Since the Amanda Staveley-led takeover went through Newcastle United has strived towards repairing the fractured relationship between the club and the fans.
Now, as part of a Premier League-wide initiative, the club has released details of their Fan Engagement Standard, saying: “In November 2022, we joined all Premier League clubs in unanimously approving the introduction of a new Premier League Fan Engagement Standard (FES). The aim was to ensure meaningful, long-term dialogue between all clubs and their supporters on a consistent and sustained basis.”
While it is a Premier League-wide idea, Newcastle was already ahead of the curve with Amanda Staveley saying on day one in an interview with Sky Sports: “We would first of all like to thank the incredible fans. It’s their club. We want to be great custodians of the club.” The key word for me has always been ‘custodians’ – Staveley understands that while they hold the keys, the club belongs to the fans, we were here before them and we’ll be here after them. Which is why they’ve always been so keen to involve the fans right from the start.
Newcastle have made it their aim to engage with fans
Back in August just after Darren Eales was appointed as CEO, he had his first interview with the club where he outlined the importance of supporter engagement saying: “If you put the supporter engagement and the supporter focus at the heart of every decision you make what you end up doing is making better business decisions.” So it’s not a new idea that has been forced upon the club by the Premier League, which is refreshing. I mean, imagine if this initiative had come in under Mike Ashley‘s stewardship and what a mess that would have been.
Darren Eales also had a quote in the FES reinforcing his beliefs: “We are committed to collaborative and constructive engagement with supporters on a consistent basis, ensuring all fans have an opportunity to inform the club’s decision-making at all levels.”
The big thing that caught fans’ eyes was at the end of the document where it says: “Topics to be discussed include the club’s strategic vision and objective, agreed ‘Club Heritage Assets’ and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) commitments.
Don’t panic – nothing is going to change overnight
“The club agrees that the following ‘Heritage Assets’ will be in scope for fan discussion: • First Team Home Shirt Club Colours • Club Crest • Club Name”
There appeared to be some confusion as to what that meant with some misinterpreting it as suggesting that the club have set their sites on changing the club’s name, badge and colours, but what it really means is that if, and that’s a big if, these things were ever to be reviewed, the fans would have to be a part of those discussions.
So no, we won’t become The Kingdom of Tyneside Rovers playing in white and green with an oil field on the badge next season, and if such a daft idea was ever to be put forward, fans will have every opportunity to voice their opinions and that voice will be heard.