There is no doubt the atmosphere at St James Park hasn’t been great for much of this season.
With slower more patient football and being in the second tier with more expectations of watching Newcastle win, there have been a number of factors contributing.
Not forgetting the main one of course, which is the current all-seater requirement which affects every home crowd these days in the English top leagues.
However, there have been special moments when St James Park has been rocking this season: the Leeds match was excellent in terms of atmosphere, the dramatic finale of the 4-3 Norwich game, promotion night against Preston, plus of course the final game of the season on Sunday.
Barnsley fans have reacted by saying that they’d forgotten just how loud St James Park could be and stated ‘I’ve been to lots of grounds but that has to be the loudest’.
I think the bottom line these days is that it is an all or nothing thing.
In the days of terracing, there was atmosphere provided all the way through a match by whatever part of the ground was the focal point at the time. So the brilliant Leazes End until pulled down in 1978, which then saw the corner/scoreboard of the Gallowgate being the go to place, then with all seater, you had the strip of seats at the end of the Milburn closest to the Leazes which started off much of the singing, before we then had the official singing section in the Leazes/Milburn corner before Mike Ashley quickly disbanded it when the protests started with Keegan forced out.
These days, the Leazes/Milburn corner (upper part) has once again come to life, as has the Gallowgate corner to an extent, but until standing areas are restored, I don’t think you will ever have one section of St James Park that keeps going for the full 90 minutes.
Instead, it is all or nothing, and as the comments suggest below, the atmosphere and noise was quality when the whole of St James Park is up and shouting their heads off.
It makes me smile just thinking about it.
Comments from Barnsley fans following Sunday’s game via their top BBS message board:
‘I have been quite a few times to St James Park since the 80s, and seen the stadium change beyond recognition, but I’d forgotten how loud that place was.
When they all got going yesterday it was very impressive. I’ve been to lots of grounds but that has to be the loudest.’
‘I had the privilege of working with the medical team at the Rugby World Cup in 2015, and had a touchline seat when Scotland played South Africa up there.
Acoustics are stunning, national anthems were spine tingling and the atmosphere once the game started was one of the best I’ve experienced. Their staff were the nicest of all the grounds we worked at too.’
‘Yeah we got looked after at St James Park. My mate is blind so they sorted us disabled parking, missed out the turnstiles and straight into the lift.
When you look at that stadium, and support, they’re massively under achieving as a club. They should be challenging at the top end of the premier league.’
‘Unsurprisingly, we were battered on Sunday by a vastly superior team. We particularly struggled down our left side, where Elder was terrorised by their right winger (Atsu), though to be fair to him he was afforded very little protection by Kent ahead of him, which was particularly exposed for their first goal.’
‘Almost glad for the Geordies. Real sense of arrogance about the mainly plastic Brighton fans since they got their new stadium/money so delighted to see them bottle the title in the last minute.’