Mike Ashley Must Let Newcastle Fans See Their Team
In the lead up to the vital match at Wigan, Alan Pardew has been urging the home club to allocate more tickets to Newcastle fans.
“I hope we get some more tickets and fill the place up. They could probably do with the money. Wigan’s going to be a massive game for us. It would be nice to see 8,000 to 9,000 Geordies somehow get in there, because it would feel like a home game”.
Nothing wrong with that BUT there is a bigger picture.
Yes I’d love us to have the whole Wigan ground if possible and there would be every chance of filling it – but with 4,500 tickets, in modern day terms, we can hardly moan.
There has been a massive issue with tickets this season but it isn’t when we fail to get eight or nine thousand for the likes of Wigan.
It has been ironic that this season’s success story on the pitch has probably been played out in front of the lowest total of Newcastle travelling supporters in modern times.
Yes we all know the days of taking over ten thousand to Old Trafford and paying on the gate are gone but Mike Ashley has taken it to an extreme.
Whatever credit you do or don’t give Mike Ashley for what has happened on the pitch this season, it is very much down to him why Newcastle fans both in the north east and all around the country have found it almost impoossible to support the team at away matches.
Yes I’d love to see more that 4,500 at Wigan but I’d much rather see more than what is almost certain to be a ridiculous 1,500 or less at Chelsea, for what could be the most important match of the season.
The refusal of Mike Ashley to take more than the bare minimum of tickets because of a perceived risk of having to pay for any unsold ones, means there were the following numbers supporting the team this season at…Manchester United (1,844 NUFC), Arsenal (1,470 NUFC), Manchester City (1,685 NUFC and Spurs (1,795 NUFC).
An added irritant is that all of these opposition fans will be loving the fact we take so few and will be asking us where we parked our minibus!
Yes we all want Newcastle United to be winning matches but many of us also want to SEE them do it and TV is no substitute, especially if you are a Geordie exile living somewhere like London and trying to brainwash your kids into the black & white way of life, rather than Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United.
For the long-term health of the club this is just as essential as the jobs Alan Pardew and Graham Carr are doing.
Newcastle United need to be making every effort to expand their fanbase and Mike Ashley needs to understand that it makes massive financial sense as well.
When Wimbledon were leading their nomadic existence there would be around ten thousand mainly exiled Newcastle fans would turn up because that was the only match they knew they could get into.
With a minimum of marketing which would be pretty much cost free these days due to the availability of Facebook, Twitter and the club website, I believe every single away ticket could easily be sold.
Newcastle fans both in the north east and all around the country just need the opportunity and Mike Ashley certainly owes them that.
If the club’s owner is willing to change his stance on away tickets I might just start to believe that he is interested in the long-term health of Newcastle United.
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