By the time Newcastle United play at Manchester United on Saturday 6 October, the Magpies will have played five of last season’s top six.
A difficult start to the season in anybody’s book.
The odd one out is Liverpool and Newcastle don’t face the scousers until Boxing Day, when they visit Anfield.
So at least in theory, Rafa’s team are heading towards a more appealing /winnable set of fixtures.
As well as a difficult start to the season on the pitch, it has been a similar tale off it.
With unrest against Mike Ashley the most obvious…but as well as that (and as a consequence), the club have been finding it difficult to sell tickets.
So far, the games at home to Chelsea and Tottenham didn’t sell out, even though in the past all tickets are usually gone weeks in advance.
Whilst for away games, the trips to Cardiff, Forest and Manchester City all saw Newcastle tickets unsold.
All three trips saw respectable numbers of Newcastle fans backing the team but when the norm is selling all your tickets, then to have three away games in a row that all fail to sell out, you know there are underlying issues as well as the distances and/or less attractive opposition/trips.
That is set to change, as Newcastle United’s official ticketing site has shown how many tickets remain on sale for upcoming games.
At 1pm on Thursday (13 September) afternoon, there are only 25 away tickets left on sale for the game at Crystal Palace. The match is in nine days time (22 September) and tickets have been on sale to the general public for some time. However, at least this one is definitely selling out eventually.
As for Manchester United in three weeks time (6 October), there are currently 331 away tickets left on sale (as at 1pm Thursday), tickets are currently available to all season ticket holders and members.
However, still no signs of an easy sell out of any home match. The third of three attractive St James Park games, where the opposition side has also taken all 3,200 away tickets, sees Arsenal still not sold out.
With only 48 hours to go, the club’s official ticketing website still shows the best part of a thousand tickets still on sale to Newcastle fans. Surely a major source of concern for Mike Ashley who has taken for granted a full St James Park to show off his hundred of Sports Direct adverts and other brands.
If the club can’t now sell out for Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal, which games will sell out, if any?
Many Newcastle fans are already staying away, with only attractive matches and other supporters managing to fill most of the gaps so far.