NEWCASTLE United’s preparations for the new season have been disrupted after members of Alan Pardew’s backroom staff were told they would no longer receive complimentary match tickets from the club.
Staff including assistant manager John Carver, first team coach Steve Stone and goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman were informed on Saturday that a new system had been put in place whereby they must pay for family tickets.
They were offered complimentary tickets for the final warm-up game against Real Sociedad the following day, which Newcastle won 1-0 thanks to Moussa Sissoko’s late goal, but The Northern Echo understands the offer was declined out of protest.
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It is not known whether the new system applies to Pardew but sources insist that managing director Lee Charnley is keen to standardise the policy across all employees.
Coaching staff have previously been given four matchday tickets for a corporate box, while others including kitman George Ramshaw, have received two.
The policy is the latest in a string of cost-cutting measures owner Mike Ashley has been keen to enforce throughout the club, but after a positive summer that has seen nine new players arrive, the saga has threatened to disrupt the harmony around the training ground as well as preparations for the Magpies’ Premier League opener against Manchester City at St James’ Park on Sunday.
Midfield duo Siem de Jong (calf) and Cheick Tiote (hamstring) face a battle to be fit for Sunday’s game with the reigning champions, although reports surfaced yesterday that the latter could leave St James’ Park this summer.
Tiote was a key player for the Magpies last season – stepping in to captain the side in Fabricio Coloccini’s absence – but it is understood the player’s representatives are open to offers with clubs across Europe interested in signing the midfielder.
Despite the arrivals of de Jong, Remy Cabella and Jack Colback, losing Tiote would be a blow for the Magpies, who appointed the Ivory Coast international as vice-captain alongside de Jong.
A move away from Tyneside for Tiote would almost certainly see the Magpies ward off interest for young midfielder Mehdi Abeid.
The French-born Algerian international spent last season on loan at Panathinaikos and sources close to the Greek club suggest they are ready to make a permanent offer for the 22-year-old.
Meanwhile, former Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi has signed a one-year deal with Turkish second division side Gaziantep.
Ameobi has been looking for a club since the beginning of the summer after his contract at St James’ Park expired, ending 14 years at St James’ Park.