The Newcastle United Supporters Trust held their AGM on Wednesday evening – a meeting which I myself was present at. A number of issues were raised during the AGM and a number of various talking points had arisen. Obviously, one of the more pertinent talking points of the night surrounded NUST’s ban from the UEFA directed Fan’s Forum.
Peter Fanning – NUST’s representative on the Forum, and the ‘culprit’ who published the report – made it quite clear that prior to the Fan’s Forum, multiple discussions were held with the Supporter’s Liaison Officer/club spin doctor Lee Marshall and that he was informed that Newcastle United Supporters Trust intended to publish their own report following the Fan’s Forum as they felt they had a duty to accurately represent how the meeting went. Furthermore, the point was made to Lee that NUST felt that the official club minutes would not suffice in this regard. At no point did Lee Marshall demonstrate any displeasure with this arrangement, nor did he state that it was contrary to the supposed protocol that NUST allegedly breached.
At this juncture it becomes a little bit of he said/she said – with the club stating one side of the argument, and NUST stating the other side, leaving the outside observer to make up their own mind as to who is telling the truth. However, where the club get caught with their pants down, hand in the cookie jar telling porky pies is when the Football Supporters Federation intervened in the situation.
A representative from the FSF was at the AGM last night and gave his views surrounding the NUST ban. Needless to say, the words ‘disproportionate’ and ‘heavy handed’ were mentioned quite a few times. However, what I personally found most interesting is the club’s response to FSF’s letter stating their displeasure at NUST being banned from the Forum, and asking for clarification as to why this was the case – having been in receipt of the letter for over 3 months, the club is now denying that they ever received a letter!
What makes this even more laughable is the fact that not only did the FSF representative personally deliver TWO copies of the letter (1 for Lee Charnley, and 1 for John Irving) and not only did Norman Watson, Chairperson of NUST accompany him in doing so, but he also sent 3 draft copies of the letter to various different factions, who can certify its existence in circulation. For the club to then turn around and deny the letter ever existed is a testament to the lengths the club will go to in covering up, deceiving, and misleading not only the fans of their own club, but also national organisations who represent all fans.
Something that is also worth noting is that the representative from FSF liaised very closely with Lee Marshall in the stages prior to setting up the Fan’s Forum, and the FSF rep believed that Lee was in fact trying his best to make it work. Lee had asked the FSF representative to act as an independent observer during the first Fan’s Forum, but interestingly enough, he was uninvited from the second Fan’s Forum.
Was there any correlation between the FSF being effectively banned from the Forum and their letter of displeasure? If so, then that would corroborate the widespread feeling that the club had been in receipt of this letter all along and were lying when they claimed otherwise.
It is not as if we need any more evidence to suggest that the club, and those whom it employs are liars. We see it every time Pardew tells us he wants to win a cup, or that we are trying hard to sign someone. Or whenever Lee Marshall comes out with a fantasy figure to suggest we were the 2nd/3rd highest spenders in the calendar year in 2012/13. We know they are crooks. We know they are liars. We know they cannot be trusted.
It is just saddening when it happens time and time again.