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Tyne Talk

Should We Worry About 3,000 Missing Newcastle Fans?

8 years ago

A week after Newcastle win at Old Trafford for the first time in 41 years there are 3,000 missing Newcastle fans, should we be worried?

I don’t know about anybody else but despite the uplifting results against the likes of Chelsea, Spurs and the Mancs, I can’t help but feel that things are a little flat.

The fans still participate in the ninety minutes, though the atmosphere hasn’t been brilliant, then in the immediate aftermath of a win there is the instant afterglow and supporters head off happily into the night but…

I do think that between matches things fizzle out and my take on it is that most supporters struggle to see any longer-term story in it. The results happen in isolation and there is little belief in these wins being building blocks to something of more substance.

Against Southampton the official crowd figure was 49,164 with a half decent 1,200 from the south coast.

This was the lowest league crowd at St.James’ Park since the late Ben Arfa winner against Fulham (apologies – initially confused this with the West Ham bore draw) in August when 46,402 filed into SJP.

So having won our last 3 Premier League home matches and the game at Old Trafford, I think most would have assumed it would have been a full house against the Saints with the opportunity of really establishing ourselves in that top grouping. A win would have meant we’d have been three points off the Premier League placings with winnable looking matches against Palace and Stoke to come.

With tickets on sale from £15 for adults and £5 for kids you can hardly point to pricing as a reason for the empty spaces.

Sometimes we (and outsiders!) judge our crowds too harshly and 49,000 is by no means a disaster but a full St.James’ Park is a point of pride for many of us.

We set high standards/expectations when it comes to our support the club, if not in terms of trophies…

I would hope that Mike Ashley would in some way have a little think about why a lot of fans aren’t really buying into Newcastle United at the moment despite encouraging results.

Piling high and selling cheap will only go so far when it comes to your football club, other factors are much more important.

I know a lot of fans who have stopped going after many years of support and many others who continue simply because it is what they do…and the chance to meet their mates pre and post-match for refreshments.

With the stadium in the heart of the city, supporting Newcastle United has always been a very social event for so many of us and it definitely helps bind the support together, especially through the bad times.

Currently we have a handful of very good players, others who are decent and have a great work ethic, plus a manager who while dividing opinion in many ways – does appear to get the players playing for him. That is a healthy start but needs building on, especially with the team so overly reliant on Cabaye and Remy for creativity and goals.

I often think that if only Mike Ashley could suddenly grasp what Newcastle United are all about then it would take very little for the club to really start and drive forward again.

Buying the 2 or 3 players in January who could really raise the bar and also the possibility of turning this season from encouraging with a few real highlights, to something that could possibly give the other top teams a run for their money in that top four/six.

Bringing in a proper management team (having a Chief Executive/Managing Director would be a start!) off the pitch to drive revenue into the club and  of course the rest of Ashley’s empire paying a market rate for all of the current free advertising at St.James’ Park.

Rid the club of the petty behaviour such as banning the local press from contact with players/manager and NUST from the Fans Forum.

The most ironic thing of all is that if Mike Ashley saw the light then he is the one with the very most to gain.

As a Newcastle fan you live in hope but until we are all pushing together then it is always going to be a forlorn one.

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