Open letter from NUFC Fans Forum to board urging change
Newcastle United's Fans Forum has sent an open letter to the club's board as the Magpies face relegation.
The full letter is printed, unedited, below:
OPEN LETTER to the board of Newcastle United Football Club from NUFC Fans Forum.
With ten Premier League games to go, we find ourselves in what appears to be a ‘3 from 4’ relegation battle.
Fans of our club vented their strong views at St James’ Park during our defeat by Bournemouth. These fans have chosen to ‘stick by’ the club and religiously turn up week in, week out despite the horrendous season that we have encountered. These same fans are frequently tarnished with the view that we all expect to win the Champions League.
What NUFC fans want is a team of eleven players in black and white shirts that understand their role to perform to their maximum - week in, week out.
We have entrusted the board of NUFC to ensure that the right personnel are in place to carry out this basic expectation.
Our current Head Coach, Steve McClaren, has now been responsible for 28 games, during that period:
We have won 6 games - this is our joint worst ever number at this stage, only matched by our relegation season in 2008/09
We have the second worst goal difference in the PL (only better than Villa)
We have scored 28 goals, the worst ever figure in recent history for this stage of the season
We have kept 1 clean sheet since 6th December 2015
We have the 3rd worst disciplinary record in the PL
On the 19th September 2015, Steve McClaren said ”You are where you deserve to be. That’s where we are. I said judge us after ten games and I would still say the same now. The next two are tough but this is a tough job.”
On the 17th October 2015, Steve McClaren said “I’m not saying judging me after ten, 11, 12 games or whatever. I guess I would say ‘if you’re going to throw things at me, judge me at the end of the season’.”
Whilst we still have 10 games to go, NUFC Fans cannot accept the current work ethic of the players. Someone, somewhere has to be accountable and decisions must be made.
During the recent Fans Forum meeting (22nd February 2016), we asked the club this:
“Why is there seemingly no price for failure at NUFC? For a number of years now the club’s own targets have been failed to be met by those tasked with ensuring they do, both at a coaching and boardroom level. The only person to lose their job at NUFC in the last eight years at these levels was the one man who achieved his target and that was Chris Hughton. This worrying trend is mirrored in the playing staff, where poor performances by so called big name players are rewarded by another start for the first team due to a lack of options and depth in certain areas. How does the club expect to improve when there is seemingly no price or consequence for underachievement?”
Lee Charnley replied - “The club believes the squad now has strong options in most positions, enabling changes in team selection to be made where the head coach sees appropriate.”
LC was also confident of Premier League survival at that meeting. Since then, we have lost both of our PL games.
Last year, during our relegation battle, this Fans Forum talked about ‘Actions NOT Words’. That hasn’t changed. Lessons from that battle have quite clearly not been learned.
It is absolutely imperative that the club has its fans ‘on-side’ for the remainder of the season.
We must urge you to review our position and initiate any changes that you see fit to correct the current attitude of the playing staff. Our fans have every right to remind the club what was said last year -
‘We don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a club that tries!’
Our players frequently look jaded and our playing style often appears outdated. We lack organisation and the players continue to lack discipline.
During the Fans Forum meeting, Lee Charnley made it clear that we had a flexible approach to our usual transfer policy which allowed us to sign two key targets. Maybe its time to accept that the ‘Head Coach’ role simply doesn’t work at NUFC and accept that a Manager is required, a person who will not only coach but motivate and manage!
With substantial increases to TV revenues, players will only become increasingly difficult to manage not easier. Agents seeking lucrative pay-deals for their clients will attempt to dictate further. This will result in even less club loyalty unless we can grasp the uniqueness of Newcastle United Football Club and move forward together as one. We want fans that don’t even contemplate giving up on season tickets. We want players that are proud to wear the famous colours. We want a manager that truly wants the best for us.
Its time for action, its time for accountability.
Actions NOT Words
NUFC Fans Forum