This summer it was highlighted on The Mag that the Newcastle United season tickets weren’t proving to be the hottest…ticket in toon.

Last summer the club announced there had been a sell out of season tickets, fans supporting Rafa and his squad despite the meagre transfer funds made available to the manager.

The sheer number of season ticket holders ensuring  that the incredible 51,000+ average in the Championship was improved on again, though obviously within the confines of the fact St James Park holds only just over 52,000 fans.

The lowest crowd last season for a Premier League home match was 50,174 when Burnley were the visitors on January transfer deadline day, very apt. Mike Ashley refusing to allow Rafa Benitez to buy and players and the club in the middle of yet another Ashley-inspired relegation battle.

I think it is guaranteed we will see a number of crowds below that 50,174 figure, maybe significantly so.

It takes me no pleasure to say it, because a full St James Park is something we all used to take for granted and take pride in, but Mike Ashley had already really messed with the foundations of our support long before the #IfRafeGoesWeGo fan initiative got into full swing pre-season.

The Rafa effect has managed to paper over some quite serious cracks that were apparent before his arrival.

Now I think if you scratch below the surface, those cracks are set to open up more clearly, in the weeks and months to come.

Back in 2015/16, despite in a final desperate move to avert relegation Mike Ashley allowed money to finally be spent (that had been stockpiled, leading to a very much understrength squad), Newcastle didn’t sell out a single home match that season before Rafa Benitez arrived.

The first 52,000+ crowd was ironically in McClaren’s last game against Bournemouth, that still few hundred under capacity.

Newcastle were regularly playing to crowds in the 40,000s and indeed even the likes of a home game against Man Utd saw a crowd under 50,000.

Indeed, Ashley had dragged things so low over a period of time, even once Rafa arrived we still saw a crowd of only 46,424 for a key relegation match against Man City at home.

These crowds in the Championship and last season in the top tier, have blinded many people to what was a clear downward trend previously. Only the presence of Rafa has fooled so many into thinking full houses are all but guaranteed.

Last season there was a season ticket sell out and then a handful of tickets went on general sale for the opening  game against Tottenham, they were snapped up instantly.

That game on 13 August 2017 was sold out fully 17 days in advance, a year later and thousands of season tickets remain unsold and the Spurs match on Saturday wasn’t sold out.

Compared to others a crowd of almost 52,000 is of course respectable but it is a slippery slope from this point on. Unless Mike Ashley sells up or changes his ways, then even if Rafa stayed and struggled on with a lack of backing, the flow of fans saying enough is enough, will grow and grow.

Obviously, if the real tragedy happens and Rafa Benitez walks away, I dread to think what the outcome would be, including in terms of empty seats at St James Park.

With Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal the opening three home games, despite the ridiculous ticket price rises outsiders will look and still see very few empty seats. Attractive opposition and a combination of full away ends and enough match by match buyers, meaning the cracks still more or less papered over.

However, you only have to look ahead to mid-October and a run of three home games in a three week stretch against Brighton, Watford and Bournemouth.

Minimal numbers of away fans and expecting thousands of match by match ticket buyers making up the season ticket shortfall is very unlikely, never mind if then Newcastle are struggling on the pitch as well.

Five thousand or so empty seats a few matches in a row should be a wake up call for even Mike Ashley.

The migration of supporters sick of Ashley has already started, the only question now is whether he will be prepared in any way to halt that?

Selling up or making his peace with Rafa and a proper commitment to back him, starting in the January window, are the obvious answers for Newcastle United to be able to start again and attempt to rebuild properly.

Otherwise this club is only heading in one direction, both on and off the pitch.

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  • Megatron1505

    Here’s a genuine question, how much would Rafa not being there effect attendances?

    • Your mum

      Depends who replaces him. But i’d expect it to have a huge impact.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        No one with any self respect would come here after Benitez, so Any bang average English manager Pardew, Allardyce etc…

        • ghostrider

          Apparently no one would come here after every manager left but we always seem to end up with a new manager.

          Ohhh and high end crowds, regardless.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            That’s because our fans have Stockholm syndrome

          • ghostrider

            No they don’t. They have support your club syndrome like always and how it should be if you are a fan.
            Sunderland are in league one and they managed 31,000 fans for their last home game.
            We are premier league and people are still whining that we have a bad owner and are run terrible.

