Pre-season friendlies have fallen into a very similar routine under Mike Ashley.

Playing a number of matches away against poor to average quality teams in England and abroad, before rounding things off with a token match at St James Park against usually mediocre unattractive opposition from overseas.

This summer followed a very similar path, although maybe Porto away was slightly better than usual, presumably that invite down to the Sir Bobby Robson connection (having managed both).

As for the home match this time, we have Augsburg, a mediocre German team that have finished 13th and 12th these past two seasons.

Usually these games depend on the real diehards, parents with very young kids, and the odd fan just desperate for their fix.

Since Kevin Keegan left, Newcastle have only twice had crowds of 20,000+ for any home friendly.

The Rafa Benitez effect meaning a crowd of 23,000 last summer against a nondescript Hellas Verona side, whilst after the money was spent in summer 2015, they scraped 21,000 against Borussia Monchengladbach.

A far cry from the 31,494 that turned up to watch Kevin Keegan’s team play Valencia in summer 2008.

Summer 2007 actually had over 87,000 watching pre-season games at St James Park after Mike Ashley took over. Obviously games arranged before Mike Ashley bought the club, NUFC played Sampdoria, Celtic and Juventus in pre-season, a midweek crowd of 30,000 against Celtic and 34,000 when Juventus visited.

With Mike Ashley doing everything he can to turn people away from Newcastle United, it will be interesting to see how many turn up in the sunshine this afternoon.

The lowest so far under Mike Ashley was when only 12,656 turned up against Fiorentina in summer 2011, interesting if a new low is reached today…

Pre-season friendlies at St James Park:

30,225 v Celtic – 2007

34,016 v Juventus – 2007

23,078 v Sampdoria – 2007

13,477 v PSV – 2008

31,494 v Valencia – 2008

16,945 v Leeds – 2009

16,118 v PSV – 2010

12,656 v Fiorentina – 2011

No game – 2012

16,187 v Braga 2013

19,188 v Real Sociedad – 2014

21,088 v Borussia Monchengladbach – 2015

18,307 v Vitesse Arnhem – 2016

23,906 v Hellas Verona – 2017


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  • Geordiegiants

    Not many turn up anyway. I remember going to Gateshead away when we signed Ginola etc and there was only a couple of thousand then.

    • Leazes.

      I was there it was a full house of 15000!

      • Geordiegiants

        Was itshite leazes. There was a few thousand but it wasn’t chocca by any stretch.

        • Leazes.

          It was full. dunno what the capacity was.

          • Jonas

            aye Leazes I call BS on that statement too, it definitely was full,

            I’ve got the footage somewhere and it was broadcast live on the radio because that’s how hot the club was then

  • Toon River

    I couldn’t care less how many turn up today, it’s how many turn up when it matters against spurs. Friendlies are boring, I can’t see many being there today. If most fans are like me theyll be keeping their drinking money for the spurs game and the rest of the season. It’ll be packed when it matters. We are going to need all passion for that first run of daunting games.

    • Dutch

      Friendlies might be boring but it’s still revenue in Ashley’s pocket. Sadly it will follow the same pattern all season. All this talk of boycots etc is just hot wind.

      • Toon River

        I certainly won’t be doing any boycotts mate, nothing would keep me away.

    • kingfisher

      I think you hit the nail on the head Toon when you say “you’ll be keeping your drinking money for the Spurs game and the rest of the season”.

      That’s why most of the 50,000 turn up at every home game. It’s not just about 90 minutes supporting Newcastle, it’s the whole ” matchday” experience which a lot of fans are not prepared to give up, even for just one high profile televised game to let Ashley know how most of us feel about him!
      As I’ve said before, it’s still possible to have a good day out on matchday without setting foot inside to SJP and donating your hard earned to Ashley!

      • Toon River

        An empty stadium would have a very negative effect on the players. The crowd carried the team last season, the Man United atmosphere was electric. If we didn’t have that it could have been a different game all together. I can understand people’s frustrations, but it could be a lot worse. Imagine being a Portsmouth fan or a Sunderland fan now.

  • SuperDesHamilton

    The sheep will turn up

    • ghostrider

      We’re all sheep in life.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Speak for yourself

        • Martin Rooney

          Here we are on themag again

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Excuse me

        • Geordiegiants

          There are sheep and shepherds in this life.

    • kingfisher

      The sheep will always turn up Des. That’s why Ashley’s still here! A guaranteed full house pay day every home game. More money going into his ever increasing wallet.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        Apathy is a hell of a thing isn’t it!

  • Martin Rooney

    13 thousand when Keegan was last in charge shocked

  • Ron

    I didn’t go, don’t care who does, what matters is who goes next week, and who plays then.

  • Malcolm Fisher

    Here is what was said after 100 mexicans walked out of their jobs in support for the six co workers who were fired……Entire Mexican workforce leaves construction site after their colleagues were fired……….”If we can get it in our heads that we are the people, and if we make our numbers count, we can change anything”.
    maybe the same would happen if the supporters of NUFC got together as one to make Ashley realise he is making a time bomb ready to explode.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    More rubbish from the Mag we played a friendly against Yeading at home when six thousand turned up. You are a disgrace.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Fake news, didn’t happen

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Well over 21,000 loyal solders more rubbish from the Mag.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Monk my friend said you can’t drink in Monkseaton anymore because you got chased for wearing a Sunderland top

  • Mirandinha9

    My mate text me last night, saying he’d pulled up alongside Cashley at a set of lights outside Mansfield yesterday. Looked very pensive 🤔Was he considering he’d let Rafa down or was it his worry that he didn’t have enough £50 notes in his pockets to spend at wherever he was going onto? It certainly wouldn’t have been SJP as he knows he’s not welcome there.