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Letters From Club Cause Panic Amongst Newcastle United’s Disabled Fans

 

1 min ago by The Mag

I am shaking with anger as I type this and I have asked the good people at The Mag to keep my identity secret just in case there were repercussions for the person that I’m writing on behalf of.

 

I’m very lucky as my ‘job’ entails helping a very special person live life to the full despite so many obstacles being put in her way.

 

One of the things I do as part of my ‘job’ is go along to St.James’ Park for free!

 

All well and good so far but let me explain.

 

The person I accompany to the matches is severely disabled, I go to every match as it it would be impossible for this supporter to do so alone and she needs somebody with them at all times in such an environment.

 

This week I turned up for work and I found her crying her eyes out, having had a letter from Newcastle United.

 

A covering letter and quite a complex form had arrived which wasn’t all that clear, especially to many of the people who would have received them.

 

Due to her disability, the lady I accompany pays 50% of the ticket price and is allocated a free ticket for her helper.

 

The letter which put her in such a state was asking for proof of her disability, with supporting evidence from her doctor etc. She’d got herself in such a state that when trying to understand what the club were saying/asking, she’d come to the conclusion that it meant she would no longer be able to go and see her beloved Newcastle United. Remember, people such as this lady have such a struggle in their lives and for many, the football club takes on extraordinary importance/significance. It isn’t just ‘another thing’ that she enjoys doing in her social life, for her and many others it is an all consuming passion and would leave a massive void if it wasn’t there.

 

As it happens, after I’d calmed her down and read the letter carefully myself, I understand she does still meet the criteria and will continue to be able to go to the matches and pay half price for her seat and have her essential helper. That is of course if she gets the written support of her doctor and fills in the form correctly etc etc

 

We understand that the club shouldn’t allocate such places to just anybody but the vast majority of those in this lady’s position are very well known to staff at the club having gone to matches for countless years.

 

Yes the club may have wanted to have a general catch-up but common sense would have dictated that most disabled fans in such positions would clearly meet the criteria without having to go and see your doctor and get written proof. By the very nature of their disability these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and sending out such letters is completely insensitive. Sadly, some disabled fans may now be missing at the start of next season due to misunderstanding this letter and/or not having the support system that the lady I know, has got.

 

The club even has a recognised disabled supporters organisation – NUDSA (Newcastle United Disabled Supporters Association). By working with NUDSA the club could have sensitively carried out this exercise which would have minimised upset for some of the club’s loyalist and most passionate supporters, whilst at the same time finding out if indeed some fans didn’t meet the criteria.

 

The club should hang their heads in shame and write to all disabled fans to apologise for this gaffe and use a different solution to achieve what they intended.

 

Yes we all understand football is a business these days (we are told often enough!!) but a football club without its supporters is an empty vessel.

http://www.themag.co.uk/the-mag-articles/letters-from-club-cause-panic-amongst-newcastle-uniteds-disabled-fans/

 

EDIT:

 

http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/4516/f4gu.jpg

 

http://img29.imageshack.us/img29/4047/n50j.jpg

 

http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/6268/wv4x.jpg

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The NUDSA tweeted the other day saying that they supported the club sending out letters.

 

I'm guessing they've read it and agreed with it.

 

Without being in that position myself, surely the club are allowed to be provided with proof if a person suffers from a legitimate disability?

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Guest Gemmill

Hard to know if they've done anything wrong really, depends what the letters say.

 

Aye. The principle of this is perfectly sound. Can't comment on the execution, although it wouldn't be remotely surprising if they'd ballsed it up.

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The NUDSA tweeted the other day saying that they supported the club sending out letters.

 

I'm guessing they've read it and agreed with it.

 

Without being in that position myself, surely the club are allowed to be provided with proof if a person suffers from a legitimate disability?

 

Indeed they are and already had it for each disabled fan.

 

They say this is to stamp out a disabled person getting the discounted season ticket for mates instead of themselves and I agree that has yo stop but this is not going to do that.

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The NUDSA tweeted the other day saying that they supported the club sending out letters.

 

I'm guessing they've read it and agreed with it.

 

 

Given the potential for upset, are the club allowed to contact the carer or third party on the disabled supporter's behalf?

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Guest neesy111

Hard to know if they've done anything wrong really, depends what the letters say.

 

This.

 

Maybe the execution of it, is what could be questioned?

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I can't see the images, but as Gemmill said I wouldn't be surprised if they were idiotic. That said, the club are entitled to check who should get a disabled seat.

 

Oh of course they are, no doubt there are some people with a disabled family member or mate that use them to get the discounted season ticket for them. This is what needs stopping but the measures the club have taken are not going to do that, a simple photo ID season ticket for the disabled supporter would fix the issue in an instant.

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Agree.

Looks like for once the club aint done too much wrong here.

Not sure why anyone would be "shaking with anger" over this? Seems a fairly straightforward form and process, which will actually benefit the genuine claimants and root out anyone fraudulently using the scheme.

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I can't see the images, but as Gemmill said I wouldn't be surprised if they were idiotic. That said, the club are entitled to check who should get a disabled seat.

 

Oh of course they are, no doubt there are some people with a disabled family member or mate that use them to get the discounted season ticket for them. This is what needs stopping but the measures the club have taken are not going to do that, a simple photo ID season ticket for the disabled supporter would fix the issue in an instant.

