We approach hopefully the final stages of the Mike Ashley era at Newcastle United.

As we do so, the club have published a feel-good story regarding crowds at St James Park.

The article is headlined: ‘United to set notable attendance feat on Saturday’.

The story goes:

‘Saturday’s game against Watford is already sold out, with more than 52,000 supporters set to pack St. James’ Park.

And that means Newcastle will start the season with seven consecutive home league crowds of more than 51,000 for the first time since 2005/06.

Kicking off the campaign with a 52,077 crowd against Tottenham, United were then watched by 52,093 in their next home game, a 3-0 win against West Ham.

September’s 2-1 victory over Stoke was played in front of 51,795 and the next three matches at St. James’ Park all sold out.

The 1-1 draw with Liverpool was watched by 52,303; 52,251 attended the win over Crystal Palace; and most recently, 52,237 turned out for the match against AFC Bournemouth earlier this month.’

Ironically, the club’s feel-good article actually exposes the negative impact Mike Ashley has had on Newcastle United over the past 10 years.

It used to be headline news if a game wasn’t sold out for pretty much all of the years before Ashley took over.

The crowds have still been phenomenal but have been despite the owner, not because of him.

There was no better example than last season’s 51,000+ average in the Championship, achieved solely because of the presence of Rafa Benitez after Mike Ashley had once  again doomed us to second  tier football with his chaotic and manipulative running of the club.

If Rafa had walked away then I think so many fans would have done the same, only staying because of belief that whilst Rafa was still there, then there was still hope.

Without him I think we could well have seen crowds go below 40,000 last season.

To never have seven crowds of 51,000 at the start of any of the 10 Mike Ashley seasons tells a story.

Finishing fifth in 2011/12 and all the positivity that brought, he even managed to rip the heart out of that by refusing to strengthen the team and build on that promise. The second home game of that next (2012/13) season seeing only 48,245 turn up for the visit of Aston Villa.

These are the crowds from the first seven games of that 2005/06 season. In fact after the first home game of the season, Newcastle never had less than 52,000 at home until the very final Graeme Souness home match before he was sacked in February, ironically a 1-0 loss to his old club Blackburn.

51,620 Newcastle 0 West Ham 0 – 20 August 2005

52,237 Newcastle 0 Man Utd 2 – 28 August 2005

52,208 Newcastle 1 Fulham 1 – 10 September 2005

52,280 Newcastle 1 Man City 0 – 24 September 2005

52,302 Newcastle 3 Sunderland 2 – 23 October 2005

52,191 Newcastle 1 Birmingham 0 – 5 November 2005

52,267 Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1 – 3 December 2005

One thing for sure, Rafa Benitez + ambitious new owners will equal guaranteed full houses at St James Park.

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  • Steve Smith

    It’s aimed at any potential buyer.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The crowds under Mike Ashley are averaging round 49,600 despite two seasons in the Championship. This is remarkable during a period of ten years just goes to show the actual people boycotting is very small indeed probably less than a couple of hundred. I wonder how many will go back with a change of owner very few.
    I remember my mate quitting because he could not stand Souness and said he would be back caught sight of him once. Very few fans ever go back but what’s for sure is that nearly 50,000 fans have been loyal not just while Rafa has been here but the full ten years.

    • Scooter

      it`s not remarkable at all, it`s loyalty to the club. it has nothing to do with Ashley

      • Leazes Ender

        Its to do with one club in a conurbation of 1.2 million.

        • Scooter

          good point

        • molend

          You’re right, of course, but is that all there is to it? I haven’t lived in the Toon for many a lang year, but back in the day the team used to be more than just eleven players in black and white. Has this changed or is it still something to do with the city’s identity?

    • Jimmy-toons

      I know of more than 20 supporters who never renewed their season tickets or have bought a match ticket after the 2nd season of Ashley’s ownership following the constructive dismissal of Keegan and appointing Kinnear. They all say they’ll go back when he fs off. Whether or not they’ll get a ticket is another matter and of course new season ticket holders have emerged.
      I’ll put my house on the number of people giving up going along because of the greedy FCB tearing the heart and soul, pleasure and enjoyment of going to the match runs into many thousands rather than the less than a couple hundred you allure to. If it wasn’t for Benitez we’d be a struggling championship team at best.
      Let’s hope all the talk of Ashley leaving is true, he’s an extremely odious person, as owner of our club and as a major shareholder of a sports clothing business.

