Letters, Thursday, February 27, 2014

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Club needs to be more transparent

I HAVE a season card and a Wembley ticket, but there is something unsettling about the way SAFC has handled the distribution of Capital One Cup Final tickets.

 Obviously, season ticket holders had to be given priority, but it’s telling that the club refuses to reveal just how many season card holders there are?

 Estimates range from 22,000 to 28,000, with the real figure probably being somewhere in the middle. This means that some 6,000 tickets have not been made available to supporters.

 I doubt anyone would begrudge club employees receiving a ticket? But then there’s the allocations spread around supporters’ clubs, meaning that some, who may only attend once or twice a season, have managed to get hold of a ticket. EDF energy has reportedly been giving out tickets to staff, and every butcher, baker and candlestick maker in the North East seems to be giving away tickets as ‘prizes’ for ‘liking’ their Facebook pages.

 Margaret Byrne’s statement thanking ‘seasonal hospitality members and key partners, who have been the backbone of our support through good and bad times, were our priority’ can only have further upset those loyal supporters who have not managed to get hold of a ticket.

 I would have thought the ‘backbone of our support’ would be those of us who sat through an entire season with one home win not so long ago, or those that travel the length and breadth of the country every fortnight.

 It’s a far cry from the time when Bob Murray refused to consider a season ticket sell-out, when that was a possibility, invoking the miners and shipbuilders that built the club and stating that supporters would never be excluded just because they couldn’t afford the cost of a season ticket.

 Let’s hope there is more transparency in the future.

L Sheils,

Pittington

Flooding shambles

THE Government’s incompetence was there for all to see with its mishandling of the flood crisis.

 There should be a public inquiry to establish why David Cameron’s response was too little too late. Prince Charles, who is supposed to remain silent on such matters, remarked: “The tragedy is that nothing happened for so long.”

 The Government’s irresponsibility led to chaos.

 The belated visits by the Prime Minister in his wellies were worthless, bearing in mind his pledge that “money was no object” was withdrawn the next day.

 The weather will get worse some experts predict, and you would think Mr Cameron had already learned a costly lesson?

 Yet, he blindly clings to the financial cuts policy regardless of the devastation it might cause.

 Mr Cameron stated that spending on flood defences has been fixed until 2020 despite experts warning that the £2.4billion is far too low.

 Although The Army had to help out in the disaster, it appears 550 environment workers will be thrown on the dole.

 The Environment Agency has estimated that flood damage could cost £27billion by 2080.

 It seems the Government has put its austerity measures before the needs of its citizens.

W Quinn