Just when you think Mike Ashley’s week couldn’t get much worse, he’s gone and hammered another nail in the coffin.
First he tried to go against government advice and keep his Sports Direct stores open (being happy to risk lives to earn a few quid), then he shamelessly hiked the prices of his indoor sports gear being sold online – and now he’s refusing to help Newcastle fans hit hard by the current crisis.
As revealed in the NUST’s latest statement (see it below), Mike Ashley now has ‘no intention of freezing or delaying payments’ of Newcastle United season tickets – despite being made aware that fans are now struggling financially during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week the NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) sent an urgent message to the club asking them suspend all season ticket renewals and all payments on future season tickets with immediate effect.
This was to relieve the pressure on loyal NUFC fans, with many coming into financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
On Wednesday, several fans noticed the entire cost of a 2020/21 season ticket was taken out of their bank account, while others will soon see their regularly direct debit payments be charged as normal.
A few hours later, the NUST then released an updated statement, revealing that the club as ‘no intention of freezing or delaying payments‘ – proving once again that Mike Ashley is determined to gain money where he can and show now sympathy to those struggling financially amidst this devastating coronavirus pandemic.
ARE WE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER?
Last week Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) contacted Newcastle United Football Club to express significant concerns regarding Season Ticket payments. We did not receive a response.
Yesterday we went public with our request for the suspension of all future Season Ticket payments during this incredibly difficult time.
There is no prospect of professional football recommencing any time soon given the current global health crisis, let alone the prospect of understanding the implications on timing on fixtures for next season.
We find it incredibly disturbing that the club continues to take payments from supporters during these extremely difficult times, in what is a health and economic crisis.
Following our call for the suspension and delay of all future Season Ticket payments Newcastle United contacted us earlier today. The club stated it has no intention of freezing or delaying payments, both for those that pay annually and monthly.
Today, Tuesday 25 March 2020, Newcastle United took payments for the 2020/21 season from those supporters who opt to pay for their season ticket annually. Monthly payments will also continue as normal.
We are disappointed that Newcastle United is unwilling to offer a meaningful support system to fans through this difficult time. Many supporters can afford to continue to pay, but we still feel more MUST be done for supporters who will suffer most due to the knock on effects of coronavirus global pandemic.
We are also deeply concerned to learn that some supporters who normally pay monthly have seen the full payment taken today. Any fans in that situation should contact the club immediately.
Newcastle United have called for our support numerous times throughout the last decade and Newcastle fans have responded every time. At a time when fans now need reassurances and support, we are deeply disappointed the club will not reciprocate that support in these unique and challenging times.
Numerous Premier League clubs have found solutions to guarantee their supporters have all the support they could possibly get from their club. Newcastle United can still act now and provide much needed support and relief for their fans that are in financial difficulty due to this global emergency.
Stay at home. Stay safe. Protect the NHS.
We don’t even know when this season will end, never mind when the 2020/21 season will start, yet this response from the club is absolutely classless in the midst of such a global and national crisis.
This was Mike Ashley’s chance to intervene and give back to loyal fans, yet he’s only gone and shown his true colours once again.