      • Wor Lass

        Well said, mate!

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        All clubs have some glory seekers who don;t stick with their club, it’s not that surprising that you come across a few of those types.

        • Jimmy_toons

          You might want to call people who’ve supported Newcastle through thin and thinner glory hunters, but I respect people who have their own opinion either way, as you have a right to your own. I wouldn’t dream of calling you Ashley’s b*tch.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            I’m glad you didn’t, that would be awful. For fans who’ve been through the late 70’s and 80’s, it’s doubtful many would consider the past 10 years ‘thin’

          • Jimmy_toons

            Having gone to watch United play Everton at St James’ for the first time in 1972 – memorable for Howard Kendal having to change his ripped shorts – and been a younger member of the group of lads who use to go to the match, there were no Jonny Come Lately glory hunters amongst us.
            Some understandably just got so fed up with being treated worse than dog sh** by an owner who cared or cares for nothing but making money out of us through gates, shops or tv contracts, and not being bothered about trampling on the pride and passion of a club’s supporters. For our potential as a club that has not been realised since those cup wins in the 50s – Keegan and Robson eras were happy times but ultimately unsuccessful- I would consider the last 10 years further ‘thin’ times yes.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            There had to be a change to a more businesslike approach at NUFC. The strategy under the previous regime was suicidal. That’s not to say the current approach is perfect but I think we football is a lot better than the Bill McGarry years.

    • nufcslf

      It’s why Cashley has got away with relegating his club twice and not caring a bit. His ten years of pathetic guidance has trickled onto the football pitch and made everything Sports Direct United not worth supporting or being passionate about. The only thing I have been loyal to is the badge at it will last forever. When he is gone, I will show an interest and not before. If he stays, then those that continue to spend money on a hopeless case get what they deserve.

  • BillytheFish

    New era..New stadium…80,000 state of the art with shopping centre, entertainment etc..in Leazes Park

    • Leazes Ender

      Cardiff can have one for Rugby why not here…. with a retractable roof please.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Eh? We don’t need it? Why would the new owners spend 3/4bn on a stadium that will rarely be filled?

        • Scooter

          is that an assumption or do you have factual evidence to back it up. there is it`s reported a conurbation of 1.2 million although that information came via a 3rd party

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Evidence of what? The cost of a new stadium? I base that on the price Tottenham are paying.

            Can we fill it? if it’s to increase revenue, the most efficient solution is to put prices up, we have one of the cheapest bunch of seats in the country. I think if the seat prices went up, we’d have no chance of filling a stadium much bigger than the current SJP. The time to rebuild the stadium was before we’d spend all the money on SJP.

            SJP could be expanded to around 55,000 with the roof of the Gallowgate being the height of the big stands but the capacity increase would come from the corners and corporate hospitality behind the goal.

          • MichaelMaximusMoose

            Spurs are in London Blobbi,
            fantasy figures you make up as you go along
            in other words you`re full of BULL

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Spurs are in London but bricks, mortar, design, structural engineering, civil engineers etc etc are the same wherever you are. Yes, the labour may be a little cheaper in Newcastle but much of the costly work is going to be the same.

          • Viru leckworth

            Attendance revenue is a small part of turnover in today’s football affairs. The big money comes via tv.

          • Oooh bobbi fleckman

            Of course, the main thing with the stadium is that it needs to look good on the telly.

          • paul mclaughlan

            The whole of Tyne & Wear is around 1.5 million. A lot of them will be makem supporters who will have no desire to help us fill an 80 thousand seater stadium.

    • Lhc

      Ne thanks that’s our indentity heritage etc gone no circus show here. State of the art shopping centre in the town plus entertainment if you didn’t notice

  • Steve Pearce

    New era – no Fat Stinking Bag Of Southern Pus!

    • Scooter

      very well put, you should put in for Poet laureate of the forums

    • Peaky Magpie

      Howay Steve admit it,deep down you’re really going to miss him 😂😂😂😂😂

  • With Merino, Lascelles and Dummett back we will be taking the game to Watford.

    • Scooter

      Lascelles is injured