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Opinion

Number of Newcastle v Watford tickets unsold – Could be lowest ever(*) NUFC Premier League crowd

3 months ago
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I have been looking at the number of unsold Newcastle v Watford tickets ahead of today’s game at St James Park.

The opening day of the season saw fans asked to support a one game boycott even if they were season ticket holder.

The official crowd was announced as 47,635 but estimates of actual people inside St James Park ranged from 42,000 to 45,000, I reckon it was probably around the 44,000 mark, with a few thousand ST holders also boycotting the match.

The match today was always going to give us a better idea of what is going to be the bottom line this season.

Arsenal provided relatively attractive opposition for both Newcastle fans and neutrals, whilst Watford is clearly the other end of the spectrum.

Plus, apart from a few who might end up not making the game for various reasons, all NUFC season ticket holders will be heading along rather than boycotting.

Wednesday night maybe give us an indication as to the mood, as despite prices of £10 and £5 (concessions) the crowd was announced as only 22,707 against Leicester in the League Cup. For those at the game even that lowly figure looked less than credible, with it looking far less than 20,000 inside St James Park, many people estimating it having been closer to 15,000.

The club’s online ticketing website shows details of all the sections of St James Park, which allows fans to pick their Newcastle v Watford tickets.

What that also allows is somebody to then count up how many are still unsold for each.

I went around every section to total them up, you didn’t need to count the seats one by one, there is a total of unsolds for each section.

So today at 10am (on Saturday 31 August) the unsold Newcastle v Watford tickets in normal home ticketing areas were:

East Stand – 306 seats available

Gallowgate East Corner – 54 seats available

Gallowgate Stand – 1,348 seats available

Gallowgate West Corner – 204 seats available

Leazes Stand – 1,685 seats available

Leazes East Corner – 528 seats available

Leazes West Corner – 1,131 seats available

Milburn Stand – 1.696 seats available

By my calculations, that adds up to at least 6,952 unsold Newcastle v Watford tickets in normal ticketing areas.

To a large extent, Mike Ashley hit very lucky having Arsenal as the first game, as their fans sold out the full 3,200 allocation as well.

In counting up empty seats, you can’t access the unsold areas where away fans would normally be. Watford don’t have many travelling fans to start with and after seven defeats in a row until beating Coventry midweek in the League Cup, it is reported that they are bringing hundreds, not thousands, meaning probably around 2,500 empty seats in the away sections.

The lowest ever (*Since St James Park was expanded to 52,000+ in 2000) Premier League Newcastle home crowd so far, was the 42,684 that turned up to see NUFC beat Fulham 2-1 (Leon Best scored both goals) on Sunday 28 August 2011, a game bizarrely kicking  off at 1pm despite not being on live TV.

With 9,000 or more tickets unsold in the normal home and away areas, whether today sets a new low, will largely depend on how many of the 4,000 or so seats in corporate areas the club have managed to shift.

Whatever the final crowd ends up being today, clearly many Newcastle fans aren’t convinced to attend.

For so many years we became accustomed to being shocked if any crowd dropped under 50,000, this season it looks like it is going to be the norm unless something dramatic changes for many Newcastle fans.

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