Mike Ashley has been badly hit by Newcastle fans boycotting season ticket sales, after failing to convince supporters that he is going to change the way he runs the club.
Massive resentment has built up over recent years with Newcastle now being outspent by clubs such as West Ham, Swansea and Southampton, despite generating far more money than those clubs, season after season.
Ashley twice moved the season ticket deadline back, despite renewal packs being sent out to fans as far back as March, the deadline for season ticket holders to renew was moved back twice from the original May date, ending up with a final deadline of 19 June.
The Newcastle United owner was hoping that his end of season speech on the day of the West Ham match, plus a series of positive transfer stories carried by friendly media, would persuade fans to renew but that has clearly had little effect.
Despite season ticket sales also now being opened up to the general public, that has also predictably fallen on deaf ears.
(Thanks to Chris Holt for burning the midnight oil coming up with the following information on numbers of season ticket sales and those that remain unsold. You can visit Chris’ blog HERE, plus you can follow him on Twitter @MikeAshleyLies)
Chris has painstakingly gone through the stadium plan that you can access on the official club website. This allows you to access the various areas in each of the four stands at St James Park, with fans looking to buy a season ticket able to see which seats are sold and which are not.
A number of areas you can’t access, such as the whole of Level 7 where the family enclosure season tickets are.
However, so far Chris has gone through sections which make up almost half the stadium capacity and this is the breakdown of the sold and unsold seats.
As you can see, almost 30% of these sections are empty, with 6,926 of the 24,154 season tickets remaining unsold.
The images below show the state of play as of today (29 June) in a section from each of the four stands, with the empty season tickets those marked as green:
East Stand Upper block H:
Gallowgate Upper Block V
Milburn A Paddock L1A
Leazes Upper Block L4W
As Mike Ashley has found, talk is cheap.
If he is to stand any chance of getting St James Park up to anywhere near capacity, he must allow money to be invested in the Newcastle United squad, unlike three of the last four transfer windows which saw not a single first team squad player bought in.
Credible signings need to be made, which will convince Newcastle fans that there is genuine ambition withn St James Park.
***As this article went live, access to the stadium plan disappeared. Coincidence?
****Stadium plan is now back up, access via the club website.