The opening two defeats to Fulham and Huddersfield weren’t particularly welcome from a Newcastle United point of view.
The following couple of matches (three if you include Cheltenham), weren’t brilliant but wins in all of them, with Brighton yesterday the first time that Newcastle’s attacking play really started to come together, despite no strikers (clearly Perez isn’t an out and out forward) in black and white on the pitch..
Despite all of this, I have enjoyed far more talking about and watching Newcastle United so far, than was the case in all but the final month of last season.
The reaction of Newcastle fans to relegation, has been…stupendous.
Of course the belief that Rafa Benitez has sparked, was of course the saving grace, all Newcastle supporters ask for – whatever the circumstances – is something to believe in.
Fifty two thousand fans at SJP for the visit of Huddersfield, forty eight thousand when Reading brought only 550 fans midweek, even twenty two thousand in the much devalued League Cup is very credible.
Away from home, seven thousand at Craven Cottage for a televised Friday night match in London, allocation for Bristol City instantly sold out, the same for Derby County in our next upcoming match.
It is easy to get blase about the whole thing…
Nobody has a divine right to be anywhere without earning it…but surely Saturday (yesterday) summed up how ridiculous it is that Mike Ashley got Newcastle United relegated twice within the space of seven years on his watch.
These were the highest football crowds in England on Saturday:
49,196 Newcastle 2 Brighton 0
41,607 Chelsea 3 Burnley 0
39,581 Everton 1 Stoke 0
31,727 Leicester 2 Swansea 1
31,211 Spurs 1 Liverpool 1
30,152 Southampton 1 Sunderland 1
24,560 Hull 0 Man Utd 1
23,503 Crystal Palace 1 Bournemouth 1
21,099 Bristol City 3 Aston Villa 1
20,995 Nottingham Forest 3 Leeds 1
20,545 Watford 1 Arsenal 1
The bottom line is more people paid to watch Newcastle playing football yesterday than anywhere else in England.
As people keep on saying, imagine if we ever achieved anything…
Mike Ashley could sweep away much of the negativity that still obviously exists towards him with one fell blow – put down a marker as to the ambitions for the club by declaring now the intention to build on at the Gallowgate End and make it to the same height as the Leazes and Milburn.
When Hall and Shepherd were in charge they had plans drawn up showing that this was possible and that a capacity of around 60,000 was possible at St James Park.
West Ham, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester City and others are going to have bigger capacities than Newcastle and NUFC need to maximise their full potential.
We already have by far the best location of any club in the country and in the years to come we need as many fans as possible to be able to enjoy supporting Newcastle United, plus of course help NUFC to be successful on and off the pitch.
The demand is already obviously there and with the amounts of money in football now, it should be a no-brainer once Newcastle United are back in the Premier League to stay.