NEWCASTLE United are trying to improve their communication with fans after a turbulent week at St James’s Park, writes Daniel Prince.
Wendy Taylor, the club’s head of media, attended Monday night’s NUFC Fans United meeting at the Labour Club in Newcastle along with the Magpies’ supporter liaison manager Lee Marshall.
Tensions in the room were running high, with fans unhappy at the appointment of Joe Kinnear as director of football and some of his extraordinary public comments.
With many fans still unhappy with the owner Mike Ashley, Kinnear’s return has left many feeling the Magpies had yet again shot themselves in the foot, and are again the laughing stock of the Premier League.
Kinnear was unable to attend the meeting, close friend and Newcastle fan Eddie MacIntyre explaining to the crowd that he (Kinnear) intended to go to a future meeting and was sorry for the controversy of the last week.
Speaking after the two-hour event, which concluded with a motion from the Mike Ashley Out Campaign – which called on the owner to leave – being passed, Taylor admitted the club was working on improving communication with fans.
When asked how important she felt it was to liaise with fans, she replied: “It’s absolutely critical. The club is nothing without its supporters. Everyone at the club knows that.
“Newcastle haven’t been very good at that in the past and we are trying to improve.
“One of the things we have been doing for the last year is attending these NUFC Fans United meetings.
“It isn’t necessarily representative of all fans and there is more we can be doing, but it is a starting point.
“We have now appointed Lee Marshall as our supporter liaison manager and he is now working within my department to refresh and renew the supporters charter – what we commit to provide for our supporters.”
In the last week, Newcastle have been criticised for a lack of clarity over the appointment of Kinnear, who announced hiw own arrival two days before the club made a comment.
Fans spokesman Steve Wraith urged the club to take a leaf out of Sunderland’s book.
“I would like to see the club do road shows with Joe Kinnear,” he said.
“It worked with Niall Quinn at Sunderland and it should work at Newcastle as well.
“That is the only way you are going to get fans coming back towards the club’s way of thinking. Go out and talk to them that is all they (fans) ask.”