fans9Alan Pardew has stated he’ll put a strong side out on Thursday but as well as looking to see who he picks in his first eleven, I’ll be keeping an eye out on the crowd as well.

For whatever reason, I don’t think the Newcastle fanbase as a whole has really embraced European football.

Of course we get respectable crowds compared to most but for some unknown factor it isn’t really truly love.

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The league takes priority for most and of course the majority are tied to Premier League matches with their season tickets but for me the Euro crowds have been disappointing down the years.

I know they are midweek matches and of course it is all extra money for fans to find but I still don’t think that tells the whole story. People talk an awful lot about qualifying for Europe and celebrate that achievement…then many stay home and watch the actual European matches on TV!

I’m not talking about just the Europa League matches, when we qualified for the Champions League the crowds puzzled me as well.

When Newcastle played the likes of Juventus (48,370) and Inter Milan (50,108) at home in 2002, neither match sold out at St.James’ Park. In fact two years before that United played Bradford in a League Cup 3rd round match in November 2000 and it attracted a crowd of 41,847, yet two years later Newcastle attracted fewer fans to Champions League home matches against Dynamo Kiev (40,185), Feyenoord (40,540) and Bayer Leverkusen (40,508). How do you work that one out?

Layout 1This season the crowd stats have been Atromitos 29, 242, Bordeaux 30,987, Brugge 33,124 and Maritimo 21,632. The Maritimo one was very disappointing but there was a bit of misplaced complacency all round that nearly backfired, from fans as well as players.

The other three attendances are decent but you would have thought that now we are moving into the knockout stages and the chance to maybe see the likes of Mapou and Hadaira for the first time, plus maybe for many possibly the first glimpse of Sissoko, you would have seen a major jump in the crowd figure for the FC Metalist match?

As it stands though, the whole of Level 7 will once again be closed, knocking around 15,000 off the capacity and meaning a maximum possible crowd of somewhere around 37,000. It isn’t as though there is much more that they could do with the ticket prices, £15 and £5 concessions is great value.

There may still be a fair number of tickets left at the moment of the 37,000 or so currently available but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a big walk up on the night and a bit of chaos as everybody tries to get in, with the club currently advertising that there will be cash turnstiles open. How flexible the club can be with opening parts of Level 7 is open to question but I would love to think that it will be something Newcastle need to do for this match.

What I do know is that I’ll be there for another potentially great European night, will you?

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Roysten59 5pts

What a great account of things. If mcclaren has any sort of power over this captaincy, ("which I personally don't feel he does since colo's bew contract! I also don't see him having the power to drop the captain or any top earner as this would be like not advertising your top range") surely it's time to set an example and make the sacrifice and show the other players that no one is to good to be dropped if playing under par.

SteveSmith16 5pts

They're a bunch of work-shy cowards.

Examples need to be made of the whole squad.

Put all names into a hat, including McClaren and the coaches and sack every 5th names drawn out. No exceptions.

Shock the whole squad back to life and fill all positions with suitable replacements. And that's me being lenient.

A Roman style decimation would be too good for this sorry lot.

Alsteads 5pts

I watch Dummett and Janmaat doing the same now. If Dummett had of stood facing then it would never had went in off his back. They are an absolute disgrace to the shirt and sooner or later something has to give.The times we have let these pathetic excuse of players off the hook has to be the final time. I just wish we had went down last season so we could see what FCB really wanted to do. I will take relegation if there is any chance of ridding the club of the whole sorry pathetic shxte that is criminally going under the name of Newcastle United at the moment.

Elliott (for his endeavour only) aside every single one of those players are a disgrace 

1957 5pts

When Colo eventually leaves us he will have his choice of parts in a Wizard of Oz musical for he clearly has no brain, no heart and lacks courage.

Of all the decisions made at NUFC over the last few years retaining him with a new contract is one of the worst. He should have been allowed to leave in the summer and been replaced, almost anyone could have done better, he has had no commitment to  NUFC for a long while and as a captain doesn't even give the impression of leading by example as some within the club have always claimed. 

jimblag 5pts

It shouldn't even matter about the captain, if you're a footballer, especially a pro one, you try your hardest!!