This sorry episode has proved to be yet another controversial and unpopular move by Mike Ashley and his team. Many fans feel that by renaming the home of Newcastle United 130 years of history has been simply run roughshod over. Indeed the timing of this is once again appalling from a regime that seems to have scored more own goals than Gary Bennett and Michael Proctor combined. Why court controversy on a convenient fixture free weekend when in the Premier League the team is performing beyond expectation? This is utterly unnecessary and could prove to be an unwelcome distraction as we all look to get behind the team in a crucial run in to the season’s end and with a certain fixture, important to everyone who is black and white, looming on the horizon.
It is not so much the decision itself that has caused widespread upset but also the insensitivity of its handling and the simple lack of communication with the supporters who do care so much about all aspects of the club and want to see a bright future whilst respecting a tradition that goes back to the Victorian era including the name of the ground, St James’ Park. It would be wrong to say that all fans object to this, there is always a rich variety of opinion and healthy, intelligent debate amongst the fanbase of NUFC, and it would be wrong to suggest that clinging to a name is more important than securing the future of the club and financial prudence in a time when a club the size of Glasgow Rangers is about to enter administration and Portsmouth FC who also have their roots in Victorian times have sunk into the financial mire for the second time in as many years. However simply making sure that when a decision is to be made that could create such furore that time is taken to reach out to the support, the very people who pay to come through the turnstiles week in, week out while other clubs struggle to fill their grounds.
Dialogue and communication with the fans, talking to fans groups and representatives of the support would surely help everyone when it comes to managing sensitive issues and potential inflammatory decisions and it would certainly make understanding each other and the whole decision making process less stressful and potentially damaging for the club, especially at a time when unity and pulling in the same direction is so very important. NUFC Fans United urge Mr Ashley, Mr Llambias and the senior management team at NUFC to communicate not just with us but with all supporters in as many ways as you can. We have representatives from a wide range of fans who have an equally varied set of opinions on all matters.
We have only one item on our agenda. Communication. Over to you.