Mike Ashley & Newcastle United refuse to budge on season ticket payment despite ‘desperate’ fan pleas

Newcastle United fan pleas amid the coronavirus outbreak uncertainty appear to have fallen on deaf ears, with the Magpies reportedly unwilling to budge on season ticket payment plans.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 4:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 7:26 pm
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Fans arrive at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Norwich City at St. James Park on February 01, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Fans arrive at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Norwich City at St. James Park on February 01, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Magpies season ticket holders woke up this morning to direct debit payments coming out of their bank accounts for tickets valid in the 2020/21 season.

Some fans saw the first monthly instalment taken, while others saw the total taken out in full, in most cases well over £500.

At a time when job security is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, Newcastle United fan groups – Toon For Change and the Newcastle United Supporters Trust – had called for the club to stall on taking the payment from fans, who are yet to know whether they will see the five remaining games of this season, never mind next.

But in a statement released on their social media, NUST revealed they’d received an answer from the club to their queries – and it is NOT what supporters, especially those facing financial difficulties, would want to hear.

The statement in full, titled ‘ARE WE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER’, reads: “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.”

Meanwhile, Toon For Change have sent a letter to the football club asking for payments to be sent back to fans in financial difficulty – and they’ve given Newcastle SEVEN days to issues returns.

Their letter reads: “We are disappointed to have been contacted by a number of Toon For Change members, who today have been charged in full for season tickets for the 2020/21 season. At a time when the current season is suspended and with no concrete plans to move forward this season or next, we believe Newcastle United should have followed the lead of many other Premier League clubs in suspending payments until a more appropriate date.

“On behalf of our 1000 members, Toon For Change asks that at a time of considerable financial uncertainty and hardship for many individuals and households, that the club urgently returns the money taken from supporters for 2020/21 season, in the next 7 working days.

“Fans have faithfully supported Newcastle United financially through thick and thin and we implore you to repay the faith shown by our supporters, in what is a time of genuine need.

“To reiterate, we ask that all current direct debit payments are suspended and monies returned to those that have already paid until a more certain time, at which point plans can be put in place. We look forward to your urgent response.”