freezing cold November afternoon and there being three keepers warming the bench, which when announced, might well have given rise to a degree of fear and trepidation in a game we expect to win these days. That’s not entitlement but it is the reality, and we did win, which was our eighth in ten matches at home so far this season.

In the Premier League era, Chelsea have always travelled in numbers to St James’ Park and to be fair, do make an effort with their monotonous rendition of ‘Churl-sey’ over and over, as well as the one about mowing the meadow. I thought the Strawberry Corner did a great job (as usual) and even up in Level 7 where I sit, what was previously akin to a morgue when the FCB ran the show, now has its fair share of lads looking to sing and chant. Saturday was no exception.

Given problems with ticketing and how the club are proposing to engage the fanbase, I suspect Mehrdad Ghodoussi would be better attempting to solve those issues, than having a pop at the rank and file. Remember, he’s in it for business reasons and the prestige, he’s not a lifelong supporter, he’s simply a custodian, passing through and we will be here long after he’s gone.

In terms of ticketing, at the place where I enter the ground, queue jumping has become a problem. I hasten to add that I don’t believe folk are necessarily jumping the queue out of any malice, there’s simply no organisation and what I still cannot fathom is that whilst it takes me no longer to push through the turnstile using my phone than it did when I had a plastic smartcard, why is gaining entry still such a protracted process?

Some of the reaction to Ghodoussi’s post has hit the nail on the head. On the one hand, there has been an increase in football tourists / neutrals, whilst on the other, the uncapped membership scheme means that far less of those who walked away in protest over CAshley’s appalling regime are failing to acquire tickets, compared to last season. I’ve also read reports of Chelsea fans being in the home end on Saturday which begs the (rhetorical) question, ‘how does that happen’?

The box office remains unfit for purpose and the official club website is nigh on impossible to navigate much of the time.

Last week, there was a fan meeting that was entitled ‘We Are United.’ The Mag reported on this. So did that all but impossible to navigate website. It heralded the event a success, proudly proclaiming, ‘Held in the stadium’s Moncur Suite and hosted by broadcaster and commentator Matthew Raisbeck, the event was convened to introduce the club’s soon-to-be-launched ‘Fan Advisory Board’ concept and was subject to thousands of fan applications’.

I have mixed feelings about the ‘Fan Advisory Board’. In The Mag comments section, there are often derisory comments about the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST), but at least they’re democratically elected and accountable. They contribute to charitable causes across the region and have amongst other things, raised matters of ticketing with the club and their recent workshops provided some excellent feedback, not that the club seem to be listening!

The ‘Fan Advisory Board’ will at least draw on two representatives from the Trust, but there will be five (of nine) positions which will be open to applications from ‘individuals who meet required criteria’ as set out by the club.

I think the Newcastle United owners have scored another own goal here, with the composition of the ‘Fan Advisory Board‘ seeing most of those supposedly representing the fans actually chosen by the club, after interviews. Rather than elected by the fanbase. Who will they be accountable to, other than themselves?

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