The number of Newcastle fans going to St James Park has fallen for the fifth time in a row this season.

The opening game of the season against Southampton saw 48,460 Newcastle fans watch the 2-2 draw against the Saints, with the visitors bringig 1,250 supporters.

With every passing home match, the trend has continued, with the game against Stoke showing a drop again in the number of Newcastle fans at St James Park.

This is despite it being a 3pm Saturday kick-off, beating Norwich 6-2 in the last home game, not live on TV and it being a cheaper reciprocal price ticket deal with Stoke, meaning a good number of home tickets were reduced in price for the game as well.

Any positivity that is being felt with improved performances at least in parts of matches, isn’t being translated into attracting missing fans back to the games.

I hate to see any empty seats at St James Park but this is the first time we have experienced this kind of thing in the Premier League era at Newcastle.

So many people have just had enough of what Mike Ashley has done to the club, with the belated ambition/desperation shown in the summer transfer window too little too late for many.

So far the crowds at St James Park read:

49,710 v Southampton (48,460 home fans, 1,250 away supporters)

50,388 v Arsenal (47,188 home fans, 3,200 away supporters)

47,806 v Watford (45,556 home fans, 2,250 away supporters)

48,682 v Chelsea (45,521 home fans, 3,161 away supporters)

47,006 v Norwich (44, 890 home fans, 2,116 away supporters)

47,139 v Stoke (44,639 home fans, 2,500 away supporters)

As you can see, the season started with 48,460 Newcastle fans inside St James Park but with each passing figure that has become lower and lower.

By the time we reached Stoke on Saturday, there were 3,821 less United fans in the ground as compared to that opening day.

Considering attractive matches such as Arsenal and Chelsea have already been and gone, the ground has surprisingly never been close to being full, even though both London clubs brought more than 3,000 fans.

Especially when you take into account over £50m worth of new signings.

For most clubs these kind of attendances would be more than satisfactory but for Newcastle fans, a full St James Park has become a badge of pride, especially when the lack of success on the pitch becomes ever more pronounced.

Over five thousand empty seats is a horrific sight at St James Park, can goals and good football bring those people back, or is the Mike Ashley factor too big a hurdle for some people to overcome?

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