There was anywhere from 250 to 400 Newcastle fans who took the opportunity to attend a fans meeting last night in the Newcastle city center, with two officials from Newcastle United, so that some questions could be answered coming out of the shock appointment of Joe Kinnear as the new Director of Football just over a week ago.
Joe Kinnear – couldn’t make the meeting
The Head of Media Wendy Taylor and the Supporter Liaison Officer Lee Marshall represented Newcastle at the meeting, which was set up by the NUFC Fans United supporters organization.
As half expected Joe Kinnear was not able to attend the meeting, but Joe sent a message to the fans via his representative at the meeting – Eddie McIntyre – that Joe would be willing to attend any future meetings.
In TV interviews before the meeting, representatives of NUFC Fans United made it clear, to their credit, that they wanted a professional meeting, and they were not at the meeting to insult Newcastle officials or anything like that, but wanted to set up a mechanism or means by which the club and the fans can talk through various issues.
Eddie McIntyre spoke in support of the new Director of Football, but he was continuously heckled as he tried to get his message out:
This is some of what McIntyre had to say:
“You are asking why Joe Kinnear didn’t come here. He was going to come. Since Joe was appointed, he has never had a day off. He was going to come up on Sunday night and going to come here.”
“I spoke to Joe Kinnear and he was waiting to be picked up by Graham Carr, who lives in Northampton. He was picking Joe up in Mill Hill and they were having a business lunch, which will go on tomorrow . That’s the reason Joe hasn’t been able to come.”
People at the meeting say there was a lot of heckling going on when Eddie was trying to speak – and it’s an understatement but Joe Kinnear is hardly a popular guy on Tyneside.
Graeme Cansdale of the Mike Ashley Out Campaign had this to say:
“It isn’t just about Joe Kinnear“ “That is just a symptom of the self-inflicted catastrophe that has come upon Newcastle United.” “There are a whole catalog of them and they have all came under Mike Ashley.”
NUFC Fans United Steve Wraith, who was widely quoted yesterday on what the fan organization was trying to do at the meeting and in future meetings, had this to say:
“The NUFC Fans coalition is an umbrella group and we meet once a month.” “We have some pro and some anti fans towards Mike Ashley.”
“We are here to build up a relationship with the club and have already had some success with smaller issues like bringing the gates back to St James’ Park.”
“We are working positively with the club and Wendy Taylor and Lee Marshall are regular attendees of our meetings.”
Our feeling is that this was a very important meeting for fans to talk straight and professionally to Newcastle officials, and get the views from the fans passed on directly to Mike Ashley and Joe Kinnear.
The best thing would be that both Joe Kinnear and Mike Ashley attend one of these meetings with the intent of answering the fans’ questions – but we don’t think Ashley will ever attend a fans’ meeting but Joe will.
An alternative would be to get written questions submitted by the fans and get some answers back.
But by one way or another, communication has to be increased between the fans and the Newcastle officials – and its been non-existent for the last six years since Mike Ashley bought the club.
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