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Opinion

Rafa Benitez adds 11,000 Dalian Yifang fans as Newcastle United lose 10,000 season ticket holders

3 months ago
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Rafa Benitez took charge of his first game on Sunday in the Chinese Super League.

Relegation threatened Dalian Yifang were exactly halfway through their season, a season which ends at the start of December.

The new manager’s first match an unqualified success as they quickly went three goals up in 39 minutes, Emmanuel Boateng(2) and Yannick Carrasco with the goals.

An eventual 3-1 win as Henan Jianye scored a consolation with 20 minutes remaining.

The result means Dalian Yifang remain 10th of 16 but are now nine points clear of relegation.

It wasn’t only on the pitch that the Chinese club’s investment in Rafa Benitez paid instant dividends.

The previous home match saw 21,099 fans turn up to watch a 2-2 draw with Tianjin Tianhai on 23 June.

Exactly two weeks later and Rafa Benitez added an extra 11,000 supporters with a crowd yesterday of 32,019.

The almost perfect symmetry was uncanny because Rafa’s first match coincided on Sunday with a claimed leak from the Newcastle United ticket office.

Claims that at least 10,000 Newcastle United fans have not renewed their season tickets.

The deadine for renewals was last Thursday (4 July) and whatever the truth or otherwise of the ticket office leak, it is clear that thousands and thousands of season ticket holders haven’t renewed.

In any normalĀ  (if NUFC ever do have such a thing…) summer, Newcastle United will have a couple of/few thousand who don’t renew, whether change of circumstances/finances or loss of interest, or whatever.

However, this Summer, that has been compounded by what can only be described as disaster after disaster so far.

Rafa leaving along with the top two goalscorers, no signings or new manager appointed, as well as Mike Ashley putting season ticket prices up.

It isn’t difficult to work out why anybody wouldn’t be having second, third, fourth, fifth thoughts about renewing.

In the general run of things, the thousands who give up season tickets would normally be offset by new season ticket holders coming onboard.

However, it would have to be a very strange person who this Summer has decided that it’s a perfect time to sign up for Mike Ashley’s circus.

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