Newcastle United give ‘guidance on matchday attire’ after fans’ head coverings ‘gesture’ at St. James’ Park

Newcastle United have sent a message to supporters, asking them to dress as they normally would when attending football matches after a number of Magpies fans attended the weekend match wearing Arabic-inspired garments as a “welcoming” gesture to the new owners.

Following the conclusion of the long-running takeover saga, which was completed during the international break, the club’s first match under new ownership came against Tottenham at St. James’ Park.

While the Magpies ultimately suffered defeat – which hastened the sacking of Steve Bruce on Wednesday – there was unquestionably an air of optimism among supporters, several of whom opted to don robes or create variations of head coverings to signify their support for the new ownership group.

Now, the club has thanked those fans for the welcome and made it clear they were not unhappy with the show of support by wardrobe choice, but have also pointed out that others may be less-than-pleased to see culturally significant objects used in a manner not intended.

Their statement read:

“Newcastle United is kindly asking supporters to refrain from wearing traditional Arabic clothing or Middle East-inspired head coverings at matches if they would not ordinarily wear such attire.

“A number of supporters have recently attended St. James’ Park wearing associated head coverings and robes, marking the takeover of the club by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media.

“No-one among the new ownership group was in any way offended by the attire of the fans who chose to celebrate in this way. It was a gesture that was acknowledged as positive and welcoming in its intent.

“However, there remains the possibility that dressing this way is culturally inappropriate and risks causing offence to others. All visitors to the club are, as always, encouraged to wear whatever is the norm for their own culture or religion, continuing to reflect the broad and rich multicultural communities and groups from which the club proudly draws its support.”

The first major decision by the new owners has been to dismiss Bruce from his role, a move which most expected to happen.

There also remain many questions to be answered from within the club and beyond, with Amnesty International among those asking for talks with the Premier League and top-flight clubs not happy they were not advised that the takeover would be going ahead. That displeasure and the uncertainty around Newcastle’s new-found wealth was displayed with a vote to block sponsorships from Saudi-related organisations that the owners have associations with.

In non-football matters, there are also still issues the club will face questioning on, as evidenced by a van driving around the stadium with a “Justice for Jamal Khashoggi” poster before the Spurs match and the matter of “sportswashing” remaining a constant theme around the entirety of the takeover.

Newcastle’s next match is away to Crystal Palace on Saturday, while their next home match – when fans’ willingness to listen to the club’s request over matchday attire will be noted – is the following weekend against Chelsea.

Original article published 20.10.21 on the Independent website and Apple News.

To view click here 

© The Fan Experience Company 2020