Awards celebration scrapped as Newcastle battle relegation

Troubled Newcastle United have cancelled an end-of-season awards dinner because it is deemed "not appropriate" with the club in danger of relegation.

John Carver's side halted a run of eight successive defeats with a 1-1 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion last Saturday, but other results left them just one place and two points above the relegation zone in the Premier League table.

It is the culmination of a wretched run of form, which has prompted mass unrest at St James' Park, with fans' protests against owner Mike Ashley a regular feature of recent home games.

Now a club statement has confirmed that the end-of-season awards dinner - a traditional celebration of the season just gone for most clubs up and down the country - has been cancelled, to ensure that focus remains on the club's battle against the drop.

The event was expected to raise thousands of pounds for the Newcastle United Foundation charity, but with the club's precarious league position taken into account and in light of a disastrous campaign in general, the event has been scrapped.

An official statement from the club, covered by the Guardian, read: "Newcastle United Football Club has made the very difficult decision that in view of the current league position, it would not be appropriate for the team and coaching staff to be celebrating the season and collecting awards at a time when our only focus is on the next two games and securing Premier League status.

“The club would like to extend its apologies for any inconvenience caused to those businesses who had purchased tables to support the event, but we hope that you can appreciate our decision has not been taken lightly. The club will work with the Foundation to find another opportunity to support them to raise funds for their outstanding work, which engages with over 50,000 people in our community.”

It is the latest in a series of PR blows for the beleaguered club, but interim manager John Carver will now seek to raise his players for the club's two remaining games, away at already-relegated Queen's Park Rangers on Saturday, and at home to West Ham the following Sunday.

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