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Opinion

Top national journalist claims plenty of clubs would get same crowds Newcastle got in Championship

3 years ago
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Newcastle United have often been a target for Martin Samuel, Chief Sports Writer at The Mail.

Particularly the Newcastle fans, as this journalist is so desperate for attention and a reaction.

Recently, he claimed that there were plenty of ‘real fans’ who supported what Mike Ashley has done at Newcastle United.

Predictably that got plenty of reaction and earlier today he has had another go after being challenged as to which other club would get such good support in the Championship.

Newcastle hold the all time record in the second tier of English football, averaging home crowds of 56,283 in 1947/48.

Last season the average was over fifty one thousand, quite amazing after everything Mike Ashley has done in the decade he had been in charge, two relegations in the first eight Premier League seasons amongst them.

Reacting to the challenge, Martin Samuel has backed up the credibility and fan support of Chelsea, Manchester United, Man City and West Ham, the club he supports.

He talks about plenty of clubs being able to get 52,000 if they were top in the Championship…funny how we never see anybody getting anything close to that, or indeed filling far smaller stadium.

Talking about size of crowds can be a little childish but Martin Samuel did start it…and the reality is that it is a bit mental what happened last season at St James Park.

A club that hasn’t won a domestic trophy in over 60 years and where the club’s current owner has ground the supporters into the dirt, yet the fans responded in such astonishing numbers just because they got a little bit of encouragement with a manager worthy of the name at last.

Newcastle’s crowds were built on a base of 40,000 season ticket holders before a ball was kicked, not because they were cruising at the top of the league.

After losing the first match of the season at Fulham, Newcastle faced Huddersfield in their first home match and had over 52,000 there. Funnily enough, when Samuel’s own club, West Ham were last promoted in 2011/12, their first home crowd of the season was 25,680, less than half of Newcastle’s opening crowd last season.

As for Manchester City, when they were last promoted (to the Premier League) they regularly got crowds of 30,000, some five thousand under capacity.

As for Manchester United, just how many fans would be travelling from Torquay and Tokyo if they hadn’t won any domestic trophy for 60+ years?

Obviously all three of those clubs HAVE got good support but to claim that Newcastle’s attendances weren’t something beyond any rational explanation, is simply not being honest.

Analysing those Newcastle crowds in the Championship, of the 14 home matches played on a weekend, 13 of them saw crowds of 51,000 or more, with eight of them 52,000+.

Remarkably, the only weekend home match to get less than 50,000 was when fellow promoted club Brighton visited, the Seagulls bringing one of the lowest away followings of the season didn’t help.

Of the nine midweek home matches, three had 52,000+, another two were 50,000+ and the other four were in the high forty thousands.

Jay94 – Leicester:

“Martin Samuel just does not get it. Newcastle fans are real fans.

“Name me any current Premier League team who would sell out 52,000 against Ipswich at home in the Championship. You would struggle.

“Newcastle fans stick with their team through thick and thin despite having nothing to shout about over the last 20 years.

Manchester City cannot fill their stadium. Chelsea fans call for the sacking of a manager who won them the title.

“Manchester United fans are tourists or 1990s born glory supporters. West Ham fans are petulant and violent.

“I will be waiting for you to name some teams with fans that match those of Newcastle who live purely for football.”

Martin Samuel:

“Here that whooshing noise, Jay? That was the point flying over your head, at 100 miles per hour.

“All fans who go are real supporters of their team, and just as special as yours.

“Newcastle were top of the Championship getting 52,000 against Ipswich.

“I think a few teams would do that now, fill the house if top of the league, certainly many of those you mentioned.

“Manchester United, for instance, who have always had high attendances.

“Manchester City got excellent crowds, even in the third tier, and the Etihad looks full whenever I go there.

Chelsea fans are completely behind Antonio Conte by the way, and not all West Ham supporters are petulant and violent.

“But if you want to believe you are special, you probably are.

“The rest of us will stay as we are.”
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