This is a press release from our colleagues at the fans' group United For Newcastle. Once again the lads there have done a sterling job in sharing the feedback from their meeting with the club.  Once again it is posted here verbatim.


Yesterday evening, United For Newcastle spoke to Simon Esland, the Head of Customer Relations at Newcastle United regarding the possible relocation of the Leazes Corner singing section.

Firstly, we asked Simon if he was aware of the petition that we started on February 16, 2011 to which he responded “I know of it, but I haven’t actually taken a look at its content. It would be great to see what it is all about, and what fans are saying.” We explained to him that the purpose of the petition was not encouraging the club to shelve its new seating arrangements for the 2011/12 but to simply relocate the Level Seven singing section to another location in the stadium, with Level Four of Leazes Corner being the most obvious choice.

Simon genuinely seemed impressed that we had exceeded our target of 2,000 signatures (currently, the petition is only 100 names short of 3,000 signatures). In order for Simon to fully understand the petition we have sent it to him and suggested that he reads some of the comments made by fans. We hope this will show the club just how important the singing section is to so many supporters, how strongly people feel about its relocation and its importance to the atmosphere at St James’ Park.

We mentioned to Simon that the singing section was officially announced by the club in May 2008 and suggested that May would be a great time to announce any such plans again. Simon responded “We’re taking the views of fans into consideration, and will be until the end of April. May could be a time for this to happen.”

We felt that it was important to see how the club felt about Leazes Corner and Simon made no secret of his opinion of the fans in that area of the stadium. “The supporters in Leazes Corner create an incredible atmosphere and the section is an important part of the St James’ match day experience. However, until the season ticket situation becomes clearer, which it won’t do until the end of April, we can’t set anything in stone. It would be great to speak again in a month and see what progress we can make”

This gives all of us a whole month to prepare and back the relocation of the singing section as much as possible. This is not only a United For Newcastle initiative, but something that we believe is in the interest of every Newcastle supporter and the club itself.

Ideally, we would have all of St James’ rocking at all times, but not all fans enjoy singing at football matches. In the words of Chris Mort, “Creating a section in the ground where like-minded fans – who enjoy singing – can come together to generate a great atmosphere and get behind the team for 90 minutes."

4-0 up or 0-4 down, if there’s one thing you can predict at St James’ Park it will be the noise coming from the Leazes Corner. We saw the effectiveness of a singing section in the home draw against Arsenal. At 0-4 down, whilst some supporters had their heads in their hands, and others were leaving the stadium, it was the singing section relentlessly spurring the Toon on. When the Leazes and Gallowgate are in full-swing the atmosphere at St James’ is arguably the best in the country and it is us fans who help turn 0-4 down, into a 4-4 draw.

The petition and the relocation of the singing section now has the backing of the NUST, and various other Newcastle United related websites and fanzines. We have also been told that there will be an article in the Evening Chronicle this week about what we are trying to do.

We hope that the club will realise that the relocation of the singing section is the right thing to do, to ensure St James’ Park keeps the atmosphere that not only makes us famous around the world, but will always inspire those playing in the black and white.

The team at United For Newcastle would like to thank everybody for their continued support of the group and the petition, we hope to have a website soon.

I would like to personally extend my gratitude to the team at United For Newcastle who have once again been proactive in their dealings with Newcastle United and have been generous in sharing the details of their meeting. Thanks lads - keep it up!
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.

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