Newcastle United Owner Mike Ashley Scraps Free Tickets For Coaches, Backroom Staff
EPL Newcastle United Owner Mike Ashley "has angered the club’s coaching staff after withdrawing their complimentary ticket allocation," according to Craig Hope of the London DAILY MAIL. Manager Alan Pardew’s No. 2 John Carver, former England int'l Steve Stone and goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman "are among those who are now being forced to pay for match tickets." Senior members of the backroom team "would be given four seats each for games in a private box" at St. James’ Park, but Ashley "has now scrapped their allowance on the eve of the new season." The billionaire’s money-saving measures "have extended beyond the coaching team." Long-serving kit men and administrative staff "have also seen their two-ticket privilege taken away." Pardew’s thoughts on the issue "are not known," as the club is refusing to allow its manager "to speak to the press other than when contractually obliged" (DAILY MAIL, 8/12). In London, George Caulkin reported the change "has shocked several members of Newcastle’s staff, many of whom found out about the arrangement only on Saturday." As a consequence, a number "decided not to take up their complimentary tickets for the next day’s friendly match against Real Sociedad in protest." It is not known whether Pardew himself has been included, but sources at the club claimed that Managing Dir Lee Charnley "is keen to standardise policy across all members of staff at Newcastle, most of whom do not receive the privilege." However, morale among the manager’s backroom team "has been hit after a positive summer for Newcastle during which they have signed nine new players" (LONDON TIMES, 8/12).