Newcastle Owner Mike Ashley Bans NUST From Fans Forum

A week after Newcastle United banned three newspapers it has emerged owner Mike Ashley has banished the only elected fans body from the club's fans forum.

Newcastle fanzine The Mag claim Ashley has withdrawn Newcastle United Supporters Trust's status as a board member, scuppering any interaction with the club.

The Mag says this stems from NUST publishing a list of questions they posed to Ashley, even though they had agreed with the club that this would happen.

Ashley's popularity is arguably at an all-time low with Newcastle fans

NUST said in a statement: "In the same week that the Trust organised a successful conference on fan engagement at Newcastle University Business School, covered by the BBC and attended by delegates from all over the country, the club have barred the local press and the only elected fans’ body from interacting with Newcastle United.

"At the same time at a national level, the Government’s Culture Media and Sports Select Committee have recommended that football clubs develop meaningful and structured relationships with supporters."

Last week, it was revealed the Chronicle, the Journal and the Sunday Sun newspapers had received bans, instigated by Ashley and Kinnear, for reporting a supporters' protest march.

Newcastle fans march during their recent protest against Ashley

This latest development could further damage Ashley's reputation among supporters who have never been truly convinced by the Buckinghamshire billionaire since he bought the club in 2007.

Joe Kinnear's return as director of football in June was just the latest unpopular decision Ashley Made. Newcastle's caretaker manager in 2008-09, Kinnear was regarded as one of the "Cockney Mafia" figures Newcastle fans protested against in the same season.

Other moves, such as renaming St James's Park the Sports Direct Arena and agreeing a sponsorship deal with payday loan company Wonga, have also intensified supporters' antipathy with Ashley.

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