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Remarkable – Rafa Benitez produces Newcastle’s biggest average attendances under Mike Ashley (since his first season)

4 years ago

If you ever needed to know just how much the positivity at Newcastle United is down to Rafa Benitez, just take a look at the average attendances.

At St James Park, a total of 1,175,484 Newcastle fans (and visitors) have attended the 23 Championship games, at an average of 51,108.

Over the course of the 23 home matches, St James Park saw an astonishing 437,000 more fans attending than Villa Park, the Championship club with the next highest average (nineteen thousand less than Newcastle).

However, it is only when you take this season’s average attendances in a wider context, do you really get the true impact of the Rafa factor.

The 2000/01 season was the first after St James Park had been expanded to its current 52,000+ capacity.

In the first seven seasons the average only once dropped below 51,309, falling to 50,686 in 2006/07.

Mike Ashley took over ahead of the 2007/08 season and the following eight years after that initial season under the new owner, never saw NUFC achieve average attendances to match that lowest (50,686) figure before he arrived.

In fact five of the eight seasons saw the average fall under fifty thousand and drop as low as 47,717 in 2010/11 in the Premier League.

However, under Rafa Benitez, fans have flocked to support him and his team and despite the second tier football, this past season’s 51,108 average is the highest one since that early optimism of the first season after Ashley bought the club.

This proves a couple of things…

Firstly, given some hope and belief, Newcastle fans will turn up in massive numbers to support the team.

Secondly, even though so many supporters don’t trust/like Mike Ashley, they will ignore that if they have a Manager (and team) they can believe in and trust.

This has been a remarkable season in so many ways.

Pre-Mike Ashley Newcastle United average attendances:

2000/01 51,309

2001/02 51, 372

2002/03 51,923

2003/04 51,439

2004/05 – 51,844

2005/06 – 52,032

2006/07 – 50,686

Under Mike Ashley Newcastle United average attendances:

2007/08 – 51,320

2008/09 – 48,749

2009/10 – 43,387

2010/11 – 47,717

2011/12 – 49,935

2012/13 – 50,517

2013/14 – 50,395

2014/15 – 50,359

2015/16- 49,754

2016/17 – 51,108

(Thanks to   @bigchrisholt for the season by season table of average attendances above).

Championship matches at St James Park 2016/17:

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

52,228 Newcastle v Nottingham Forest

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

51,849 Newcastle v Wigan

48,814 Newcastle v Burton

52,301 Newcastle v Leeds

50,212 Newcastle v Preston

52,276 Newcastle v Barnsley

(Apologies – This article originally showed the 2007/08 season mistakenly before Mike Ashley too over, rather than being his first season)

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