 

But a photo ID would still only be issued to someone who had been established/registered as disabled. So wouldn't there still need to be some sort of check? As I said though, I can't see the content of the letters so I might be waffling.

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I can't see the images, but as Gemmill said I wouldn't be surprised if they were idiotic. That said, the club are entitled to check who should get a disabled seat.

 

Oh of course they are, no doubt there are some people with a disabled family member or mate that use them to get the discounted season ticket for them. This is what needs stopping but the measures the club have taken are not going to do that, a simple photo ID season ticket for the disabled supporter would fix the issue in an instant.

 

But a photo ID would still only be issued to someone who had been established/registered as disabled. So wouldn't there still need to be some sort of check? As I said though, I can't see the content of the letters so I might be waffling.

Yes of course I had to prove when I got my season ticket years ago that I was blind, fair enough they check again.

So I provide proof of DLA & mobility, the issue is the attached form for you doctor to fill in.

If the government say you are disabled and require the level of help then surely that should be good enough for the club.

Why does the club need to know how my disability affects me in my day to day life ?

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I can't see the images, but as Gemmill said I wouldn't be surprised if they were idiotic. That said, the club are entitled to check who should get a disabled seat.

 

Oh of course they are, no doubt there are some people with a disabled family member or mate that use them to get the discounted season ticket for them. This is what needs stopping but the measures the club have taken are not going to do that, a simple photo ID season ticket for the disabled supporter would fix the issue in an instant.

 

But a photo ID would still only be issued to someone who had been established/registered as disabled. So wouldn't there still need to be some sort of check? As I said though, I can't see the content of the letters so I might be waffling.

Yes of course I had to prove when I got my season ticket years ago that I was blind, fair enough they check again.

So I provide proof of DLA & mobility, the issue is the attached form for you doctor to fill in.

If the government say you are disabled and require the level of help then surely that should be good enough for the club.

Why does the club need to know how my disability affects me in my day to day life ?

 

Does sound slightly OTT if they can't accept established proofs of disability... sending everyone back to their doctor specifically for this seems a bit silly. Didn't realise that was required. It's more an inconvenience than an outrage though I guess.

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I can't see the images, but as Gemmill said I wouldn't be surprised if they were idiotic. That said, the club are entitled to check who should get a disabled seat.

 

Oh of course they are, no doubt there are some people with a disabled family member or mate that use them to get the discounted season ticket for them. This is what needs stopping but the measures the club have taken are not going to do that, a simple photo ID season ticket for the disabled supporter would fix the issue in an instant.

 

But a photo ID would still only be issued to someone who had been established/registered as disabled. So wouldn't there still need to be some sort of check? As I said though, I can't see the content of the letters so I might be waffling.

Yes of course I had to prove when I got my season ticket years ago that I was blind, fair enough they check again.

So I provide proof of DLA & mobility, the issue is the attached form for you doctor to fill in.

If the government say you are disabled and require the level of help then surely that should be good enough for the club.

Why does the club need to know how my disability affects me in my day to day life ?

 

Does sound slightly OTT if they can't accept established proofs of disability... sending everyone back to their doctor specifically for this seems a bit silly. Didn't realise that was required. It's more an inconvenience than an outrage though I guess.

 

Cost of £20 for the doc to fill out the form, my doc was outraged mind, he could not believe the intrusion.

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I can't see the images, but as Gemmill said I wouldn't be surprised if they were idiotic. That said, the club are entitled to check who should get a disabled seat.

 

Oh of course they are, no doubt there are some people with a disabled family member or mate that use them to get the discounted season ticket for them. This is what needs stopping but the measures the club have taken are not going to do that, a simple photo ID season ticket for the disabled supporter would fix the issue in an instant.

 

But a photo ID would still only be issued to someone who had been established/registered as disabled. So wouldn't there still need to be some sort of check? As I said though, I can't see the content of the letters so I might be waffling.

Yes of course I had to prove when I got my season ticket years ago that I was blind, fair enough they check again.

So I provide proof of DLA & mobility, the issue is the attached form for you doctor to fill in.

If the government say you are disabled and require the level of help then surely that should be good enough for the club.

Why does the club need to know how my disability affects me in my day to day life ?

 

Does sound slightly OTT if they can't accept established proofs of disability... sending everyone back to their doctor specifically for this seems a bit silly. Didn't realise that was required. It's more an inconvenience than an outrage though I guess.

 

Cost of £20 for the doc to fill out the form, my doc was outraged mind, he could not believe the intrusion.

 

It is fairly ridiculous, for those people who have another way of proving they are disabled. Or are renewing a ticket where they've given proof recently.

 

Wonder what the motivation behind it is, there must be a cost to the club of all the admin as well.

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I am shaking with anger as I type this

 

I never knew James was disabled!

 

In all seriousness, this is proper shit that people are having to pay to have their form filled in. Can understand them wanting to ensure the seats are going to the correct people but there's surely far better ways to go about it.

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It's only fair to for the club to clamp down on fraud. Very well the person in question might get along with stadium staff at SJP but do the stadium staff even know the name of the person in question, and how can the vouch for people to the ticket office, and what if someone is playing fraud by pretending to be disabled at games?

 

Maybe the letter wasn't worded right, but lets be honest it's a very thin line between asking someone for a simple request of proof and the person being requested reading it differently and thinking they are being accused of doing something such as fraud.

 

Dave makes a valid point about some GP's requesting a fee for a confirmation letter but this is more of a problem with the NHS.

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