Flying the NUST
By Ian Cusack
Wednesday 15 Dec 2010 16:07:00
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Flying the NUST by Ian Cusack

 

You’ll remember in the debut issue of “Toon Talk” that I expressed my unease about the direction and pace of travel exhibited by NUST. In short, following the discredited false start of NU$C and the shameful, undemocratic leaflet put about at the Blackburn game in September 2008 calling not for democratic fan ownership but for a mythical, benevolent Geordie billionaire to spend his cash exactly as he was told, NUST had really got their act together. The “Yes We Can” campaign had harnessed the enthusiasm of all sectors of our support and was driving the organisation forward. The election of a full committee seemed to be the final piece in the jigsaw.

 

However, following publication of the results at the end of March 2010, nothing happened. Actually positions and roles were divvied up in secret, an MP was co-opted and the NUST Media Committee decided that, despite the free publicity and good wishes Steve Wraith had given NUST on his radio show, they would have nothing to do with “Toon Talk” because of the imagery associated with it (my italics).

 

In issue #1 I pointed out that this was all well and good if the policy was applied consistently. Then, lo and behold, issue # 250 of “The Mag,” a publication I have bought from its first issue in August 1988 and that I hold in the greatest esteem, had a full-page article about NUST. All well and good you might say; it’s great that NUST are taking the trouble to communicate with members and other interested parties in one of the 2 Newcastle fanzines. Fair enough, but what does it say about NUST and their policy of not dealing with “Toon Talk” on grounds of taste, decency and sexual politics when “The Mag” has an advert on its inside back cover for “Newcastle’s Finest Topless Totty Show?”

 

Of course NUST would not necessarily be aware of the adverts in “The Mag,” but as the Chair of NUST is also the editor of that publication, there is a chance the two organisations may have communicated. I am not suggesting for one minute that there is any kind of nest feathering going on, and if NUST want to formalise the relationship with “The Mag” by making it their official theoretical journal, all well and good, but I think the waters have been muddied and such a turn of events is being seen by many members as further evidence of an otiose streak at the core of NUST.

 

Since my last article, NUST produced a September newsletter (their first since before the elections) that repeated the bland, anodyne imprecision of the August press release about the future of the trust. It was high on cliché and simpering rhetoric, but low to non-existent on tactics and analysis. There was also the praiseworthy Local Heroes initiative, which I fully support and think is one of the best things NUST has done. In addition there were a few bits and bobs cut and pasted from the internet about fans’ trusts at Venezia and Roma as well as a mention of the rebranding of SJP which the Trust noted with “sadness,” in a typically downbeat, understated manner that is more Women’s Institute than Bolshevik Revolution in tone.

However, the proposed erection of the giant SportsDirect.com@StJames’Park signs gave NUST their Custer’s Last Stand opportunity. Surely there would be a chance for all membership to exchange opinions on this issue? It was the first major thing to happen since the alleged Glasnost and Perestroika era that has been ushered in by the “Moving The Trust Forward” statement. Admittedly, talking to the Newcastle City Council Planning Committee and handing in a petition is not the same as storming the Winter Palace and objections on the grounds of taste and morality were beyond the remit.

 

As you’ll know the objection failed and the signs go up. Sure they’ll look terrible and sure the club will get no income from them, but if they did get income, I’d be all for it in the current economic climate. We have to be realists. NUST’s mealy-mouthed suggestion that it’s ok for new grounds to have sponsorship, like at Arsenal or Bolton, but not as old grounds is an illogical non position that attempts to blend aesthetics with tradition and looks simply laughable in the cold light of day; a bit like NUST it has to be said.

 

 

Frankly, I’ve had enough; I had my renewal email on September 28th and there is no chance whatsoever of me paying up. I don’t see any possible hope that NUST in its current form with its current malaise becoming a campaigning force for Newcastle united and the supporters in particular. Regardless of our league form, and it has to be said we live in interesting times, with one unpredictable win followed by another inconsistent loss, we must never lose sight of the greater good of our club. That’s why I’m not going to be wasting any more energy wondering just why NUST has failed; never mind the question of whether I’m better outside the tent pissing in or inside the tent pissing out, I’ve decided to simply piss off because I’m pissed off.



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