Manchester United are set to lose a latter day record that they have held for 42 years.
It may seem a bit unlikely to younger Newcastle fans but as recently as the 1970s, Manchester United were relegated.
In the 1973/74 First Division (now Premier League) season, Manchester United finished 21st of 22 clubs and were relegated, along with Norwich who finished bottom and Southampton who ended up one place above Man Utd.
It wasn’t by any close margin either, Birmingham ending the season one spot above the relegation zone and five points ahead of Manchester United, this at a time when it was only two points for a win.
That 1973/74 season saw Newcastle end up in 15th, whilst Leeds finished top, five points ahead of Liverpool. With Derby and Ipswich completing the top four, it means that three of the four teams occupying what is now more commonly called the ‘Champions League’ places, are now in the Championship (rather than the Champions League…).
It was no surprise to see Manchester United bounce straight back, finishing champions in Division Two that 1974/75 season. Aston Villa and Norwich also promoted, hopefully not a portent for this coming season…whilst back in May 1975 it was Sunderland who were the unlucky ones in fourth.
That season, Old Trafford saw some very variable crowds, the highest being the 60,585 that turned up to watch them win 3-2 against Sunderland, compared to the 21,616 that turned up to watch them beat Charlton 5-1 in the League Cup.
However, their average home attendance in the league was an outstanding 47,781.
In more recent times, Newcastle were easily the closest to challenging that 1974/75 average, with a home Championship one of 43,384 in 2009/10 as United bounced back to the Premier League under Chris Hughton.
Of course, that Manchester United stand out average attendance for the second tier is only the ourstanding one in more recent times, with a certain Newcastle United holding the overall record.
In the 1947/48 season, Newcastle recorded an unbelievable average of 56,299 in the second division, fully 8,518 more than Manchester United’s 1974/75 total.
This coming season I think it is nailed on, unless Mike Ashley manages to cock it up, that Newcastle United will beat that Manchester United total and maybe even a chance of recording an average of over 50,000, more than this past NUFC Premier League season.
Such has been the groundswell of positivity with the news that Rafa Benitez is staying and has had his demands met by Ashley, I think it is a good few years since I have heard anything close to this level of positivity and enthusiasm amongst Newcastle supporters.
If I have called it right, only empty seats in the corporate sections and maybe all of those midweek matches making an extra hurdle for both home and away fans, could derail what would be a magical figure if Newcastle could hit a 50,000+ average.