Monday, March 28, 2011

Our survey said...

I doubt very much that Jabba would have expected to take much pleasure from the recently published results of a survey conducted by his biggest critics, the Newcastle United Supporters' Trust, but there appears to be a grudging acknowledgement that the current hierarchy are righting some of the wrongs of the Fat Fred era.

A hefty 66% of respondents either strongly or "somewhat" agreed that "the Club has done well in controlling costs" and 49% that "the club is financially well run". What's more, 42% strongly or somewhat agreed that "the Club has bought well in the transfer market" - though you have to wonder how much those respondents were swayed by the signing and subsequent displays of one man from the Ivory Coast... (Conversely, the fact that only 22% felt we'd sold well suggests a certain lanky Geordie striker was at the forefront of many respondents' minds.)

However, predictably enough, Jabba will have been less heartened by the rest of the results. Despite the general endorsement of the hierarchy's financial prudence and purchasing policy, a whopping 91% of respondents still declared themselves to be unhappy with "the way the club is being run off the pitch by the current board of Newcastle United", and 82% expressed a lack of confidence in the current board's capability "of making the club a consistently top five Premier League team".

Most damning was the revelation that a staggering 96% disagreed that "the club actively listens to their fans" - the complete lack of communication and dialogue is clearly a huge bugbear for most of us. One of the ways NUST is proposing to improve this is by ensuring fans have a stake in the club and are represented at board level (moves enthusiastically supported by 78% and 85% of respondents respectively).

The results also underline the difficulties facing NUST. On the one hand, respondents were generally keen for there to be town hall-type meetings, local members' meetings and roadshows roughly every three months, for instance - and yet when asked how likely they'd be to attend, the numbers didn't really tally. Perhaps there's a reasonable explanation for this apparent apathy, though - Paul and I are among those who would like to see NUST regularly engage with members and non-members alike, but as exiles stationed at some remove from the North-East, we'd struggle to attend events ourselves.

It's also interesting, given the almost unanimimous dissatisfaction with the current board, that as many as 38% of respondents didn't feel that ousting the incumbents should be one of NUST's key objectives. Does this suggest a feeling of impotence with regard to the status quo, or alternatively a lack of faith in the impact and influence that NUST can have? Either way, it's a figure to give the Trust pause for reflection.

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Anonymous Gallowgate Sam said...

It's easy to maintain a well run club from a financial perspective when selling players and not re-investing the money, hoping by some miracle we manage to stumble across a replacement from the reserves. I'll hold judgement until I see us retain our Premier League status and see who we bring in to strengthen the squad in the summer.

10:17 am  
Blogger Ben said...

Fair comment - I'm inclined to believe that the hierarchy have made positive steps in redressing our financial plight, but time will tell. Claiming the cash for Carroll and not reinvesting it may yet turn out to have been a serious false economy.

2:18 am  

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