Newcastle United fans protest outside Parliament, Downing Street and Premier League HQ over takeover transparency
Newcastle United fans took to the streets of London in a bid to call for takeover transparency with supporters heading to Parliament, Downing Street and the HQ of the Premier League.
The NUFC Transparency Protest group set off from St James’ Park at 5am on Friday morning, taking a number of buses of fans down to the capital to protest against what is being seen as a lack of transparency from the Premier League in the Newcastle United takeover process.
A group of around 100 made their feelings known at the three prominent sites, wearing T-shirts and waving flags and banners.
Buyer – the PCP Consortium – and seller – Mike Ashley – have openly called for the top flight to make the impending takeover arbitration public.
And while one side firmly agree with playing the legal process out in the public domain, the Premier League have held firm in their belief the arbitration should remain private.
A prominent member of the buying consortium, Amanda Staveley, has publicly called for fans to demand transparency – and did so again on Friday ahead of the protest - calls backed on social media by her husband and fellow PCP Capital Partners director Merhdad Ghodoussi, Ashley’s arbitration QC Nick De Marco and the football club themselves.
The peaceful march started in Parliament Square, before the group headed to Downing Street and then on to Premier League HQ.
One of the group organisers, Peter Clennell, said: “We want to be seen and heard by as many people as possible.
“We believe it can make a difference however slight.”
A number of fan groups had backed the plans, with Wor Flags donating banners for use as well.
Ahead of the protest, Amanda Staveley sent a message to Newcastle United fans, praising the incredible support from the fans.
Staveley, also backed by billionaire property investors David and Simon Reuben, was asked about the many supporters making their way to London for the protest.
“I’m so staggered by all the incredible support that we have had from the fans over the last year, actually more than a year,” Staveley told talkSPORT.
“We’re so grateful for your support. We really think this is important. We think the arbitration process the club is running should be made public so that you guys can see exactly what’s going on.
“One of the greatest draws of the club was the fantastic fanbase. I’d like to say thank you to you all.
“I’ve made my points very clear to the Government, and I think the arbitration is key. Obviously, we want this transaction, and we want the club. We want very much to invest the club, invest the North and invest Newcastle. There’s no reason why that can’t go ahead.
"Obviously, this arbitration is critical. I think that’s why all of us want to have the chance to see what’s going on between the Premier League and Mike.”
On the pitch, Newcastle United return to action against this weekend, they face Harrogate and York in friendly fixtures on Sunday afternoon.