This story will not make Warren Barton happy.
A 65-year-old disabled grandmother and lifelong Newcastle United fan had her season ticket pulled from the club after missing her first match in more than 13 years!
Lilian Held, who lives just a few blocks from St. James Park, had given her ticket to Newcastle’s December fixture against Southampton to her son while she went on vacation. That way, she thought, her two granddaughters, who usually accompany her to the games, would still be able to attend with adult supervision.
Wait, it gets worse.
Midway through the first half of that game, stewards threw Lillian’s 29-year-old son out of the stadium for wrongly being in the seat designated for disabled fans, leaving his 14-year-old twin nieces all alone in the stadium!
OK, surely it can’t get any worse, right?
Upon returning from vacation, Lillian immediately attempted to retrieve her seized season ticket, only to be informed weeks later that her ticket had been sold to another fan. She could pay for a new one next season.
Appalled, Lilian told her story to local paper The Chronicle:
“I have sat in that seat for years. I’m a lifelong fan of Newcastle United and I worked for the club in the 1990s where I had my picture taken with Kevin Keegan.
“Going to the match is the only bit of social time I get. I live for those home. Taking my ticket from me and selling my seat without giving me the right to even argue my case has completely ruined my year.”
After being bombarded with phone calls and messages after the newspaper ran the story on Thursday, Newcastle felt “compelled” to respond.
This is the club’s statement:
Mrs Held’s subsidized disabled season ticket was cancelled and a pro rata refund given for remaining games of the 2013/14 season following reports of alleged misuse and a subsequent investigation.
As part of this investigation, it was found that Mrs Held’s disabled season ticket seat was being used by an able-bodied supporter during the Newcastle United v Southampton fixture, which is against the terms and conditions agreed at sale.
Mrs Held remains welcome at St James’ Park and can reapply for a concessionary season ticket next season.
Really? There was no better way to settle this?
Well done, Newcastle. *Sarcastic applause*