Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Boardroom Revolution Aimed at Putting Control of the Club into the Hands of the Fans; There Were Turbulent Times at Newcastle United in 1989, with a Power Struggle over the Club in Full Flow, as BARBARA HODGSON Recalls

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Boardroom Revolution Aimed at Putting Control of the Club into the Hands of the Fans; There Were Turbulent Times at Newcastle United in 1989, with a Power Struggle over the Club in Full Flow, as BARBARA HODGSON Recalls

Article excerpt

Byline: BARBARA HODGSON

FOLLOWING Toon talk of a potential boycott of Newcastle United's home game against Tottenham tomorrow, we flash back to the famous turbulent point in the club's history in 1989.

Interim manager John Carver might have just endured what he called his "darkest week" after the Sunderland defeat that riled fans enough to jump on board the social media campaign to snub the game.

He appealed to fans to pledge their support to the Magpies at a time Premier League safety is still not assured, amid growing resentment fuelled by the - first - fifth derby defeat in a row, The fan who first suggested the boycott on Twitter reckoned this was the straw that broke the camel's back but added: "We've had enough of the lack of ambition, the penny-pinching transfer blueprint, the poor treatment of staff and players, the 'cloak-and-dagger' nature of club dealings and the use of our great club as an advertising billboard for Sports Direct."

It's strong stuff but back in the summer of '89, Newcastle United fans will remember that expectations then were also rock bottom.

Their doom and gloom followed the team's relegation to Division Two but the team were determined to go all-out for promotion.

And all this played out against the backdrop of a bitter share war as Sir John Hall's Magpie Group took on the Newcastle United board and tried to wrestle boardroom power from chairman Gordon McKeag.

Whatever was happening on the pitch, with the likes of Mick Quinn's fourgoal debut, all eyes were on the behind-the-scenes drama that was to prove a turning point.

Besides businessmen John Hall, the Magpie Group consisted of men with a breadth of experience and knowledge of both business and football: Newcastle Breweries managing director David Stephenson, City Leisure Group managing director Joe Robertson, Reed Print and Design managing director Brian Reed, comedian and property developer Bobby Pattinson and Walter Dix and Company chairman Malcolm Dix.

At a press conference the previous summer they had detailed their aims, if successful, for a PS10m redevelopment strategy turning St James' Park into a 45,000-capacity, all-covered ground. …

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