Following the great win over Wolves on Sunday, I think many of us were disappointed to see photos on social media of flags being taken from St James’ Park by “supporters”.

Many simply refer to this as theft but it is to be hoped the shaming of some of those who have taken flags by putting their photos on social media will serve two purposes – firstly lead to the return of stolen flags and secondly act as a deterrent to those who might think about it in future.

As if anyone didn’t know, the flags are funded by donations from supporters to Wor Flags. This is how it has been from the start when Alex Hurst and I initially organised the displays under the banner (pun intended) of Gallowgate Flags.

There are no donations from the club or anyone else. It is all from supporters putting their hands in their pockets to make these wonderful displays happen. They are an example of what can be achieved by all of us acting collectively for the greater good.

The impact of taking the flags away isn’t just monetary. It reduces the future displays but it is also hugely disheartening to those who give up a lot of spare time, often late into the night at St James’ Park when it is freezing cold and inconvenient for many. We owe the grafters a debt of gratitude.

So, what can be done?

Well, we can get the message out across the support and make this a real taboo amongst supporters and it is something which simply should not happen. We have proven time and time again, we are better than that.

I have info from sources at the club that since Sunday, flags have been returned to St James’ Park so that is a real positive. I doubt all of them will have been returned and I just wonder what the purpose of nicking flags can be? Hoard them out of sight in a shed? That kind of selfish mindset escapes the vast majority of us all.

It is a minority who take flags but they do damage a real, positive bona-fide, collective effort that represents all Newcastle United supporters. We know the displays have become the envy of fans elsewhere but not all have the wherewithal to do the hard miles to bring them to fruition.

Let’s do everything possible to support the flag displays at St James’ Park and that starts by making it a crime against Newcastle United for them to be nicked.

You can support the Wor Flags display here 

Michael Martin, @TFMick1892