Unsold Season Ticket Totals Mean Newcastle Crowds Under 40,000 Almost Guaranteed
Five weeks ago today, I wrote an article in which I claimed that collapsing season ticket renewal totals would almost certainly mean that at least some Premier League crowds at St.James’ Park next season will fall below the forty thousand mark.
Something that would have been laughed at pre-Mike Ashley.
My article (see below) prompted a lot of debate and a small minority did treat with derision my belief that fans were turning away in such great numbers.
However, they may have to think again.
The club recently put unsold season tickets on general sale, as part of this process they put a map of the ground up with areas of the ground where you can click into the section and choose your season ticket seat from those that aren’t sold yet.
A painstaking hour or three later and I’d counted over seven thousand empty season ticket seats.
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Many parts of the ground you couldn’t access to check and my guess would be that the seven thousand+ empty seats were showing in sections that in total would hold around 25,000-30,000 people.
While some parts of the ground such as some areas of the East Stand will not show because they could well be sold out to season ticket holders, amongst the half or so of the ground you couldn’t access, it included the entire Level 7 which stretches the length of the Milburn and Leazes stands. Level 7 includes the massive family (cheap seat) enclosure plus the away fans section, as well as normal seats. Elsewhere the club are trying to sell family enclosure seats so clearly that section isn’t full, despite not being able to access it via the website St.James’ Park plan.
You might look at Manchester City on the first day and think that will generate whatever crowd, my guess is around 45,000 which will be helped by the attraction of the title holders and people able to travel to Newcastle due to holidays etc.
You only though have to look at the next game which sees Crystal Palace visiting. If say Palace bring a thousand fans then that knocks the gate down to fifty thousand with two thousand away tickets not taken up, and with a minimum of seven thousand empty season ticket seats (my guess is that this figure is far higher) you are heading down to forty three thousand, then with at least three thousand tickets sold match by match the club are only guaranteed less than that forty thousand figure. Though by my estimates the total number of tickets that will be pre-sold before single tickets are sold, will be much lower.
The mood was poisonous at that last home game despite Newcastle winning 3-0, with Alan Pardew not even able to step out of the dugout because of the derision that poured down on him.
Ashley has backed a manager that most fans have little or no faith in and no credible signings have been made that would make anybody think next season isn’t going to be a whole lot worse.
At a press of a button Mike Ashley could easily turn the situation around and invest credible money from sales of players such as Cabaye and the vast ever expanding TV income.
I really hope he does and fans come flocking back with soem belief in what is happening at the club, but I fear that is simple daydreaming, rows of empty seats and a team without flair or goals.
I’d love to see just how many people are contemplating buying a season ticket in the coming weeks…
This is what I wrote on 24 May;
I take no pleasure in stating my belief that Newcastle attendances will fall below 40,000 next season.
To me, any empty seat is a sad sight at St.James’ Park, but I am simply the messenger and saying what I see and hear.
(To feature like Dean, send in your letters/articles for our magazine/website to [email protected])
Many pundits, journalists and fans see that crowds stayed at the fifty thousand mark, even for the last game against Cardiff, and can’t understand why myself and others see worrying undercurrents of what could be just around the corner.
That fifty thousand last home match crowd would have been overwhelmingly made up of season ticket holders, that is where you make or break your attendances these days.
That is the nature of modern Premier League football, not like when myself and many of you paid match by match to stand on the terraces – back in the seventies and eighties it was only a very small proportion who would and could pay for a full season up front.
This week the Chronicle have reported that their recent survey suggests up to half of season ticket holders have not renewed/may not renew for next season.
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