Last season was the straw that appeared to break the backs of thousands of Newcastle fans.

It hasn’t been terminal in terms of the impact it has had on the early season crowds but you do sense a stand-off.

The first two Premier League crowds at St James Park have been 49,019 for Southampton and 50,388 for the visit of Arsenal.

The official club website states that the Saints brought 1,250 away fans, whilst there were 3,200 Gooners when Arsenal visited, meaning there were 47,769 Newcastle fans at the first match and 47,188 at the last one.

Very respectable crowds for most clubs but they come against a backdrop of pretty much all Newcastle fans being pleasantly surprised at the summer transfer activity.

This is the case for the fans who still go to the matches, plus it appears to be the same for those who have stopped going.

However, both on crowd figures and anecdotal evidence, the stay away supporters (photo above is from Spurs match last season when Newcastle fans boycotted) are not being drawn back, they are encouraged by the transfer window but not enough to push them to go back.

It might be a bit simplistic to say that the threat of empty seats forced Mike Ashley to spend more than ever before, but it certainly looks to have played a part.

It is maybe no bad reminder to have these few empty thousand seats as Ashley surveys his black and white kingdom, telling him that there is still way to go in terms of rebuilding the team, club and any kind of longer term respect between fans and the hierarchy at SJP.

It may be a generalisation but it is broadly true, to say that those still going to home matches are more enthusiastic after the opening games, than those who have taken a step back.

It is human nature that when you are expending more time, money and energy on something, to actively look for positives.

Whereas those who haven’t been tempted back yet, look upon proceedings with a combination of some detachment and scepticism.

The truth may be that only when the stadium is regularly full and there are enough people of both persuasions filling St James Park, that we can say that the Newcastle fans are reunited/reconciled, and that the club is truly having new life breathed into it.