By Chris Wright
Newcastle United have seen fit to confiscate the season ticket of a 65-year-old, disabled grandmother after she was found guilty of the heinous crime of lending it to her son for one match – the first Toon home game she’d missed in 13 years!
Lilian Held, who lives within 10 minutes of St James’ Park, allowed her 29-year-old son Christopher to use her season ticket for Newcastle’s game against Southampton last December while she was away on holiday.
About 20 minutes into the game, Christopher was approached by stewards and asked to produce his match ticket. Seeing that the stub was for a disabled fan, he was thrown out of the ground, leaving his two 14-year-old twin nieces (Lillian’s granddaughters, with whom she usually attends Newcastle games) alone in the stadium.
Christopher was then also informed that his mother would have to come down to the ground herself if she wanted to retrieve her season ticket.
After getting back from her holiday on December 20th, Lilian traipsed to St James’ to retrieve her ticket, only to be told that her ticket had been ‘suspended until further notice’.
Lilian told the Chronicle:
“I was told my ticket would be suspended while the club investigated whether my son had sat in the seat regularly. I told them he never sits in the seat – I always sit in the seat and this was the first game I’d missed in 14 years.
“I only wanted the girls to be accompanied by an adult because I’m always there at home games to look after them.
“When I asked if I’d be missing the Boxing Day match, I was told I’d not only be missing that, I’d be missing the Arsenal match as well.”
Newcastle then failed to contact Lilian until January 4th, when they kindly told her that her season ticket had been sold to somebody else and that she’d have to pay the full-whack if she wanted to renew it.
Lilian, who actually used to work for Newcastle, originally brought the season ticket as a gift for her now-late husband and, unsurprisingly, says she feels she’s been treated “appallingly” by the club she’s supported all her life:
“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 games. Taking my ticket from me and selling my seat without giving me the right to even argue my case has completely ruined my year.”
According to the Chronicle, Lilian’s daughter Nicola wrote to the club on January 10th asking for an explanation, but has not yet received a response – and, when approached by the paper, Newcastle declined to comment on the matter.