Attendees : Steve W, Steve H, Graeme C, Susan S, Dennis T, Rob M, Zahra, Duncan J, Ashley P, Elaine P

Apologies: Neil M, Bill C, Ian C, Malcolm D, Geoff O’B, 

1. Club Loyalty Points and Changes of Circumstances: Susan explained the issue of missing loyalty points on her Club account and the issues she was encountering in trying to ensure that her account was brought up to date with the correct information and the reclaiming and retention of the points. The situation does seem rather irrational and it was suggested that we contact the club on Susan’s behalf to see what could be done for her.

POST SCRIPT: Many thanks to Wendy Taylor and Derek Llambias for intervening personally and helping to resolve the situation being encountered. A great example of the power of positive communication.

2. European Away Ticketing Allocations: Very much an up to date and ever changing issue, as more information comes to hand regarding the allocation granted for away tickets, particularly for Brugge: where demand for tickets is extremely high.  We are aware of restrictions that are being put in place regarding travel and how fans without tickets are going to be handled once they arrive in Belgium. Restrictions of movement including a 3km cordon around the ground have been mentioned and we feel that it is imperative that the club are open about the arrangements so that all who plan to travel are aware of what they can expect. 

We are also aware of the Club’s own chartered flight arrangements that have been put in place through Thomas Cook Travel. The question being asked at this stage is what priority is being given to those who book to travel in this way with regard to allocation of a match ticket. Does such a booking bypass the normal priority point allocation scheme that the club have in place? 

Other concerns include the very low allocation of only 1470 tickets (Birmingham City received over 5,000 when they placed there in the same competition last season). Supporters would like the club to speak more clearly on what is being done to obtain any increase in the allocation. 

3. NUFC Official Twitter Account: we are aware that recently the Club official Twitter Account was caught in a very public conversation with Steve W regarding tweets that he posted concerning matters related to the first team squad and whispers about unrest and disappointment within, which was picked up in the national press.  Steve W is a very positive supporter of the NUFC Fans Utd concept and has been a driving force in its set up and his desire to remain so proactive in the groups desire to develop communication with the club is applauded; as is the Club’s desire to reciprocate. 

Newcastle is a unique City and Newcastle United has a fan base that is passionate and loyal; living on the oxygen of club news. It is unfortunate that the spat between the two parties was played out in the manner that is was and we are pleased that both Steve W and Nufc Official were able to meet and appreciate each sides position and opinion. Communication should not be seen as divisive and we hope that the positive outcome helps to build a stronger relationship and respect between club and supporters as we move forward. 

4. Home ticket Booking Fees: many supporters have voiced their disquiet regarding the £1 booking fee that is now being placed on home cup ticket purchases as well as those already in place on away tickets. We consider this penny pinching exercise is unnecessary and while we all appreciate the financial situations that the club is in, this extra burden on fans has not gone unnoticed and is extremely disappointing.

5. Xmas Event: we plan to hold an xmas event preferably immediately after a home game just before the Christmas festivities kick off; More information to follow.

6. Fan Group Link Up: Once again we put the call out to fellow supporters, fanzine editors, bloggers and internet Administrators to join us at our monthly get together to discuss and listen to issues that may be affecting our match day experience or support of the club on and off the field in the hope that a balanced opinion can be put forward to the club. Our meetings are open to anyone and everyone. All we ask is that we all respect each other’s position and leave our pre conceived ideas at the door. 

7 AOB: mid way through the meeting we were contacted via phone by Andrew, an Expat based in Dallas Texas. Andrew gave an enlightening perspective on being a supporter who relies on the media, fanzines, blogs and local news outlets for news and opinion. It was great to listen to how he viewed performances on and off the pitch. Andrew accepted an offer to post his thoughts on our website and to remain in touch during future meetings.

Time and date of next meeting: to be confirmed

NUFC Fans United Minutes from 28.08.12

Attendees: Steve H, Malcolm D, Tom L, Steve W, Paul R Apologies: Zahra Z, Bill C, Neil M, Graeme C,

This meeting was called to pull together a number of discussion points that had been brought to our attention during the close season as well as giving us the opportunity to review how the loose format of the group has worked over the last 9 months and see what we could do better as this new season progresses.

