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Opinion

Mike Ashley now happy to rely on Manchester United fans filling St James Park

1 year ago
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Manchester United fans will be descending on St James Park in two weeks time.

The game on Sunday 6 October to be shown live on Sky Sports at 4.30pm.

With so many season tickets unsold we have already seen the crowd fall to 44,000 against Watford, with Brighton on Saturday set to see a new season low with currently over 10,000 seats unsold.

However, just to show how deep reaching the discontent of Newcastle fans is, what many regard as the most attractive home match of the season has more unsold seats currently than ever before.

Tickets for the Man Utd game went on sale to members and season ticket holders a week ago (12 September 2019) and then on sale to the general public yesterday (18 September 2019) and yet this has had minimal effect.

Newcastle United’s online ticketing site shows there are still over 7,500 tickets still unsold, which doesn’t include the unsold seats amongst the approximately 4,000 corporate seats. On this occasion we can take for granted the away end is sold out, as whatever we might think about them, the Manchester United fans always do that.

With Mike Ashley raising season ticket prices and individual ticket prices yet again this season, it means that normal (not family enclosure) tickets start at £43 for the general public in the Leazes and Gallowgate, whilst the higher level ones (East Stand etc) are well over £50.

Not exactly must have priced tickets for a struggling team playing in a match live on TV, with so many Newcastle supporters desperate to not give Mike Ashley any more money.

Bottom line, the NUFC owner is happily relying on Manchester United fans to try and fill St James Park.

It is very ironic that Man Utd fans are free now to buy as many tickets as they want in the home areas, when you consider what happened in April/May this year.

The Liverpool home game, the last of the season, was always going to quickly sell out anyway to Newcastle fans and yet the club went to such great lengths to try and stop Liverpool fans buying tickets that they even banned some NUFC fans who had bought memberships from buying tickets (see below), whilst at the same time happily selling tickets in the corporate sections to massive groups of Liverpool fans.

It is also ironic that there has been far more ‘friction’ between Newcastle United supporters and Manchester United fans over the years than with the scousers, yet Mike Ashley is happy to potentially have thousands of extra Man Utd supporters sitting amongst Newcastle fans.

Ashley only took those actions in April/May because he knew the Liverpool would sell out regardless.

However, rather than restrict sales of tickets to Newcastle United members and season ticket holders to try and ensure as few Manchester United fans as possible are in the home sections, the NUFC owner doesn’t care a less so long as the Mancs are filling some of the thousands of seats he has no chance of selling to Newcastle fans.

Newcastle United announcement – Thursday 25 April 2019:

‘Tickets will only be sold to NUFC members with a recent purchase history, at a maximum of two tickets per person.

In order to buy tickets, members must have a valid 2018/19 season card or membership, and members must have made a ticket purchase during the 2018/19 season.’

It isn’t difficult to imagine why they have done this, as in the possibility  of Liverpool fans recently buying NUFC memberships in order to get hold of tickets BUT what about Newcastle fans who have paid the club for a membership and are now being told they can’t buy tickets?

Whilst most members will have been to previous matches this season, some won’t have, possibly targeting this match for a special trip.

People specifically buying a membership have wasted their money this season anyway, with the exception of this Liverpool match. Every single other NUFC home game has gone to a public sale, with this Liverpool game the only one where it won’t go beyond a members sale.

I’m guessing that Newcastle United will be duty bound (legally as well as morally?) to now refund every single person, Newcastle or Liverpool fan, who has bought a 2018/19 NUFC membership but who hadn’t bought a ticket so far…

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