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Opinion

No satisfaction when heading for lowest Newcastle United crowd of the season but hopefully it will…

2 weeks ago
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Every empty seat at Newcastle United feels like an insult to me.

No matter what indignities have been thrown at us in this modern all-seater era, a full St James Park was always something that gave you a feeling of pride in our club, city and fanbase.

Down the years seeing so many clubs with thousands of empty seats, the likes of Sunderland, Aston Villa and numerous others.

I used to think how bloody awful it must be sitting there surrounded by just empty space, able to lie down if you want.

As for the atmosphere, how desperate it must be when you have so many areas of your stadium with rows of empty seats.

Well now we know exactly what it is like.

The atmosphere has had its ups and downs (particularly under Mike Ashley) in the all seater era but I have never known it to be as bad as it has been this season.

The absolute worst was Brighton, for both atmosphere and crowd numbers, the team as well were set up so negatively it was honestly one of the few games over the years where I wished I hadn’t bothered.

It was the lowest official attendance of the season so far with 43,316 declared but clearly less than 40,000 inside St James Park.

Earlier this week I saw an article by John Martin about the likely crowd this Saturday and at work tonight (Wednesday night) and with a bit time on my hands I thought I would check to see how the sales were going and how it would look when I turn up at St James Park this Saturday.

Like John Martin I used the club’s online ticketing website which shows details of all the sections of St James Park, which allows fans to pick their Newcastle v Bournemouth tickets, it also allows somebody to then count up how many are still unsold.

These are the Newcastle v Bournemouth tickets still unsold on Wednesday night in each part of the ground with a couple of days of sales to go before the game (John’s figures are in brackets before Tuesday and Wednesday’s ticket sales):

East Stand – 390 (416) seats available

Gallowgate East Corner – 78 (85) seats available

Gallowgate Stand – 1,298 (1,3470 seats available

Gallowgate West Corner – 220 (256) seats available

Leazes East Corner – 471 (506) seats available

Leazes Stand – 1,312 (1,508) seats available

Leazes West Corner – 1,260 (1,276) seats available

Milburn Stand – 1,634 (1,747) seats available

Magpie Club – 26 (26) seats available

I make it that this adds up to 6,689 tickets in the normal home section still unsold, compared to 7,167 that were still available before Tuesday and Wednesday sales, meaning 478 sold these past two days.

The Wolves crowd was boosted with them selling the full away allocation of 3,235 tickets but in contrast, Bournemouth took only 1,095 tickets and haven’t even sold those so far.

Checking on the Bournemouth ticketing website (told you I had nothing better to do at work!) I found that as of Wednesday night, they have only sold 924 tickets, meaning 2,311 tickets in the NUFC away sections are also unsold, not even made available to Newcastle fans, unsurprisingly.

By sheer coincidence those two figures of 6,689 (unsold in home sections) and 2,311 (unsold where away fans would normally be), adds up to exactly 9,000!

With Newcastle’s capacity being around the 52,300 mark, it means NUFC haven’t exceed the ticket sales of 43,316 for that Brighton match.

These figuresĀ  don’t include any empty seats amongst the approximate 4,000 or so seats in corporate areas, so it is an unknown how many of them remain unsold as well.

However, the club have now every match been pushing online sales in two of the corporate areas to normal fans and on the ticketing site for Bournemouth they are showing well over 200 tickets for the Park Grill and Barracks lounges still unsold.

The match by match tickets for this game went on sale for this over four weeks ago so difficult to see any mad rush for tickets now.

Will this match prove to be the lowest attendance so far? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, BUT what is guaranteed is thousands and thousands of empty seats yet again and a rubbish atmosphere.

I have to admit that I was sceptical about how many fans would beĀ  able to stay away this season but it has been shown that a lot are prepared to boycott and/or are just totally fed up with Ashley’s nonsense and the state of the club.

I would far rather be sitting in a full St James Park but hopefully this will prove a silver lining, Mike Ashley seeing the best part of 10,000 fans not buying tickets for games such as Bournemouth and Brighton and realising the game is up. That the only way is down where crowd figures are concerned.

We live in hope.

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