One of the benefits of falling into the Championship for many Newcastle fans is the perceived greater availability of away tickets.
With Premier League stadiums generally able to sell out on a regular basis, Newcastle fans have become used to the constraints of 3,000 tickets maximum for most away games.
To make matters worse, Newcastle United continued last season not to take the full allocation on offer, with puzzling decisions such as yet again taking only 2,000 when playing Arsenal at the Emirates.
Combined with the club’s insistence on paying £35 for a year’s membership (season tickets holders are charged this as part of their season ticket price) before you were even allowed to buy an away ticket, Newcastle fans were expecting some respite from these tight constraints when dropping into the second tier.
However, thoughts of easily accessible away tickets due to regular big ticket allocations look to be unfounded.
Looking at the available information from recent seasons at the 23 other clubs, it would appear we won’t be travelling in big numbers very often, unless some clubs decide to make Newcastle some sort of exception. Which is unlikely as you already have clubs such as Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday who usually take big away supports when given the opportunity.
There looks to be only eight of the 23 Championship clubs where Newcastle will be guaranteed more than the usual Premier League 3,000 maximum away tickets, these being:
Barnsley (minimum of 4,000 away tickets)
Birmingham City (5,000)
Fulham (2,700 plus the adjacent ‘neutral’ area which clubs such as Newcastle usually more or less take over)
Sheffield Wednesday (Minimum of 4,000)
To make matters worse, we already know that at least three of these eight games above will be through the week with
Barnsley – Tuesday 18 October
Wigan – Tuesday 13 December
I have to say that the thought of Wigan away on a Tuesday night in December only 12 days before Christmas, doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing!
We also have trips to the likes of Burton and Brentford where the allocations are likely to be no more than around 1,700.
Of the other clubs, Villa is one of the few where Newcastle should be guaranteed to get 3,000 tickets (though they refused to increase that allocation for the final (Newcastle away) match of last season despite having 10,000 empty seats), whilst that should hopefully also be the case with the likes of Forest and Leeds who have decent sized grounds.
In most case though we are probably looking at closer to 2,000 than 3,000 away tickets for matches, especially with Newcastle being the biggest draw in the Championship and more locals certain to turn out when United are visiting.
It is a big departure from those days of terracing and promotion campaigns in 1983/84 and 1992/93 when Newcastle often took over places, whilst even seven years ago in our last Championship visit, tickets seemed a lot easier to come by.