Some 90 minutes before Newcastle United kick-off against Crystal Palace, the club have made an official announcement that the game is sold out.

It seems to be an awful long time ago now, when Newcastle NOT selling out St James Park was news!

Obviously it is quite mental the support that Newcastle have continued to receive this season despite the rubbish football and ongoing resnetment towards Mike Ashley.

As we all keep asking ourselves, just how many people could Newcastle attract if we were successful…

Although Mike Ashley is also doing his best to deal with that one, by him personally (overseeing it, not using a shovel himself…) developing land opposite the Gallowgate end which would then make it realistically impossible to ever expand St James Park in the future – as that end of the stadium is the only one that could be significantly increased.

When Hall & Shepherd ran the club, they had plans drawn up that showed capacity could be increased up to around 60,000 by bringing the Gallowgate end up to the height of the Milburn and Leazes.

Today’s sold out signs at St James Park are ironically the first ones seen (excluding the derby last month of course) since Alan Pardew’s final match as Newcastle United manager on 28 December 2014.

Quite mental to think, especially for those of us who lived through the Keegan and Sir Bobby eras, that we saw the entire Newcastle careers of two managers (Carver and McClaren) without a single sold out crowd.

No doubt Alan Pardew will think everybody has turned out to see him…

No room for complacency though when it comes to Mike Ashley and his minions, as the near six thousand empty seats 11 days ago meant it was the lowest NUFC home league crowd in almost three years.

If the owner doesn’t build on the decision to appoint Rafa Benitez and start to do things properly from now on, then crowds will only head one way.