Former boss doubts Newcastle players will be able to handle Leeds atmosphere
When it is Leeds v Newcastle in 10 days time, Elland Road will see its first full house for a league match in six years.
The highest so far this season is 28,514 when Huddersfield visited, although gates haves fallen as low as nineteen thousand for Championship matches – the last home match at Elland Road saw 24,220 turn up against Burton.
Despite Newcastle averaging over fifty thousand at St James Park, one-time Leeds boss Neil Redfearn wonders if the visiting players will cope with the occasion.
Redfearn says that the Newcastle team will not have come across anything similar to what the Elland Road atmosphere is like when it is full.
Whilst there is no doubt St James Park is remarkably quiet at times despite the number of fans, we still have our moments.
Maybe he should be worrying more about how the Leeds players will react to the atmosphere, with most of them, if not all, never having seen Elland Road full before – unless they have been playing there for over six years.
In contrast, most of the Newcastle team have played in the Premier League, as well as many of them playing for their countries, plus some competing in the Champions League in the past.
Ritchie and Hanley are set to play for Scotland against England at Wembley on Friday, Mitrovic in front of the Serbian fans, Shelvey has played for Liverpool against Man Utd, many of the Newcastle team will have played against Sunderland last season and so on.
Last season (2015/16), the highest crowd at Elland Road was also against Huddersfield – 29,311, whilst going back the previous four years, the highest gates were 31,850 v Rotherham (2014/15), 33,432 v Brighton (2013/14), 33,816 v Chelsea (League Cup 2012/13) and 33,366 v West Ham (2011/12).
Having said all that, it should be a really good atmosphere with decent rivalry and as one of the 2,764 Newcastle fans with a ticket, I am really looking forward to it.
Neil Redfearn talking to Radio Yorkshire:
“There are going to be thirty four thousand Leeds fans and two thousand Newcastle fans, it is going to be a bit partial.
“Interesting to see how these Newcastle players will cope with it.
“As big as the gates are that Newcastle do get, they will not have come across anything like the atmosphere that you get at Elland Road when it is full.”
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