Should our clubs be pro­tected?

Sunday Sun - - Comment&analysis -

WHO re­ally owns our foot­ball clubs?

It’s a ques­tion New­cas­tle Cen­tral MP Chi On­wu­rah MP is in­ter­ested in.

And it’s placed her at odds with Mike Ash­ley, the owner of New­cas­tle United.

New­cas­tle United is a pri­vate busi­ness, and in prac­tice the owner can do what­ever they like with it, within the law, just like the own­ers of any other busi­ness.

But to many peo­ple, the lo­cal foot­ball club is very dif­fer­ent to a shop or fac­tory. It’s part of the com­mu­nity, and its his­tory is part of the his­tory of the town or city it’s named af­ter.

Many fans of the Mag­pies feel the club doesn’t only be­long to Mr Ash­ley. It also be­longs to them.

This is partly why Ms On­wu­rah speaks out about the way the club is man­aged. For ex­am­ple, she ob­jected to it ac­cept­ing spon­sor­ship from payday loan com­pany Wonga.

Now, TalkS­port jour­nal- ist Tony In­cenzo has sug­gested clubs should of­fi­cially be treated as “a pro­tected com­mu­nity as­set”, a bit like a listed build­ing.

Ms On­wu­rah plans to raise the idea with the Gov­ern­ment. She said on Twit­ter: “This is an in­ter­est­ing idea, I’ll see what the Min­is­ter says about it.” New­cas­tle Cen­tral MP Chi On­wu­rah

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