The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) have released their latest member update after Richard Masters broke his silence on the Saudi takeover saga on Friday afternoon.
The NUFC Trust update discusses the Premier League’s letter to Chi Onwurah – sharing their initial thoughts and concerns surrounding some of the key points raised – and reveal the ‘insulting and disingenuous’ response they received from Masters’ PA via email.
The update (which you can read in full below) also confirm the NUST are due to attend a Premier League zoom meeting with Richard Masters and Bill Bush on August 19th to discuss the Newcastle United takeover.
A key message to the buyers is also issued, stating: “We have one simple question for all parties involved in this takeover. As fans of NUFC, we simply need to know if this deal is still alive and if so, what is the roadmap to completion?”
See their brilliant update on all of the above in full here, which reveals that over 50 MPs outside of the North East are also demanding transparency from the Premier League:
NUST member update – August 14th, 2020
Premier League write to Chi Onwurah and respond to NUST
The MP for Newcastle Central Chi Onwurah has received a letter from the Premier League today in response to questions she posed to the Premier League regarding the takeover of Newcastle United.
Our initial thoughts are as follows:
- “The Premier League has not commented in public nor briefed in private”
Why was the majority of the content today’s letter to Chi Onwurah detailed in the Daily Mail yesterday (13th August) in an article by Martin Samuel available here.
- “The Owners’ and Directors’ Test is delegated to and carried out entirely by the Premier League Board. Other member Clubs have no role whatsoever in the approval process.”
This does not answer the original question. Is it true that several Premier League clubs objected to the takeover and what influence do the views of competing clubs have in the approval process?” Nor does it address the issue as to whether it is true that the Premier League board was lobbied by or was influenced by other member clubs or outside interests.
- “In June, the Premier League Board made a clear determination as to which entities it believed would have control over the Club following the proposed acquisition, in accordance with the Premier League Rules.”
We understand the process commenced in April, why did it take the Premier League Board until June to make this determination?
In addition to the letter to Chi Onwurah, the Premier League Chief Executive’s PA emailed NUST Chair Alex Hurst a copy of the letter to Chi Onwurah. While we appreciated being provided a copy of the letter, this is an insulting and disingenuous response to the reasonable request made by NUST on behalf of our 14,000 members to Richard Masters, Bill Bush and Gary Hoffman (see attached emails).
The response from the Premier League prompts more questions than it provides answers, not only for the Premier League but for PCP, PIF and the Reuben Brothers, as well as incumbent owner Mike Ashley.
We have one simple question for all parties involved in this takeover: As fans of Newcastle United, we simply need to know if this deal is still alive and if so what is the roadmap to completion?
Previous email to Gary Hoffman, Richard Masters and Bill Bush:
I hope you’re well. Please see correspondence sent to Richard and Bill below. I am keen to speak to you on the matters below.
All the best
Newcastle United Supporters Trust Chair
Dear Richard and Bill,
I write to you as the Chair of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust on behalf of the Board and our members in relation to your failure to communicate with supporters regarding the potential sale of Newcastle United. There may have sound reasons for drawing out the takeover process for more than four months and you may have done everything you need to do to protect the Premier League and Newcastle United. But this proper and fair process isn’t public knowledge as we supporters have been kept entirely in the dark.
However, there must be transparency now that the process has ended. Answers must be provided about decisions which affect millions of people in our region.
The silence from the Premier League stabilises the rise of conspiracy theories with supporters and perpetuates the notion that supporters do not matter and that we don’t deserve answers. The Trust has over 14,000 paying members across the North East and around the world – I am pleading with you both to engage with the Trust to provide answers to supporters about this process.
This is far bigger than just being about Newcastle United – the economy of the whole of the North East would have benefited from this takeover and associated investment. The people who’s lives are so impacted by a decision should not be kept entirely in the dark about decisions that affects them the most.
To that end as an initial step I would like the request that we meet privately this week (via Zoom or MS Teams) to discuss our significant concerns.
If such dialogue is not possible between two organisations that are both affiliated to the Football Supporters Association, what hope we do have for meaningful supporter communication within our game?
Subject to receiving a response in a timely manner this week and moving ahead with a call this correspondence will remain private.
Newcastle United Supporters Trust
We received this response from the Premier League today:
NUST to attend Premier League Structured Dialogue meeting with Richard Masters and Bill Bush
On Wednesday 19th August, the Premier League will host their latest structured dialogue meeting with the Football Supporters Association (FSA) and a small group of supporter representatives from Premier League clubs.
We are very grateful to have been invited by the Premier League and the Football Supporters Association (FSA) to attend this meeting. The meeting will focus on the current situation within football, and the planning stages for the return of fans to stadiums. Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters and Executive Director Bill Bush will be in attendance to update on the current situation.
The Trust Board are delighted that our agenda proposal, ‘The takeover of Newcastle United’ , has been accepted by the FSA and the Premier League.
In advance of the meeting, we cannot guarantee members the answers we seek. We will certainly ask the questions but it remains up to Richard Masters and other Premier League representatives how they answer our questions. It is however reassuring that through our relationship with the FSA we are able to be in the position to raise the topic with the highest possible authorities in the Premier League. We respect (and support) the work the FSA does to ensure football fans are represented and listened to on a national level and admire the progress that has been made to make such meetings possible.
Your collective voice as members will be put to the Premier League. This is only possible because we have come together as a support under the Trust. The reason the Trust is in front of the Premier League on Wednesday is because of you and your fellow members.
Transparency is the key and it is currently absent from the running of our game. Throughout this takeover process, Newcastle United supporters have been the least important of all concerned parties yet it is Newcastle United supporters that have been consistently attacked in parts of the football media. As a Trust, we feel let down by the process and it’s important that we gain a greater understanding of the takeover process, and seek reform in areas that supporters could and should play an important role.
We hope the meeting is positive with the Premier League. We have worked hard to get here as a Trust and thanks to your support and the processes put in place by the FSA and the Premier League, there is the chance of trying to get some answers for you the members. What the response is to our questions we cannot guarantee – but you can be confident the Trust will do everything it can to make the Premier League understand our concerns and frustration at the process and (current) end result.
Over 50 MPs outside of the North East of England demand transparency from the Premier League
The board of the Trust has been working this week with local MPs on our battle for transparency from the Premier League on the proposed takeover of Newcastle United. Incredibly, more than 50 Members for Parliament outside of the North East have joined our cause. We were always hopeful on MPs in the region affected by this takeover taking up the cause for our members. However you, the members, have convinced your parliamentary representatives in places like Southampton, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, East Lothian and Uxbridge (The Prime Minister’s seat) to either write to the Premier League directly or publicly support the call for transparency through the IFO (Independent Football Ombudsman). That is a testament to the strength of our argument. While the Premier League have now responded, we do not believe this provides the transparency or clarity required. Nearly 8,000 members have written to an MP in the UK which is a phenomenal effort. If your MP isn’t on that list, we still urge you to follow this link and send them our letter template in around 30 seconds.