            However, the majority do what they’ve always done and they simply support the club rather than dwell on hatred for the sake of bandwagon jumping and being bullied into stuff they don’t really want to take part in.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            They got 31k for the first game, it’s a novelty they all disappeared when they were getting relegated

          • ghostrider

            Irrelevant.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Is that because it doesn’t suit your agenda

          • ghostrider

            Nope, it’s because what you said was irrelevant to what I mentioned.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Why mention Sunderland first then if it was all of a sudden irrelevant

          • ghostrider

            I used them and their fans as an example.

        • Kenny

          that`s another nonce, your mums sucking off the King Rat
          🐁🤡

          • Your mum

            At what point have i supported MA in any of my posts? You have a pop and when offered to meet face to face so you can point out my support for MA you shat your pants and disappear. You’re nothing but a mouth on here with no credible input and can just about muster up a five letter word which you think people give a hoot about. Grow up mate, you act like a 12 year old with a new swear word.

      • Kenny

        where`s bell end Benny

        • Ron

          Not sure who you are talking about here MA or LC – you aren’t suggesting one of these replaces Rafa are you. …..Oh yes you mean they replace him with someone of their choice like Dennis Wise.

        • Your mum

          He’s out with your mum buying you some new school shoes.

    • Ron

      You might not even have 11 players if they’ve any sense.

    • Leazes.

      Thats what #ifrafagoeswego is for.

  • Ashley-out

    when Rafa leaves next year the figure will plummet

  • Ron

    Mike Ashley will not look after HIS Newcastle United customers!

    I repeat an earlier post.

    If MA had to attack his customers in Sports Direct or House of Fraser then even he would know somewhere along the line he, or his employees, had made a mistake, so why in God’s Heaven can he not see it when it comes to Newcastle United?

    Luckily for him his Newcastle United customers can’t really go anywhere else and he knows it, unlike his customers in Sports Direct or House of Fraser they could pick any other similar High Street brand. I suspect and surely hope they decide to do this. It might force the sale of our proud and once great club.

    Is anyone not surprised there is a fall in interest?

    • Martin Rooney

      Course they can, theres dozens of men’s teams in Newcastle but also pro and semi pro teams in Blyth and gateshead

      • Ron

        How many of them play the likes of Man City, Man U, Liverpool etc I might give them ago.

  • East Durham Mag

    Money is the only thing that Fatty is motivated by and the only way to hurt him.

    • Leazes.

      No ….’exercising power’ is what he’s interested in.

      • East Durham Mag

        Good point, money is power but the way he does things point to a power trip.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    More rubbish from the Mag. There hundreds of supporters who could not get in on Saturday as the only prices available were sixty two pounds to two hundred and fifty pounds. The normal part of the ground was sold out a week before. With the game been on the telly in holiday season and a category A game it was a great crowd.
    Why lie when the normal part of the ground was sold out many days before the match. The Chelsea tickets have not even gone on full general sale yet and there only 756 six seats left in the normal part of the ground nearly all singles again a category A game. Only four hundred seats left in the family enclosure. For the Spurs game a couple of hundred seats were left in the family enclosure as these were singles and the club does not sell singles in that area.
    While I have seen some bad articles on here and a lot from you this is by far the worst. The crowd on Saturday was magnificent but knew this article was coming from either you or Jonathon.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      Monkseaton I’m still waiting to see that article that Benitez says fans shouldn’t protest

      • Ron

        He’s still writing it!

        • SuperDesHamilton

          Crashing the server with his next novel of love to fatty

          • Ron

            Endless title choices;
            “Monky Mags flies undone!”
            “My doughnut love and me!”
            “Mike’s my friend – like no other, there isn’t another.”

            etc

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Aerosmith made a song for him, love in a elevator

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        You know I am right so give up on that one.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          Monk my man it never happened did it 😂

      • Big Al 1967

        I’m still waiting to hear how he has 4 tickets reserved for every away game and one for his season ticket! I think we both might be waiting a while!

