Newcastle’s Fans Forum calls for crisis meeting with Mike Ashley – and issues message to players

LETTER ... Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley, right.
LETTER ... Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley, right.

NEWCASTLE United’s Fans Forum has written an open letter to the club’s board calling for a meeting with owner Mike Ashley.

The group, set up two years ago to “enchance dialogue” between the supporters and the club’s hierarchy, last month called for a “statement of intent” from Newcastle.

In response, United managing director Lee Charnley agreed to bring forward the date of the next Fans Forum meeting, which had been scheduled to take place at the end of the season.

Charnley also accepted that the relegation-threatened club, which has lost its last eight Premier League games, had made “mistakes”.

A date, however, is yet to be arranged, with the club’s primary focus the remaining three fixtures.

The Fans Forum today wrote an open letter to the club’s board asking Ashley to attend the planned meeting.

PROTESTS ... United fans.

PROTESTS ... United fans.

It read: “It is the overall view of the Fans Forum that we wish to take you up on your offer to meet.

“However, we do not want this meeting to be our remaining meeting simply brought forward. We feel that there is more than plenty to discuss at our final meeting of the season.

“We agree, as a group, that the club have been open and transparent during our meetings.

“However, we feel quite strongly that we would like Mike Ashley, the owner of NUFC, to be present at this interim meeting.

We feel quite strongly that we would like Mike Ashley, the owner of NUFC, to be present at this interim meeting. We feel that it isn’t too much to ask.

Newcastle United’s Fans Forum

“We feel that it isn’t too much to ask. We also feel that it may help NUFC in the long run. It is something that we are sure that you recognise that many of our fans want.

“Whilst it is quite obvious that yourself and Mike have been consistently against this, we must ask you to please reconsider this policy for the good of NUFC.”

United yesterday issued a statement confirming that John Carver – whose side was beaten 3-0 by Leicester City on Saturday – would remain as head coach for the final three games of the season.

The letter continues: “Our open letter had questioned the lack of leadership and discipline in our team.

IN CHARGE ... John Carver.

IN CHARGE ... John Carver.

“Saturdays game against Leicester, and post-match interviews, clearly reinforce our concerns.

“We must ask the club to act now and put its house ‘in order’ as a matter of urgency.

“Our current head coach chose to undermine our players, which clearly demonstrates serious issues in the dressing room.

“We have three remaining games. Three games give us three opportunities to protect our Premier League status.

“We must have someone at the head of our team that will ensure that the eleven players in black and white shirts are indeed fighting for our survival.

“The owners of NUFC must take responsibility in a gamble that has obviously not paid off.

“Whilst John Carver is clearly NUFC through and through, the lack of key management qualities needed for the Premier League have put our club in this horrendous position.

“Whilst the club have indicated that there will be no managerial change, we would urge you to provide the current coaching team with expert guidance towards man-management, whether that be from an existent member or from an external source on an interim basis.

“Our fantastic away support was demonstrated yet again at Leicester – yet another sell-out.

“Some of those fans displayed a banner which read ‘we don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a club that tries!’.

“Whilst our fan base may have many differing views, we are quite convinced that we all share the sentiment of that banner.

“Fans of NUFC are no longer prepared to accept this nonsense. Enough is enough. We want Actions not Words.

“As always, and as offered during the season and particularly this period, the Fans Forum continue to volunteer their time and views to help the club more appreciate the pulse of the fans when they make decisions.

“The Fans Forum (FF) respect the club is not required to use these views. but to reiterate that they are and have been made available again at this particularly difficult time.

“The FF look forward to a full and frank assessment of the season at the next meeting now that the club have advised their plans for the next three games.

“The Fans Forum also welcome the admission by the club of failures and mistakes at all levels.

“This season is not the first where significant errors have been made by the club, and it is hoped that should this final action fail to yield safety for Newcastle United that those at all levels in the club will be held to account.

“Regardless of what happens from here. there is no positive outcome to this season, just different levels of failure.

“So the Fans Forum would suggest a review of all areas is perhaps due, even if safety is achieved.

“The Fans Forum would again like to extend its invitation and to request the owner to meet with us at his earliest convenience with a view to helping make Newcastle United a success for all concerned.”

The letter also had a message for the club’s under-performing players.

It read: “Whatever your agenda, wherever your future lies, fight for Newcastle United.

“If you’re one of our first-team regulars, go out for these last three games and lead by example.

“Even if we are a stepping stone for you, go out and put on a display that you can be proud of. A display that we, the fans, can be proud of. It’s in everyone’s interest to survive.”

The letter went on: “Whilst it is impossible to represent all fans views, we hope the sentiment of this open letter represents the majority of feelings given our appointment as a cross section of the fans by the club.

“OK Mike, Lee, John and the full playing squad, it’s over to you. Show us what you’re capable of.”