When it comes to trophies in the modern era, it is a ‘little’ difficult to make a case for Newcastle United against Manchester United.
However, when it comes to the loyalty of fans, there is only one ‘United’ who come out on top and it isn’t the one from the North West.
It might surprise some younger fans to learn that Manchester United had a one-off season in the second tier as recently as 1974/75.
They came straight back up as champions and had an impressive 47,781 average home attendance, with altogether some one million three thousand paying fans going into Old Trafford that league season.
A modern day record that surely would never be beaten…
In 1947/48 it was Newcastle United who set the all-time second tier record, in that post-war era Newcastle averaged an astonishing 56,299 when promoted in second place, some one million one hundred and eighty two thousand fans flocking to St James Park.
So far, a total of 920,032 have attended the first 18 Championship games at St James Park at an average of exactly 51,113.
(In 2008/09, Newcastle had a total of 997,916 watching the 23 home Championship matches, at an average of 43,388)
The next eight days sees home matches with Wigan and Burton which will guarantee NUFC smash through the one million fan mark for league matches this season and eclipse the total number who attended Manchester United’s 21 home games (there were 21 home matches for NUFC in 1947/48 as well as compared to the 23 this season) back in 1974/75.
Even with two extra home games, this current Newcastle team are set to finish just below that 1947/48 total attendance figure (if the current 51,113 average was maintained over the next five matches, NUFC would end the season with a total of 1,175,599 having watched 23 league games at St James Park), though the average is definitely going to beat Manchester United’s 1974/75 record as well as the total number of supporters n a second tier season.
It is ironic that when Newcastle smash through the one million barrier against Burton it could well be the lowest home crowd of the season.
Burton are set to bring less than 500 fans, it is a midweek match, two home games within 4 days of each other, and normal adult prices starting at £27. Some fans had called for it to be a ‘local promotion’ match, where EFL rules allow Championship clubs up to four times a season to charge their fans a lower price than they do the away supporters – a one-off cheaper price could have helped protect against a lower attendance.
Nevertheless, the time and cash invested by Newcastle fans is nothing but impressive and hopefully last five home matches will see plenty to be proud of on and off the pitch.
Championship matches at St James Park 2016/17 so far:
52,079 Newcastle v Huddersfield
48,209 Newcastle v Reading
49,196 Newcastle v Brighton
52,117 Newcastle v Wolves
48,236 Newcastle v Norwich
51,885 Newcastle v Brentford
51,963 Newcastle v Ipswich
51,257 Newcastle v Cardiff
52,092 Newcastle v Blackburn
52,145 Newcastle v Birmingham
52,179 Newcastle v Sheffield Wednesday
52,208 Newcastle v Rotherham
47,909 Newcastle v QPR
52,271 Newcastle v Derby
50,024 Newcastle v Aston Villa
52,131 Newcastle v Bristol City
51,903 Newcastle v Fulham
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])