The text below is verbatim from United For Newcastle's release. (The meeting took place 17.01.2011) 

Our meeting with Simon Esland, Head of Customer Relations at the club was very useful.

We gleaned the following points:

- The club has guaranteed us they will, at very least, “look into relocating the singing section in another part of the stadium”, likely Leazes but they'll look at the entire situation.
- The increased away tickets are indeed due to having to comply with Premier League regulations, the minimum they can offer being 3,000. The reason the maximum away capacity is now 4,000 is simply for evening matches where it's on TV, and they feel they won't sell the stadium out, so they can offer more to away fans and hopefully make more money. In games like the Sunderland matches, they'll definitely not be given to the away team.
- The Carroll money will be reinvested, and the club are looking for more Tiote type players. Quality players that they can get for reasonable prices. Just because they have a lot of money, does not mean they'll splash out over the odds for someone. Everyone in the club is aware that they are light, and “strikers are a priority.” They've also pin-pointed several areas that need cover, and will attempt to acquire decent cover in the summer. They accept that they need better players in order to push for Europe.
- The club's ambition is to steadily improve. They want success on the pitch, but won't bankrupt to do it. The apparent stinginess is simply Ashley's way of doing things. The club now breaks even every month, and isn't taking loans out. They want to be in good shape for the UEFA rules on finances for when they do get back into Europe. Wherever they finish this year, next year they will aim to better it.
- Much of the club's investment goes on behind the scenes. For instance, apparently they are going to (or have) under-soil heated the training ground for the winter. 

- The club have offered Enrique a new deal, and will sit down with him to discuss. Whether he wants to sign or not is up to him. They have a wage structure, with a cap which they wouldn't confirm the amount of. Enrique's deal will be within that structure, but 'fair' for the structure that's in place. 
- The club confirm they are not a selling club, but as with any football club, every player has their price. The only other circumstance in which they'll sell is if the player says they want to go. They don't want anyone who doesn't want to play for the shirt.
- The club have confirmed they want to hold on to the likes of Barton, Coloccini, Enrique and Tiote, but admit it will be a “difficult summer”. The club suggested that it's a testament to their progress that people actually want to sign their players now, unlike during the relegation season when half the team wouldn't have been touched by another club.
- The club's ambition is steady, sustainable progress that aims for Europe.

- The club insist the 10-year season ticket is a good deal, with the option to opt out at any time. There is no catch. The club has updated their ticketing system so all customers can now pay with direct debit which wasn't possible before due to staff limitations and technical limitations. Even if the club reaches the Champions League in five years, those prices will be the same under the deal.

- The club accept their communication has been, at times, insufficient, and we suggested they look to put more information on the official club site. The club said they gave lots of information to newspapers and media, but accepted that they could not control if it was published. We suggested that in order to rebuild trust with the fan base, they should go above and beyond the call of duty for a while, in order to rebuild that support through transparency and integrity. The club said there would still be “situations they would not comment on”, ie. Carroll leaving, since they have their stance and won't get drawn into an argument on it.

- The club accepts that “mistakes have been made in the past, and says that mistakes are still likely to be made in the future”. But that is ‘human error’, and everyone in the club has one aim: success on the pitch, and that is the long-term goal.

- With regards to SportsDirect sponsorship, the club insist that money does go to the club from SportsDirect, and since Ashley does not own SD but is merely a majority shareholder, it is not simply a case of moving money from one pocket to another. The club does benefit.
- The advertising on the Gallowgate roof and the dug-out seats is to advertise the stadium's potential for advertisers. When pressed for an example of when any of those packages have actually been sold to another company, they did not have one.
- The money that comes in from this advertising is all used to keep the club breaking even financially.


Please make sure you include the below at the end of the dialogue 

“It was a productive meeting, with several points put across effectively from both sides. Unfortunately, the club would not confirm that they would take a strategy to communicate more effectively with any great enthusiasm however, they have promised to us that they will attempt to relocate the singing section rather than let it go. We hope that this meeting will help us form an effective relationship between us and Newcastle United, to ensure the voices of fans can be heard by the club on a regular basis.”

United For Newcastle
United For Newcastle appreciate that a ten-year “price freeze” on season tickets and the introduction of a discount scheme will benefit a lot of Newcastle supporters. In this tough economic climate, fans will be thankful of discounts and price freezes, and as such we welcome this move.  However, alongside the ten-year price freeze, the club have also announced a change to the plans at the stadium, the most-talked about being the changes to Level 7 of the Leazes End, and transforming it into part of an enlarged family area.

United for Newcastle feel that by breaking up the fans in Level 7 of the Leazes End, the hierarchy at the club has shown a significant lack of consideration towards some of the loudest, and most passionate supporters in the stadium.  This, alongside the fact that the generally quieter family section will now replace the fans in Level 7, shows just how poorly thought out a decision this is. Let’s not forget it was under Ashley’s ownership that the club announced “the Leazes Corner, is for fans who are willing to sing and generate a generally very noisy atmosphere.”  Scrapping this 'singing corner' will, we believe, be of detrimental effect to the atmosphere within St. James Park.

United for Newcastle also ask where fans from Level 7 will be expected to go?  Will the club suggest a new location for the ‘singing section’, where all fans are also happy to stand during matches?  We understand there are no plans to relocate the singing section.  We ask why?  These are questions fans are asking, and want answers for.

The new plans also include the proposal for the away support allocation to increase from 2,800 to 4,000 seats. Just how many clubs visiting St James’ sell out their current allocation, let alone 4,000 tickets?  Considering that it is only in crunch-ties and against large clubs that the away allocation seems to sell out, United for Newcastle are concerned that allowing fewer Newcastle fans into the stadium in these important matches will have a detrimental impact on the players on the pitch, who rely on the fans' fantastic support. 

United for Newcastle will thus write an open letter to the club and local journalists urging talks between the administration at Newcastle United and supporters, particularly those who will lose their seats in the Level 7 section of the Leazes End. We hope that the club will match our expectations by - if not reconsidering the move - to suggest a suitable replacement for the singing section (with some already suggesting Level 4 of the Leazes End as a possible replacement).

This is an issue that we hope can be solved quickly and efficiently for the benefit of both the club, and its supporters.

Follow United for Newcastle on Twitter @UtdForNewcastle and on Facebook

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