When Newcastle United decided to make the whole of the Milburn Stand (below Level 7) corporate, they threw hundreds and hundred of fans out of their seats.
The supporters took the club to court (‘Save Our Seats’) but eventually lost, the Hall/Shepherd administration disgracefully succeeding in moving all of those loyal fans to alternative parts of St James Park against their will – some deciding to walk away totally after their treatment by the club.
Now hundreds and hundreds of Newcastle United fans once again face the prospect of being kicked out of their seats but it is outside forces at work this time.
The Premier League having agreed collectively that all clubs had to have at least one block of away supporters at pitchside, something which they claim is needed to help protect the atmosphere at top flight matches.
Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore saying at the time:
“Basically you won’t be able to be stuck up in the third tier, out in the corner, if you’re an away fan.
“It’s about atmosphere, one of the unique things about our game, particularly in England, is the amount of away fans and the noise they create.
“When an away goal is scored you want that atmosphere and interaction between the two sets of fans.”
If promoted, Newcastle are one of the very few clubs this would impact on, but salvation could be at hand.
Season ticket holders in the Leazes End who could have been forced to move to accommodate away fans from next season (if promoted…) may be saved after the club made representations to the Premier League.
The Chronicle report that NUFC have put together a ‘compelling case’ to be exempt from the new rule, if they go up this summer.
If successful, the exemption would be granted mainly for safety reasons, with Newcastle United arguing that the layout of the stadium means it would be all but impossible to segregate fans as they leave the stadium.
Fingers crossed that firstly, we are promoted, and secondly, that away fans stay where they are within St James Park.