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Friday, 24 November, 2000, 11:03 GMT
United waive fans' court costs
st james
Newcastle moved some season ticket holders as part of their ground redevelopment
Newcastle United have moved to draw a veil over an unseemly battle with six supporters by waiving court costs of 80,000.

The 'Save Our Seats' campaigners were left facing huge individual bills after the Court of Appeal ruled against them during the summer, leaving them liable for a total of 198,000 in costs, well in excess of the 118,000 provided by their insurance cover.

But United, who are currently desperately trying to rebuild their image after a series of public relations blunders, confirmed in a club statement that they would not pursue the claimants beyond the insurance limit.

The 'Save Our Seats' campaign was launched after Newcastle revealed plans to move 4,000 season ticket holders, many of whom had purchased a 500 bond which they believed entitled them to a specific seat for 10 years, to accommodate corporate clients at St James' Park.

Packages

Many of those affected accepted lucrative packages to move elsewhere in the stadium after a 42m redevelopment to increase the capacity to 52,000, but the campaigners were furious and vowed to battle all the way.

They received huge popular support in the early stages, collecting thousands of pounds to fund their court battle and encouraging stand-up protests and boycotts of club outlets.

But their High Court action was to fail when it was ruled that the club had the right to move them in exceptional circumstances, and the appeal too proved unsuccessful.


I'm very relieved that it's over, but it would have been nice if the club had done this in August
  Jane Duffy, Save Our Seats campaigner
Campaigner Jane Duffy was delighted at the announcement but still bitter about the whole saga.

Relieved

"I'm very relieved that it's over, but it would have been nice if the club had done this in August," she said.

"We ended up having to spend an additional 3,000 disputing their bill and then they have turned round and agreed to settle at our insurance limitation.

"They could have done that in August and the issue could have been resolved months ago.

"I can't speak for the other claimants, but I haven't been back to St James' Park this season and I certainly never had any intention of going back there while the club were chasing me for large amounts of money.

"Now I can take stock and decide if that has damaged my relationship with the club irreparably.

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