Dear Wendy (an open letter to Wendy Taylor, NUFC Head of Media)

Dear Ms Taylor, note with interest the statements released by Newcastle United Football Club yesterday evening and earlier today in response to Channel 4’s Dispatches programme titled “The Secrets of Sports Direct” that was broadcast yesterday at 8pm.

Firstly we would like to applaud the club’s ability to react with urgency and determination when it considers its dignity as a proud institution under threat. That said, we do consider it remarkable that a slight inaccuracy about Sports Direct’s relationship with the club has brought about this resolve, and not the fact that thousands of the club’s fans are turning their backs to the club in disgust. Or the fact that the decision to weaken the squad and not appoint a proper manager leaves the club on the brink of another relegation. Or even the fact that its chosen “interim” manager has hurled abuse at the club’s fans for the second time this season.

Of particular interest in the Club’s statement was that “in the Club’s view, the broadcaster deliberately misled Newcastle United supporters and provided yet another example of erroneous media reporting which only serves to further antagonise fans”. A rather ironic stance coming from the current administration at the club, considering they have previously admitted in the Premier League Manager’s Arbitration Tribunal that they had “repeatedly and intentionally misled the press, public and the fans of Newcastle United”.

We regret not contacting the club prior to the launch of our website to allow it to comment on its contents, but we realise it is better late than never and we certainly would not want any information on our website to be “wholly inaccurate”. To avoid falling foul of the thorough scrutiny the club seemingly applies in its public relations, we have to date published 37 articles on our website and we assure you we have earnestly endeavoured to ensure all articles are factually correct with sources referenced where applicable. In the spirit of your club statement we appreciate that “Newcastle United would like to clarify the facts for the benefit of supporters”, such as:

the fact that the club’s debt has almost doubled since Mike Ashley’s takeover
the fact that the club’s commercial and matchday revenue has declined since Mike Ashley’s takeover, staggeringly countering the trend of other Premier League clubs
the fact that on average since Mike Ashley’s takeover the club has lost five league positions
the fact that in the 13 years before Mike Ashley’s takeover Newcastle United played in Europe no less than 9 times (3CL, 6 Uefa/CWC) whereas since it has qualified for Europe only once
the fact that in the 13 years before Mike Ashley’s takeover Newcastle United reached the last 8 of domestic cup competitions no less than 11 times (2 finals, 2 SF, 7 QF), whereas since it has reached beyond the fourth round only once
and many more hereby offers you an invite to provide comment on the published articles on our website so that we may rectify any factual inaccuracies as long as accurate information is provided to counter any errors.

Should we not receive a response within 7 days of the date of this correspondence we will assume that all content on our website is 100% factually correct to the satisfaction of Newcastle United Football Club.

Yours sincerely,

Frank Rijkaard
Love it.
You’s have my backing lads . the pie man needs to piss off
Absolutely Brilliant lads… Bravo. Quality article, made me smile and laugh about our predicament for the first time in a long long time. (I like the sarcastic underlying tone of the first few paragraphs) Well written. As always keep up the good work
Peter Parker
Good work.
Irate Geordie
I have a conspiracy theory. Are the players along with John Carver TRYING to get the club relegated in order to try and force the almighty fat B45t4rd to sell up? Answers on a postcard to Mr. M. Ashley c/o The Sinking Ship, Championship Headquarters, Down the Swanneeville without TV money. D00 M30
Gary Linney
I had actually thought of that yesterday…with regards to Carver’s managerial performances. He is Newcastle through and through AND because he knows he has the backing of fatboy mike and his crew, he might just be REALLY trying to get us relegated with a view to ashley selling up and moving on! Conspiracy theory? Why not indeed! Ashley OUT!

Another excellent article outlining the pure hypocrisy and lies spewed forward by the club’s propaganda machine.
They’re on the ropes guys, keep swinging!
Unfortunately they’re not on the ropes at all (if only……)

Whatever happens, and for the long-term good of the club do NOT renew your season tickets.

I think I can stand firm by my original quote after the MA interview. They are on the ropes or he wouldn’t have felt the need to calm the waters or extend the season ticket deadline.
We need to keep turning the screw and not fall for the wait and see tactic AGAIN.
Brilliant! Keep up the good work, you have my backing I’ll join you in protests and whatever else you have in store
I sympathise with Newcastle fans who deserve better than Mike Ashley, the vast majority of concerns are valid, a couple however have reasonable explanations in my opinion.

  1. Newcastle have not played in Europe because foreign owners have bought their way into the European spots (in some cases fairly irresponsibly). 13 years ago these foreign owners where not artificially manipulating the table and as such Newcastle where more competitive.
  2. We have had a recession, the North of England is far enough away from London for the politicians to neglect the area like normal. During a recession do we expect commercial and match day revenue to increase? Perhaps other clubs commercial success is linked to their location (i.e London) and raised ticket prices which generate greater income.
    The fans should be concerned with the lack of transfers and some of the other issues Newcastle have under Ashley, but don’t dilute your stance against him by bringing up questionable comments. Comparing Newcastle now with the Bobby Robson era is like Liverpool fans suggesting because they where successful in the 80’s they should somehow be guaranteed it now. The climate of British football has completely changed over the last few years
    Completely agree with you although this is the North East of England and much further away from London than the North of England. The high speed rail link will be coming nowhere near us, thankfully.
    Commercial income for all clubs has risen in the Premier League mainstay teams, we are the ONLY club that has seen this reduced. I get what you say about ticket prices and the like but cheap ticket prices is how Ashley keeps the happy clappers in the stadium whilst the die hards have given up on his circus.
    We have the means, the support and the ability to be fighting for a Europe League place, just not the desire. We don’t expect to be fighting at the top of the table because Sir Bobby and Keegan did, but even in the current climate we still should have the financial clout and ambition to aim as high as we can get, not give up as soon as we think we’re safe.
    Ashley doesn’t want Europe because he knows he’ll have no choice but to invest or risk league position.
    The club always say that Mike Ashley doesn’t take any money from the club and that his interest free loan is yet to be reduced.
    But while he may not directly take money from the club, his company, SportsDirect IS. Both in merchandise revenue and in free advertising (which is money lost to club by not having a company paying for the same ads)
    SportsDirect (ashley) is making millions off the club yet the debt to Ashley has not changed. These two examples are just what we know. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone dug further, and they found out that even more money was being leaked out to one of Ashley’s holdings where he would claim HE is not taking money out of the club.
    John Archer
    I’d send that to the press association they’d love it.
    This is very well done. Nice work.
    How about it, Wendy?
    Great article. Well researched & well written. This is the type of pressure we need to keep up. I live in hope that one day the club I have supported for over 50 years will rise again.
    Keep up the good work
    Roy Metcalfe
    Keep up the good work lads. I am an expat Newcastle fan (66 years old) living in Tenerife, I am now too embarrassed to go to my local to watch them play!! I have been a fan since I was old enough to go to St. James Park and am distraught at the way this man has reduced my proud team to become a laughing stock, losing 3-0 to Leicester being the last straw. I do hope this man finds in his being a conscience from somewhere and sell the club to a much better tennant, best wishes !!!
    I support the Ashley out campaign