If any of you are still wondering why Mike Ashley bought Newcastle United…

The FA Cup on Saturday sees Newcastle United facing the third round whilst deep in yet another relegation battle, NUFC guaranteed to play a reserve team, Rafa Benitez admitting it is an unnecessary distraction to managing a Premier League struggle with such limited resources, against not so glamorous League Two opposition…and yet it will draw one of the biggest attendances of the round.

Plus of course, this will happen despite the Newcastle fans hating Mike Ashley and begrudging every single penny they give to him.

Are you still wondering why he chose Newcastle United to advertise/promote his retail empire around the world?

As well as being one of the biggest crowds of the FA Cup third round, this will also be the biggest ever FA Cup attendance at St James Park under Mike Ashley.

This is the 11th year of the Mike Ashley era/occupation, where Newcastle United have won just four FA Cup matches in that entire time.

The gate on Saturday will of course be helped by Luton Town, who will be bringing over seven and a half thousand fans to Tyneside, Once again showing the pulling power of Newcastle United, plus the fact that Luton fans are buoyant with their team top of the table and set to cruise back up into League One.

However, just look at how many tickets Newcastle fans have bought despite so little encouragement given by their club to do so.

No figures released by the club but having monitored the sales online via the club’s ticket website showing which seats are still on sale at St James Park , the sales are astonishing.

Luton Town have the usual 3,000 Level 7 seats towards the East Stand side of the Leazes End but clearly they must have been given the extra near five thousand seats also up in Level 7, so spreading around to above the lower Milburn Stand areas.

Today is the last day where you can get tickets for £10 adults and £5 concessions, the prices doubling on matchday, so guaranteed a bit of a late rush to get tickets before close of business on Friday.

It looks very likely/certain that sometime today Newcastle United will start selling blocks up in Level 7, starting from the Gallowgate End of the Milburn no doubt.

By my loose figures I would say we are looking at least a crowd of around 45,000, which is remarkable taking everything into consideration.

The previous record under Mike Ashley was the 35,108 who turned up on 16 January 2008. That crowd was entirely down to Kevin Keegan.

In the dying days of the Sam Allardyce era, Fat Sam had subjected us to the most boring match yet. Going to Championship side Stoke City, it was all out defence and Newcastle somehow survived to end the game 0-0 and bring them back to St James Park for a third round replay.

Three days after that bore draw Allardyce was sacked on the 9 January 2008.

Everybody was depressed a week later with no replacement yet appointed and a dismal crowd expected for the replay. However, on the afternoon of that reply, rumours swept Tyneside that Kevin Keegan was going to be appointed, then it was confirmed, and from just that spark there was a massive additional walk up crowd on the night.

Arguably, the Keegan news put at least ten thousand on the gate, meaning 35,108 turned up to watch Newcastle smash Stoke 4-1, despite NUFC going down to 10 men in the first half, the Keegan effect!

Maybe not surprisingly, the second biggest FA Cup crowd in Ashley’s time, was the 34,896 who turned up a year ago due to the Rafa Benitez effect. Despite knowing the FA Cup was not a priority compared to promotion and that Rafa would play a reserve side, fans wanted to come and support the manager and team that he would put out.

So whilst we can’t be guaranteed a win on Saturday, at least there should be a little bit of a buzz as seven and a half thousand Luton supporters and up to forty thousand Newcastle fans come together, despite Mike Ashley.

FA Cup home matches played so far by Newcastle at St James Park under Mike Ashley:

34,896 Newcastle 3 Birmingham 1 – 18 January 2017 (Third round replay)

31,166 Newcastle 1 Cardiff 2 – 4 January 2014

30,876 Newcastle 2 Blackburn 1 – 7 January 2012

15,805 Newcastle 3 Plymouth 0 – 13 January 2010 (Third round replay)

31,380 Newcastle 0 Hull 1 – 13 January 2009 (Third round replay)

35,108 Newcastle 4 Stoke 1 – 16 January 2008 (Third round replay)

Newcastle v Luton Match Betting:

NUFC win 4/9Draw 18/5  – Luton win 11/2

NUFC win 1-0 15/2Luton win 1-0 21/1

All Newcastle v Luton betting HERE

New customers to BetVictor qualify for up to a £40 welcome bonus in free bets.

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  • TheNutJob

    Pay your taxes Michael Tabor

    • Kev Newcastle England

      10 quids a bargain thats the main reason such a big gate,reserves or not

    • Geordiegiants

      Michael Wallace Ashley wants to pay his as well!

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The North West upper and lower is still to go on sales as I write this which is approx. 2,500 seats otherwise everything is pretty much sold out in the lower bowl just a few to go in the South West corner. With the Milburn and Leases upper holding approx. 11,500 and Luton taking nearly eight thousand we have round six thousand tickets to shift in a couple of days. It all depends when we take the web sales off line as their are only so many ticket collections we can handle. However the crowd should reach 48,000 so Rafa beware put a strong team out and win.Lose against Luton and you will create a nightmare pressure cooker against Swansea.
    They have just taken the sales off the web so it’s tickets in person or on the phone as cannot cope with demand.

  • Mike

    laughing all the way to the bank

  • grantham mag

    Just don’t pay to watch a reserve team yet again in the FA CUP

    • Whickhamrobbie

      go to Boston v Tamworth it will be more fun

  • Whickhamrobbie

    Go or dont Go but if you go enjoy the game and if you dont go dont whine when we win 8-0 and go all the way to wemberlee .
    Right back on the medication matron
    Seriously though we must back WHOEVER plays but it will be tough against a team bouyant with a great backing behind them (just remember Bradford – Chelsea last year)

  • nufcslf

    Hasn’t his helicopter not crashed yet, the stupid fat greedy [email protected] Another home loss on the horizon. One teams scores goals for fun and it isn’t our pathetic excuse for a football team. Now prove me wrong. Enjoy the gate money Mike……