        • SuperDesHamilton

          To be fair though a heard the signal is rubbish on fantasy island 😂

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          My mates have a box so that is why hard for you to understand.

    • TheFatController

      But grade A games sold out immediately last season?

      Anyhow, when the Strachanolution arrives next season – 52k every week.

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Think the £62.00 pounds tickets all went as there were only forty left on Friday. Family enclosure singles was a couple of hundred which we cannot sell the rest either Spurs or the £250.00 tickets. As I say great crowd and as I say we could have sold thousands more at the normal prices.

        • TheFatController

          Yes, all there to support Rafa against Ashley. Well spotted the level of support Rafa has in spite of the suicidal practices of the owner

      • HarryHype59

        Or the “Samalution”

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    Dean, your articles are always a bit wide of the mark when it comes to factual accuracy.

    How many season tickets have been sold compared to last’?

    • Kenny

      Course yours are always factual aren’t they, you’re full of 💩

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        Mine are spot on.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        That’s right Mickylove. if you understood, you’d know.

      • FatParosite

        Don’t feed the morons.

  • SuperDesHamilton

    God sake man, this article is gonna make Monkseaton combust

    • Danimal

      See below.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        He’s on the ball today 😂

  • Angelswithdirtyfaces

    SJP could be half empty and it would not make a blind bit of difference to Ashley. He has zero respect or concern for Toon fans anyway and doesn’t need to either. Like most Premiership clubs the attendances are pretty much irrelevant when it comes to club profitability. The only impact of full grounds is in “atmosphere” for televised games.

    Check out the BBC Football page piece which states:-

    “More than half of Premier League clubs could have played in empty stadiums and still made a pre-tax profit in the first season of the current broadcast deal “

    • FatParosite

      I’m sorry but attendances do make a difference. It is the power every NUFC fan has had within their armoury but has never realised it. Any drop of attendance would have Murdock getting on the Premier league organiser Scuddamore to put pressure on Ashley to sort out their ‘product’ Ashley would not bite that hand that feeds.

      • Angelswithdirtyfaces

        As I say, atmosphere is pretty important. But in terms of profit attendances are not important with massive TV contracts.

        • Tim

          It would ha e a knock on effect and would damage the image of his SD free advertising. Outsourced companies for catering would pull out, corporate clients would reduce, we’d barley be on sky/bt at SJP reducing income and SD advertising…. it would seriously put him in an awkward position. We just need to bloody do it, I’m not going back until things change, we hold so much more power than we realise or even want to realise.

          • kingfisher

            Well said Tim.I’m not going back until things change,but the mere mention of boycotting games has the 50,000up in arms. As you rightly say, they don’t realize how much power they have.

      • kingfisher

        100% correct Fats.The gate money is only a fraction of the clubs income but as you say it would make a massive difference regarding Ashleys paymasters (sky etc).As soon as the empty spaces started affecting his finances,he would be forced to act.

        • Steven05

          We all have our own choice I suppose. But I think by going now is like giving someone with cancer cigarettes instead of chemotherapy

          And this club does has cancer.

          • kingfisher

            Correct Steven,well said. 👏👏👏👍👍👍

    • panther

      Well let’s see what he makes with an empty stadium

  • FatParosite

    For me it’s too late for any sort of redemption for Ashley. The only thing I am willing to accept before I step foot back in the SJP is Ashley’s complete eradication. That means all of his cheap tat signs need to go with him too.

  • Scott Young

    I’m a Geordie exile living in South Wales. I’ve just managed to buy a couple of tickets in the Newcastle end at Cardiff for me and the wife. This is the first time in five years that I’ve been able to get to an away game through General Release. That includes all of the matches in the London and Midlands areas at which I usually sneak into the home end. I’m not sure that this is an indication of waning support but Swansea is usually sold out and that’s even further away from Tyneside. Fingers crossed for a good away performance… supporting the team and not the regime. HTL.

    • Monkseaton Magpies

      For Swansea we normally get an allocation of fifteen hundred for Cardiff they gave us three thousand for a dinner time kick off where we have to set off at half two in the morning get a life and get your facts right.

      • Big Al 1967

        Still waiting to hear how you have four tickets reserved for every away game and one from your season ticket

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          Four from the box and one from my season ticket as have five hundred and six points for away games. Is that ok.

