Florian Lejeune has today completed his move to Newcastle United, a long drawn out process going back to May, finally seeing the defender sign up today.

Scratching below the surface, the move to Newcastle is going to be a massive culture change for the player when it comes to regularly playing in front of big crowds.

The 10m euros (approx £8.7m) is by far the biggest transfer fee Eibar have ever received and when you look at their profile you can see why.

For the first time in their history, Eibar reached the top level of Spanish football with promotion in 2013-2014.

To cope with the expenses involved, Eibar were forced to have a share issue to raise funds and they now have 10,000 shareholders in 69 different countries who own the club.

After promotion they have done a remarkable job considering the size of the club, just stay up in their first (2014/15) season up in 18th place, then a comfortable 13th in 2015/16, finally with Lejeune’s help an all time best of 10th in La Liga in the season just ended.

Whilst at St James Park, a total of 1,175,484 paid to watch the 23 Championship games, at an average of 51,108, it was a very different story for Eibar.

A total of 101,905 watched Eibar’s 19 La Liga home matches at an average of only 5,363 – their stadium having a capacity of only 6,300.

A fan owned club with a few thousand fans thriving in La Liga – nothing in England comes anywhere close. The achievement is particularly noteworthy as TV cash in Spain isn’t shared out in anywhere near the relatively fair way it is in the Premier League.

To put their crowds in some perspective, Eibar averaged 5,363, and by far the worst supported team in the Championship was Burton last season, with 5,228 and then the next lowest Rotherham with 9,783 averaged (In Premier League you have Bournemouth with very rich owners who averaged 11,182 last season, then the next lowest was Burnley with 20,558).

In fact, in Spain only seven clubs averaged twenty three thousand or more at home matches, meaning Florian Lejeune very rarely played in front of the kind of numbers he will at St James Park every other week.

In fact his whole career has been played out in front of small crowds, with most of his career spent in the second tiers of French and Spanish football, with only 10 appearances in the French top tier five seasons ago and 13 minutes in La Liga in 2011/12.

Only twice has Florian Lejeune ever played in front of crowds bigger than he will enjoy at St James Park and it obviously brought out the best in the defender and his Eibar teammates.

Away at Real Madrid last season, Eibar were inspired in their 1-1 draw, whilst when travelling to Barcelona they actually took a two goal lead! Only to fall to the magic of Lionel Messi who scored two late goals to give Barca a 4-2 win.

Newcastle fans have seen signings, from both UK and overseas, be either intimidated or inspired by playing in front of 50,000+, hopefully Lejeune will be one of the inspired ones.

Total home fans over course of season (19 home matches) and average La Liga home attendances 2016/17 – World Football Net:

FC Barcelona 1,480,936 (77,944)

Real Madrid 1,314,230 (69,170)

Atlético Madrid 849,662 (44,719)

Athletic Bilbao 749,802 (39.463)

Valencia CF 598,282 (33,238)

Sevilla FC 623.496 (32,816)

Real Betis 603,455 (31,761)

Sporting Gijón 433,001 (22,790)

Málaga CF 418,840  (22,044)

Deportivo La Coruña 415,662 (21,877)

Real Sociedad 407,501 (21,447)

UD Las Palmas 388,106 (20,427)

Espanyol Barcelona 382.848 (20,150)

Villarreal CF 334,554 (17,608)

Celta Vigo 320,437 (16,865)

CD Alavés 295,741 (16,430)

Granada CF 283,858 (14,940)

CA Osasuna 281,377 (14,809)

CD Leganés 187,088 (9,847)

SD Eibar SD Eibar 101,905 (5,363)

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • Steve Smith

    Will definitely be interesting to see if he feeds off the energy or hides.

  • Jimblag23

    Every other week he’d be playing Barca, Real, Athletico, Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal, Celta Vigo, Deportivo, Betis etc.
    I think he’ll be alright.
    Matt Ritchie came from Bournemouth.

    • Clarko

      Atlético Madrid (44,719), Sevilla FC (32,816), Valencia CF (33,238), Villarreal CF (17,608), Celta Vigo (16,865), Deportivo La Coruña (21,877) and Real Betis (31,761) all have smaller attendances than Newcastle (51,108), that’s the point, did you read the article?

      • Jimblag23

        The point is they’re bigger than the 5k eibar stadium.

        To be fair to you, I actually didn’t read the article 😂

        • Clarko

          I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

          • Jimblag23

            Oh. I. See. That’s. Unfortunate. For. You

            Is the point of the article not, he may be intimidated by a big stadium?

          • Clarko

            I don’t get you. I don’t get why you would make a comment on an article that you didn’t read, that contained subject matter related to the article.

            Any point you were trying to make is stupid, especially when that stupidity could’ve been avoided if you just read the article. Newcastle have higher average attendances than 18 of the clubs in La Liga, Lejeune has not had much experience playing in front of the crowds he will be playing in front of with Newcastle in the Premier League, that’s not saying that he won’t be “alright”, it’s just a changed variable.

            On a side note, your “Ritchie” comparison was also stupid, Bournemouth have approximately double the crowd size compared to Eibar and he has also played in the Premier League, in front of Premier League sized crowds.

          • Jimblag23

            Have you ever been on this website?
            Once you’ve read the headline and first paragraph, if you read on,
            90% of the time you get repeated facts from other articles.
            So skimming is necessary.

            After having read all the article because of your bizarre demand, I stand by my initial point.
            Why would he shirk at a crowd larger than 5k?

            If you think Bournemouths 10k is so much bigger than eibars 5k, then surely Ritchie would have been intimidated by going from 10k to 52k.

          • Clarko

            Again, everything about your comments on this article indicate blatant stupidity, your reasoning, your comparison and your point. Not only that but you have ignored what I have previously said.

            Neither I nor the writer said that Lejeune would “shirk” at larger crowds, so that question/point is completely irrelevant, and just adds to the stupidity.

            As I have already explained, before his move to Newcastle, Matt Ritchie had already played at Old Trafford (76,100), the Emirates (60,432), the Etihad (55,097), Anfield (54,742), St James’ Park (52,405), the Stadium of Light (49,000), Villa Park (42,785), Stamford Bridge (41,623) and Goodison Park (40,563). It was a stupid comparison.

          • Jimblag23

            You keep accusing me of stupidity, but look…

            The article raises the question of “hope he won’t be scared”
            Then goes on to speculate about the culture shock he may face with regard to crowd size.

            So what have I missed?

            You then claim Ritchie will have played away days in the PL.
            Similarly to the way I did about big La Liga stadiums and the atmosphere they create.

            Whether or not you’re playing Everton or Sevilla, once you’re playing in front of tens of thousands of people it’s arbitrary about the exact attendances.

            Trying to say that fundamentally the PL is more intimidating than La Liga is something you or the author cannot argue as you’ve never played in it, obviously.

            Which part of that is stupid?

  • Whickhamrobbie

    the england players play in front of big crowds and still loose to iceland who dont so i dont think crowd size has anything to do with ability

  • Down Under Mag

    The one thing I will give all of Rafa’s signings so far is that they all seem up for playing for us, they see it as a challenge and they all seem to have the right attitude both on and off the pitch. Hopefully this guy sees playing in front of these crowds as a huge honour and responds accordingly. Also, hopefully the crowd won’t start booing him in his first game if one pass goes astray…because you know…that always helps players settle!

  • Steve Pearce

    Eh? Where am I?

    I just fell asleep reading this boring shyte!