Saturday, 8 February 2014

Disabled grandmother has Newcastle season ticket snatched away by club

Lilian Held courtesy of NCJ Media
Newcastle United have not earned themselves the warmest and most respected reputation since owner Mike Ashley took hold of the club.
Countless debacles off the field have, at times, left the club in disarray with director of football Joe Kinnear's exit the most recent example of hapless decision-making.
But sometimes, most tragically, it is the loyal and dedicated fans who receive the worst treatment.
Disabled grandmother Lilian Held, who lives just a 10-minute walk from St James's Park, was left devastated after her season ticket was stripped from her.
The 65-year-old had her season ticket confiscated by club officials and sold on without her knowledge after she allowed her son Christopher to attend one match in her place against Southampton on December 14.
Just 20 minutes into the game, her son was approached by club security staff and ordered to leave the ground, leaving his teenage nieces behind without his support. He was strictly told that his mother would have to come to the stadium to retrieve her ticket, despite the fact that she is disabled.
She went straight to St James's Park to retrieve her ticket. But instead the lifelong Toon fan, who has irreparable damage to nerves in her back, was told her ticket had been suspended until further notice.
“I was told my ticket would be suspended while the club investigated whether my son had sat in the seat regularly,” she told the Newcastle Chronicle.
"I told them he never sits in the seat – I always sit in the seat and this was the first game I’d missed in 14 years. I only wanted the girls to be accompanied by an adult because I’m always there at home games to look after them."
Earlier this year, the club placed media bans on The Chronicle, The Journal and Sunday Sun for what it saw as “disproportionate” coverage of a protest march which "ultimately was attended by approximately 300 supporters."
The media bans meant that the publications were “not permitted access to any media facilities, press conferences and player interviews at Newcastle United indefinitely and with immediate effect.”
Despite the ban, the club have, it appears, been unable to stem the tide of negativity that currently surrounds the club.
The pensioner, who originally bought the seat for her late husband who died from lung cancer in 1999, has understandably felt let down and very aggrieved at the way she has been treated and spoke to the Chronicle about her dismay regarding the club she loves.
"I have sat in that seat for 13 years,” she said. “I’m a lifelong fan of Newcastle United and I worked for the club in the 1990s where I had my picture taken with Kevin Keegan.
"Going to the match is the only bit of social time I get. I live for those home games. Taking my ticket from me and selling my seat without giving me the right to even argue my case has completely ruined my year."
The family have continued to chase up the situation with the club, but have reportedly not received a response.