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Opinion

The quiet revolution now getting ever louder at St James Park

4 weeks ago
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Whisper it but..the quiet revolution getting louder at St James Park, as Newcastle fans make ultimate protest.

Newcastle fans became used to seeing sold out signs every week.

That then became at least 50,000 crowds most weeks.

Now we are entering uncharted waters.

Thousands and thousands of Newcastle fans didn’t renew season tickets this summer and now that is having a knock-on effect on match by match crowds.

The decline is there to see with official attendances of 47,000 for the Arsenal game, 44,000 for the Watford match, with the actual numbers of people inside St James Park actually lower than those official attendances, particularly at the Arsenal one.

Brighton at home looks guaranteed to be lower again, at least 10,000 unsold tickets showing on the eve of the game, not including unsolds amongst the 4,000 or so corporate seats.

The lowest ever Premier League Newcastle home crowd since St James Park was expanded to 52,000+ ahead of the 2000/01 season, was the 41,053 that turned up to see NUFC lose 2-1 to Blackburn on Wednesday 10 November 2010.

This Brighton game looks set to test that all-time Mike Ashley Premier League low, which is quite fitting, as most Newcastle fans have never felt so low under this owner as they do now, despite his past best efforts.

Relegation is usually the biggest test of a club’s fanbase and yet in 2016/17, Newcastle United’s crowds actually went up!

An average of 51,106 was actually higher than all but five Premier League clubs that season. However, what is even more remarkable is that more people paid to watch NUFC Championship football that season, than any other English club apart from Manchester United. A total of 1,175,442 fans watching the 23 Championship games, whilst 1,138,613 paid to see Arsenal’s 19 PL games.

In 2009/10, only Man Utd and Arsenal had more paying fans than the 997,916 who watched Newcastle in that Chris Hughton promotion season.

These statistics are absolutely astonishing and enemies of the Newcastle fans and media loyal to Mike Ashley shouldn’t be allowed to dilute or deflect from them.

For Mike Ashley to have finally broken the Newcastle United fanbase is remarkable and you have to give him 10 out of 10 for the effort put in.

Protest takes many forms and people being simply so fed up that they don’t want to go to games, is the ultimate protest. Marching through the streets and assembling outside Sports Direct and St James Park is the path for some BUT for most it was always going to be silently walking away and watching the games at home or in the pub, or finding something more enjoyable to do with their time.

The spell has been broken and there is no going back for so many Newcastle fans under this owner.

Seeing so many empty seats at St James Park live on TV, home and abroad, speaks volumes.

It is time for Mike Ashley to finally listen and for the first time genuinely put the club up for sale at a market price.

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