The Toon may find themselves in dire straits at the moment, a predicament that can at best be defined as unprecedented. But there was a time not so long ago when the club was flying high in the Premier League, as I remarked in my earlier post after we were condemned to Championship on the final day of the season. In retrospect, this seems like a minor annoyance to a football club regarded by many as one of the top clubs in England. The 'Save Our Seats' campaign talked about in the article below was indeed an embarrassing development for the club, and while the 'Save Our Sites' campaign never really took off, it was something that saddened me as fan. What may I be talking about? Well, I used to run my own unofficial toon fan site back in the day and one day some legal representative contacted me to remove the club's logo on the website. I protested by writing back to the club, posting to fan forums and they suggested I write to some of the local newspaper editors. And so I did, and much to my delight they decided to run a story on me.
And so I ended up in the Sunday Sun of England's north-east one fine Sunday with my picture, imagine that. The article is quoted below:
The "unofficial" website in question here is located at: http://nufc.host.sk/old/. I stopped updating it quite a while ago as I got busy with college n all. I still have that shirt though, an original Toon home replica of 2000-01 season.
Toon chiefs leave teen crestfallen
Newcastle United have been accused of bully-boy tactics after bosses showed the red card to a teen fan's website.
Magpie-mad Raza Abbas is furious after officials told him to remove all images with the club crest.
The 17-year-old, a fan since 1995, was told he was infringing trademarks ... and the clampdown could hit fans worldwide.
Raza, who lives in Karachi, Pakistan, said: "I am a diehard fan and I run an unofficial website."
"A couple of days ago the FA's legal representative contacted me and asked me to remove images that display the club crest."
"There are a lot more disturbing things on the web the authorities should be dealing with, rather than trying to stop sites with inoffensive material.
"They said that the use of the club crest imples that I am connected to Newcastle United.
"How they failed to notice the huge 'Unofficial Website' notice is beyond me!
"It is just utter nonsense that loyal fans are treated like this."
The matter could spark an embarrassing Save our Sites campaign against the club still trying to live down the Save Our Seats fiasco.
That campaign was launched in October 1999 after plans were revealed to move 4000 season ticket holders to make way for corporate clients.
The matter ended up in court where the club claimed a hollow victory.
A Newcastle United spokesman said: "The FA Premier League has a legal department which looks after the intellectual property of all the Premiership clubs.
"We have to establish parameters to protect our trademarks.
"There are so many of these sites and it is difficult to know who are the genuine fans and who are the commercial entities making money out of the club.
"Anyone using club trademarks gets a very polite 'cease and desist' letter.
"We have got 15 different trademarks and protecting them costs a fortune.
"There are other ways for people to show they are a Newcastle fan."