Newcastle United are selling more replica shirts than Premier League leaders Manchester City.

At least that is, in the country’s biggest chain of shops selling replica shirts.

Yes, Sports Direct have announced which shirts are selling best in their stores and despite looking as though they are going to run away with the Premier League, Manchester City are only seventh highest when it comes to shirt sales.

Obviously people can buy their Replica shirts elsewhere but Fat Mike’s sales figures are probably a decent guide to sales generally.

It was unheard of to see anybody walking around Tyneside with a Manchester City top on until a few years ago but even now it is still a rare sight.

The likes of Manchester United and Liverpool you see, plus Arsenal and Chelsea to a degree, but still not in great numbers – unlike most other areas of the country that don’t have a successful club.

Despite Newcastle’s desperate record on the pitch under Mike Ashley and his efforts off it to alienate supporters, Newcastle fans still haven’t resorted to jumping ship.

The crowds remained even in the Championship (51,000+ average at St James Park) but Newcastle fans had resorted more to wearing older shirts rather than giving Ashley more money, or buying retro shirts instead.

With Rafa Benitez staying and Mike Ashley saying he is selling up, plus the 2017/18 NUFC shirt designs are pretty decent, maybe more Newcastle replica shirts are once again being sold on the return to the Premier League.

Percentage of replica shirts sold of each club by Sports Direct:

32% Manchester United

21% Liverpool

15% Arsenal

10% Chelsea

8%  Tottenham

7% Newcastle

4% Manchester City

2% West Ham

1% Southampton