1 Free the “Real” Two: A number of people have raised the issue of the dropping of the Three Legends from Real Radio and particularly the loss to the airwaves of our local hero and former NUFC star Malcolm MacDonald. Sport in the region is the lifeblood of many and the rivalry and banter that programs like The Three Legends give supporters of all the regions clubs the opportunity to air their views. It is disappointing therefore that Real Radio have chosen not only to drop the format but to also tie down the presenters to restrictions that disallow them from moving to other formats in the short to medium term.

We understand that Plans are being put in place for the Three Legends to resume on local Internet based broadcaster Star Radio and we agreed to do all we could to get the message out that The Three Legends will be back on the air soon.

2 Assistance to Local Sports Groups: following the assistance given to NUWFC in gaining sponsorship Steve W suggested that opportunities for other local sports groups could be provided to help in their own sponsorship seeking endeavours. It was agreed that this might be extremely helpful for struggling or fledgling groups who are seeking financial support. It was agreed that we would encourage approaches and do all we could to help. Naturally all requests for support would be vetted interested parties invited to pitch their requests for help to nufc fans utd.

3 Ticketing – booking Fees: the introduction of an away ticket booking fee levy was announced recently, with no dialogue, discussion or explanation forthcoming from the club as to why it was being introduced. On top of the need to be a member this booking fee appears simple exploitation of loyal supporters and a cynical way of extending club revenue from those who already support the club and team wholeheartedly by their presence at away games both here and abroad. It is viewed as another example of how the club fails it supporters and how its failed communication with supporters is damaging on many levels. We ask the club to explain the rationale behind this levy and why it see’s it necessary to introduce it on tp of what are already in many cases exorbitantly high ticket prices for most away fixtures

Anomalies: in the whole club ticketing arrangement situation are becoming more apparent as supporters, particularly for those who live outside the region and perhaps wish to attend an away game near their place of home. A recent example was that of a supporter who attempted to gain an adult and two child tickets for last seasons Swansea game. He was unable tom buy from Swansea because he was informed that he had to be a member and was unable to buy from NUFC because of the away allocation and points rules.

Other issues: with the ticketing include members losing loyalty points from their record due to changes of circumstances; a recent one being someone who lost points due to a change of name due to marriage, another following divorce.

Supporters are now reverting to social networks to create their own point swaps and matching fans with points with those seeking tickets for away games. This is as a direct result of the intransigence brought about by the clubs current arrangements and how it does not meet with the needs and desires of so many supporters.

a. Does the club have any control over its own membership, ticketing and points scheme? 

b. Is it aware of the problems fans are encountering at the box office when trying to seek assistance to put right the simplest of issues that fans are bringing to our attention?

c. Can something be done to review the whole membership policy and try and make the system not so arbitrary and be more flexible in its approach to ticketing in general?

d. Was the club aware that a number of Spurs fans were present in the Gallowgate end; how did this happen?

e. Will the “embargo” on away ticket allocation brought in after the Darlington fiasco continue?

f. What is the policy regarding tickets for European games?

g. The friends and family scheme does not seem to be working as it was designed to do.

Will the club listen to the issues and work with supporters to put it right?

4 Membership Loyalties: It is recognised and welcomed that 10% discount is available for holders of a club membership on purchase at Shearers Bar. However, an NHS staff discount is available of 15% is available to those who hold such an NHS Discount card but may not be a club member. How has this come about?

5 Betting on Match days:
the introduction of Bet Butler as the Clubs main gambling partner has brought about a number of issues including the strange situation whereby winning bets are not paid out in certain parts of the ground at the end of the game. Supporters are being informed that all winning claims have to be presented at the next available home game attendance or on line. For many, this may not be possible. Would the club please comment on how this has come about?

6 Obstructed View: At the first game of the season it was noticed that the new sound system in the Gallowgate end is creating an obstruction of view for some seated in the upper tier. Can we ask that the club look into this matter and see what can be done to raise the offending speakers above the sight line of the pitch for those supporters affected. We can provide photographic evidence if it would help the club to pinpoint some of the areas affected

7 AOB: None
Time and date of next meeting 24th September at 7pm in No 9 Bar