Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Legal Threat Forces Fans' Group into Shirt Change

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Legal Threat Forces Fans' Group into Shirt Change

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Metcalfe Reporter

A FANS collective has been forced to relaunch their alternative Toon shirt after legal threats from Newcastle United.

Trouble brewed earlier this year when the Magpie Brand unveiled their 'anti-Wonga and Mike Ashleyfree' black-and-white top with the Magpie emblem and city of Newcastle upon Tyne crest.

Now the organisation, which is affiliated to the Newcastle United Supporters Trust, AshleyOut. Com, Mike Ashley Out Campaign, Gallowgate Shots, True Faith and THE MAG, has revealed its redesign after lengthy discussions with lawyers from Newcastle United over the use of the club's intellectual property.

The new shirt still features the city crest but the magpie emblem has been removed, while the group is now known as the Newcastle Fans Brand.

Already 3,300 shirts have been ordered and in July the initial run of the old design shirt sold out.

A spokesperson for the group said: "Clearly, we had no intention of misleading fans or posing as an official Newcastle United product.

"The fact is our shirt exists for precisely the opposite reason.

"We just want to reclaim the black-and-white stripes for the fans.

"And the fact that our first batch sold out in little over an hour proves that thousands of other Toon fans feel the same way.

"However, the fact remains that, as a not-forprofit initiative by ordinary Newcastle supporters, having sought pro bono legal advice from intellectual property experts, we were faced with the stark choice: disband the Magpie Brand or re-brand and re-design our shirt.

"After some thought we decided that an alternative badge with the signifi-cance of the magpie could not be added without risking a similar response from the club, and so the rebranded shirt will simply feature the city crest from the city of Newcastle upon Tyne coat of arms.

"We're disappointed about the forced removal of the magpie, but we can think of no stronger bond than between our club and the city, depicted by the city crest on a clean blackand-white shirt free of questionable sponsors. …

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