Newcastle United have announced a major policy change, with away tickets now to be made available to the general public.

The last five years have seen away tickets only sold to season ticket holders and members.

The club claimed it was due to some younger supporters running onto the pitch during a friendly at Darlington, alleging it was to ensure better behaviour of Newcastle away fans, but the vast majority of Newcastle fans simply thought this was a lame excuse to justify forcing fans to pay a £35 one year membership (if not already a season ticket holder) before they were allowed to buy any away tickets.

To sum up how daft this rule was in terms of looking after the fanbase, if Newcastle had been drawn away at Cheltenham in the cup last night instead of at St James Park, a Newcastle fan living in Cheltenham who might only have been able to go to that single game all season – would have had to have paid £36 (£35 for a year membership plus the £1 per away ticket NUFC charge their own fans) on top of the ticket price.

It may have taken some time (five years!!!) but credit to the club for at last listening to supporters and helping to ensure Rafa Benitez and his team will have full backing wherever they play this season.

Away Tickets will still go on sale to season ticket holders and members first but then if there are unsold tickets, these are set to go on sale to Newcastle fans who are neither.

The change of policy was first revealed at the Newcastle United fans forum meeting on Wednesday night, a meeting that Rafa Benitez attended in an informal capacity to meet supporters and answer questions.

Newcastle United making public the Away Tickets change of policy on Thursday morning:

‘Fans Forum minutes will be published at in coming days, the club confirmed during the meeting that it will be making away tickets available on general sale for selected fixtures during this season following supporter requests.

Season ticket holders and members will continue to enjoy priority access to all away match tickets as normal throughout the 2016/17 campaign, with demand expected to be extremely high for most fixtures.

However, should away tickets not completely sell out during designated priority sale periods, the club will make them available to all fans where possible.’

Exactly how many games will go on general sale remains to be seen but the important thing is that hopefully from now on, no away tickets will go unsold when there are Newcastle fans willing to buy them.

Much will depend on how big the ticket allocations are and if and when matches are moved to awkward times for TV – but with so many midweek games these for example are possibles:

Barnsley – Tuesday 18 October 2016

Wigan – Tuesday 13 December 2016

Norwich – Tuesday 14 February

Reading – Tuesday 7 March