Attendees: Graeme C, Rob Mc, Tom L, Martin W, Phil E, Brian B, Dennis T, Kevin B, Davey B, Bill C, Steve W, Steve H,

Apologies: Neil M, Malcolm D, Geoff O’B, Ian C, Zahra Z, Jayne B

Once again the meeting commenced with comment and congratulations being passed towards Newcastle United for the ongoing success that the team was encountering in what is turning out to be a highly enjoyable and potentially successful season for all.

The group welcomed Phil Eadon, representing the Newcastle United Women’s Football Club. Of course in many walks of life finance is a major stumbling block and so it is too with NUWFC.

Formed in 1989, they have fought their way to top of their current division, 11 points ahead with one game to play and will find themselves in the women's premier league next season. With this promotion comes new regulations, new criteria for them to adhere to and further financial strain. The average age of the team is 19, with most players coming through the centre of excellence and their chance to wear the black & white of NUFC is high on their priorities but unfortunately comes with certain restrictions. 

The purchase of new strips, travelling costs, even the purchase of regulation footballs all need addressing for the season ahead. They gain limited but nonetheless welcome support from local businesses covering sponsorship of match footballs. The girls are proud to represent Newcastle City by wearing replica black and white NUFC kit and this is done so with the full approval of NUFC. However no formal backing or sponsorship is received from NUFC’s main sponsors Virgin Money and alternative shirt sponsorship is not possible if they are to remain wearing the adored replica NUFC shirts themselves unless they ditch the black and white strip and the name. 

The club, NUFC, have been forthcoming with only limited assistance through the Newcastle United Foundation and Virgin Money has shown limited interest too; although they have offered the Girls a couple of entries in next year’s London Marathon which can be used to raise funds through sponsorship as well as providing a signed NUFC shirt for use as a fundraising tool. A figure of £4000/year was mentioned as adequate to see them through the new season ahead but even with major assistance from family and friends, it will be a continual struggle financially. 

To put things into perspective; Arsenal Ladies Football team are all employees of Arsenal FC and Liverpool Ladies receive financial backing to the tune of £100,000 a year from Liverpool FC. NUWFC will be competing against both clubs in the premier league next season. 

A planned fund raising evening at Blue Flames on the 22nd June and their hope for some support for the last home match of the season to be played at Coach lane on the 15th April, entrance fee £3.00 for adults. We wish NUWFC the best of luck for the season ahead and propose to help publicise their final game and fund raising functions via social networks etc as well as going all we can as football fans to canvas support for NUWFC. 

Renaming of St James’ Park
Representatives from the “St James' Park, Always Has Been, Always will Be” Group; formed in opposition to the renaming of the stadium, expressed their thanks to all  who supported their first social evening; with special thanks going to Chris Donald of Viz magazine for his donations to the raffle, John Anderson for his support and help with the raffle, The Back Page and Sam Jacks. A second social evening is planned for the 2nd June at Newcastle Labour Club, Leazes Park Road. It will again be a family event with tickets for adults available at £2.00, children 50p.

Steve W and Steve H informed the group that they have met with both the Lord Mayor and representatives of the City Council concerning their stance towards keeping the name of St James' Park alive within the City. Further meetings and discussions are planned.

Graeme C from MAOC informed the Group of his intention to undertake a sponsored cycle ride from St James' Park Alnwick to St James Park Exeter via SJP Newcastle. This event is planned for August and it is again to keep the renaming of the stadium on the agenda and to raise funds for charities and future events. 

It was also mentioned that the local press have continued to publish the clubs press releases regarding the clubs finances, its directions and aims in The Evening Chronicle without any option to reply. It is thought that the local paper should consider representing the views of its readers as well as printing the views of NUFC.

Away Ticket Allocations
Dennis T raised the question of away ticket allocations, the club's reluctance to disclose how many away tickets we are allocated for each match and the ongoing restrictions on non season ticket holders legitimately obtaining away tickets. It was agreed that we would like to hear from the Club exactly what their plans are for the remainder of the season and next season regarding away ticket allocations and whether they are considering lifting the ban on the purchase of away tickets to non season ticket holders. 

Representation and Independence
Finally a note from NUFC Fans Utd, each group attending the meetings remain independent. This group is merely a catalyst for fan groups to get together and share their opinions on topics that they have a declared interest in or are seeking common support for. Attendance is not intended to impinge in any way on anyone’s right to follow or take a particular stance on any given subject or demand. Nor does it impact on their right to participate independently on any matter they see fit, they have an opinion or in any fund raising activities. 

NUFC have a fanbase rich in culture, opinion and support and these are among the things that make supporting NUFC so rewarding. Everyone’s opinion is welcomed and nobody’s opinion on NUFC is judged right or wrong at any given time. 

NUFC Fans Utd plan an end of season event, to be arranged after our final home game of the season on Sunday 6th May. The location is yet to be arranged, but hopefully will feature live music and an appearance from one or two NUFC ex players; diaries and other commitments permitting

Thanks to all who attended and hope to see you all at our end of season event.


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