          • Big Al 1967

            Whatever,
            So lets do a bit of maths. Lets say on average we maybe play 25 away games a season taking into account preseason friendlies and cup games. Assuming that you have been to every single away game it would take over 20 seasons to gain that number of points and as we all know the points system in its current format has not been in that long. Care to comment as there was no carry over from the old one

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Meet me in the Monkey and will log into my account and it shows my points. There are fourteen supporters who have even more points than me which is true.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            The monkey closed a few year ago, MC Stompin is still about though

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Was in there tonight would love to buy you a pint some day.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Monkey bar? I’ve never been in for agesssss!!! I never drink in town much just local

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            No carry on from the old one John Hall put the system in place when he came in was not one before.

          • Big Al 1967

            New one put in place circa 2012 with no follow on
            However I will ask the question again. How had you booked on July 6th when tickets where not released until a month later?

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            I have four corporate tickets booked for all the away games this season.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            There was no new system put in place in 2012.

          • Wezza

            Haha he is busted.

          • Wezza

            And logging on as a guest to explain himself. I’m sure this is the senile Lee father.

          • Guest

            You really really are one paranoid little man haha I’m not Monkseaton.

          • Guest

            Points got carried across in 2012. Ring the box office for confirmation. Corporates get an email long before tickets are released to season ticket holders asking if and how many they want. After accumulating so many points you get offered an away season ticket. I’m talking hundreds of points. It’s very possible for someone to have hundreds. You lot don’t know much and it shows.

          • Guest

            I’m sure it was before 2012 also.

          • Big Al 1967

            At least I have a name and don’t hide behind ‘Guest’ like some cowards do

          • Wezza

            He is lying and it isn’t the first time either.

      • Scott Young

        Don’t dispute what you said about Swansea old chap but I am perplexed by your time keeping. After brunch I take luncheon around 12:30hrs afternoon tea at 15:00hrs and dinner between 20:00hrs and 21:00hrs before retiring to the drawing room for drinks. Not sure why you’re getting all vexed… but I’m sure you wish the lads the very best of luck? Anything else worrying you, it’s good to let it all out? X

        • Monkseaton Magpies

          Get it in your head that we are setting off at half two in the morning to go to the match what is hard to understand about that moron.

          • Scott Young

            Do you know that moron is Welsh for carrot? Good eh? Have a great trip and get some kip on the way. You might actually enjoy yourself. See you there. Howay the lads.

          • Scott Young

            By the way. If you read my original post, I said that I wasn’t sure that this was an indication of waning support… which actually means that I don’t believe for a minute that it is…. I was making an observation, so don’t get yourself all upset because I was actually agreeing with you. But let’s not let that get in the way. I thought this was a fan site for the Toon. Why is there so much agro between Mags? Makes us look like a right bunch of miserable sods. All the best and enjoy Cardiff, great city with friendly locals. Recommend the Market Tavern, Queens Vaults, Admiral Napier and Old Arcade. Best keep clear of the Forresters in Canton as they are still in the Eighties and out for bother. If you are driving and not drinking the Park and Ride on the A48 is convenient and cheap… all the best.

          • Monkseaton Magpies

            Thanks sorry for the outburst get tickets for the Swansea lads who support Newcastle. Usually stay In Morgans and know Martin well but he has sold his shares now. Hope you enjoy the game and keep on following them all the best. Will go to Newport for a pint.

          • Scott Young

            Nice one mate. Recommend village of Caerleon just North of Newport some great pubs. Cheers

      • simonjames60

        you need a better car

        i worked weeks in cardiff and it takes roughly 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours to drive there or back depending on traffic

        230 am would have you there by 9 am

        • Wezza

          He isn’t an nufc fan he is a Manchester Utd troll with serious problems. He likes to assume aliases and personalities because he has none of his own.

    • Wezza

      Ignore the troll monkseatonmagpies.

    • SuperDesHamilton

      It is, the games that would normally go on general release would be West Brom Burnley etc..

    • Scottie Chugger Dearden

      I’d make a weekend of it if I could Cardiff is a cracking night out and the Welsh are a good bunch, love it when England hump them in the rugby though!