Newcastle began their pre season training on Wednesday and in only five days time play their opening pre season friendly against Gateshead.

Obviously, Newcastle’s neighbours are well pleased that United are sending their first team over to the International Stadium, rather than the reserve team which has been the case in recent years.

Reporting on how ticket sales are doing, Gateshead Chairman Graham Wood said he expects his club to  make signings before Friday’s game, which is fair enough as you’d expect him to know that being the Chairman.

However, Wood also talks of expecting Newcastle to make signings, finally, this coming week as well.

He may be just talking off the top of his head to drum up interest but even if Newcastle somehow managed to get a decent signing ‘over the line’ in the next few days, it isn’t as though he would then be instantly playing against Gateshead. I prefer to believe that he just have heard of movement behind the scenes on the other side of the river.

Graham Wood:

“With the showpiece pre-season fixture against Newcastle United less than a week away, a sell-out crowd is anticipated.

“Sales at the International Stadium are ramping up in line with expectations and the Newcastle ticket office has reported a good trend with sales expected to continue rising in the coming days.

“Both clubs are expected to make player signings next week which will undoubtedly boost interest still further.”

We are all looking for scraps of optimism and this is mine!

Elsewhere, the newspapers this morning are just filled with the same old same old, the Sundays obviously having to have something to try and attract punters. The usual names of Charlie Austin, Diego Rolan, Georginio Wijnaldum being variously reported as edging closer to a Newcastle deal, though with no extra/useful info to back them up.

If you are interested in getting a first glimpse as to whether the players who let us down last season, are looking any better after ten days under Steve McClaren, tickets for the Gateshead v Newcastle United went on sale on Wednesday.

Newcastle fans have been allocated the North, South and East stands for the fixture at the International Stadium on Friday 10 July (8pm kick-off) and are available from the Newcastle United Box Office.

Interestingly, the club appear to have seen sense, at least for this fixture, and haven’t insisted that people buying a ticket have to be an NUFC member.

The tickets are priced at £15 adults, £10 over-60s, £8 students and those aged 16-17, £3 for under-15s.

The match is ticket only and under 15s must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets can be bought in person at St. James Park Box Office (located on the first floor of the Club Store) or by calling 0844 372 1892 (premium rate line) or online via

The St. James Park Box Office opening hours

Monday-Friday 10am-5pm

Saturday 9am-4pm (in person and online only)

The final posting of Newcastle United tickets will be on Tuesday 7 July.

Requests for wheelchair and carer tickets should be made via Gateshead Council on 0191 433 5704. There is limited space available on a first come, first served basis.

Gateshead supporters will be seated in the Tyne and Wear stand and tickets for this area will be available from the International Stadium only at the following times

Wednesday 1 July: 4-8pm

Thursday 2 July: 4-8pm

Friday 3 July: 4-8pm

Saturday 4 July: 2.30-5pm

***Gateshead tickets cannot be purchased by phone or online from the International Stadium.

All details of Newcastle United’s pre-season friendlies can be viewed HERE, though Sacramento Republic have announced NUFC’s friendly at Bonney Field is a sellout.