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Mike Ashley looking forward to setting new record Newcastle United crowd against Leicester

4 weeks ago
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Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce have both said that the cups are a massive priority this season.

The NUFC owner saying in July he was so excited now that he has got a manager (head coach..?) who is so ambitious that he is going to try and win something (even though he (Bruce) has never won a single trophy as a manager and is replacing somebody (Rafa) who has won loads of them):

‘Now I’ve got a manager saying, “Let me get on with it. Just let me get on with it – I won’t let you down”. I’m thinking, “I’m definitely having that”. He gets it.

He (Steve Bruce) comes in: “The cups? Yeah, we go for them”.

‘Certain things I haven’t got right. I used to think our Premier League finish was more important. But where can we realistically go with this top six? The cups are the best of it.’

Steve Bruce has this week once again promised/claimed he will be putting his very best team out for the League Cup match next Wednesday.

The game is the most high profile of the round, the only two Premier League clubs drawn against each other, the return of Ayoze Perez, plus it isn’t on live TV, so are the Newcastle fans whipped up into a frenzy at attending this first match of the new ‘go for the cups’ era?

Maybe not.

Today The Mail are reporting that Newcastle will be lucky to even get 15,000 at the game.

‘Newcastle United are bracing themselves for the lowest crowd of the Mike Ashley era when they face Leicester City in the Carabao Cup next week – even though Steve Bruce is promising to play his strongest XI.

Around 20,000 seats remain on sale for the second round tie but large sections of St James’ Park are not open, including the upper tiers of the Gallowgate and Milburn stands.’

Level 7 (of the Milburn and Leazes) isn’t even open for the game and of the lower bowl, they say that 20,000 of those seats are unsold. difficult to see Leicester bringing many, whereas with a lower league club you can get decent numbers travelling because of the novelty factor.

Only around 40,000 tickets have been sold for the Watford match in nine days time as fans are sick of Mike Ashley’s running of the club, many of the still existing season tickets having had to commit earlier in the year at a time when it was expected Rafa Benitez would/could be staying.

Mike Ashley could be set to break yet another record, as we could be set to see the lowest ever home crowd of his 13 season reign.

The lowest ever was the 15,805 that turned up for an FA Cup game against Plymouth in 2009/10, that being the only attendance under 20,000 in the Ashley era. In fact, considering how under Mike Ashley he has refused to ever try in them, it is quite amazing how anybody has continued to bother going to these cup games, never mind the excellent crowds that have turned up, compared to all but a handful of other clubs (who all actually try and bizarrely, tend to do well in the cup competitions).

These are the lowest official home attendances in each of the Mike Ashley seasons so far:

30,523 (2007/08) League Cup v Barnsley

20,577 (2008/09) League Cup v Spurs

15,805 (2009/10) FA Cup v Plymouth

33,157 (2010/11) League Cup v Arsenal

30,190 (2011/12) FA Cup v Blackburn

21,632 (2012/13) Europa League v Maritimo

31,166 (2013/14) FA Cup v Cardiff

46,884 (2014/15) Premier League v Swansea

26,923 (2015/16) League Cup v Northampton

21,972 (2016/17) League Cup v Cheltenham

27,709 (2017/18) League Cup v Forest

34,604 (2018/19) FA Cup v Watford

It is all very well Mike Ashley (and Steve Bruce) talking the talk but with the squad not being properly strengthened in the summer, do you really believe that they are going to attack the cups…?

Clearly, the fans are votingĀ  with their feet and with prices doubling on the day of the match, even more unlikely you would see a sudden surge of last minute interest.

Mike Ashley PR statement on The Mail -26 July 2019:

‘Now I’ve got a manager saying, “Let me get on with it. Just let me get on with it – I won’t let you down”. I’m thinking, “I’m definitely having that”. He gets it.

He comes in: “The cups? Yeah, we go for them”.

‘Certain things I haven’t got right. I used to think our Premier League finish was more important. But where can we realistically go with this top six? The cups are the best of it. And it’s great to have a conversation with someone who is so passionate for Newcastle United. I know I’m an eternal optimist but with what we’ve got now at the football club, something might be possible.

‘And you can’t believe how that would make me feel.’

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