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Opinion

From 51,000+ in the Championship to having to give away 10,000 free PL season tickets 2 years later

1 month ago
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Roll up roll up, Mike Ashley is playing Santa.

It is a real Christmas miracle, put your cash away because Mike’s got this one.

The transformation from Scrooge has been remarkable, almost not quite believable…

Yes, we aren’t all taken in by this nonsense.

I have actually seen newspapers reporting it as some kind of brilliant success that Mike Ashley has managed to give away 10,000 free Newcastle United season tickets in a matter of hours.

Who would have thought it Newcastle United have truly arrived.

To think it was only two years ago, 2017, when our season in the Championship came to an end.

A season in the second tier where NUFC averaged 51,106 in the second tier.

This was news all across Europe, what a fanbase there is at Newcastle United, even when relegated they had more fans paying to watch them over the course of a season than any other English club apart from Manchester United.

Newcastle had over 1,175,000 paying spectators in that Championship season, indeed only a small handful across the whole of Europe had more.

It takes some doing to go from that position in 2017 to the total embarrassing shambles we now see. Giving away more season tickets than Bournemouth have paying to see them (once you knock off the away allocation).

Mike Ashley forced in 2019 to now give away 10,000 free season tickets in the Premier League as he looks to save face and most importantly, replace thousands and thousands of empty seats with FTM (Free Ticket Mags) in front of his Sports Direct (soon to be Fraser Group) adverts.

We have gone from worldwide reporting of over 40,000 Newcastle fans happily buying season ticket in the Championship because the presence of Rafa gave us hope that the club was now going to be run properly, to the shameless media (especially locally) telling us what a success it is to give 10,000 Premier League tickets away.

Remember, with 3,200 away fan seats, around 4,000 corporate seats, and having to keep around 2,500 tickets for match by match sales (as per Premier League rules), it is actually around a quarter of available season tickets that Mike Ashley has given away.

The whole thing is so stupid as to defy belief.

There was an excellent article by Andy Francis on The Mag on Thursday morning pointing this out.

No other football club does this for a very good reason, it is a massive negative moving forward. Yes have incentives to try and tempt people to buy tickets/season tickets but you don’t just give them away, it simply tells people that the product is worthless and it is far more difficult to sell in the future.

Mike Ashley insisted that £40m of the club’s money was spent on Joelinton in July. At the same time, out of sheer spite he put season ticket prices up yet again out of sheer spite. Absolutely no need to do so, NUFC season ticket prices were already some of the most expensive outside of the successful clubs and even if all season ticket holders had renewed, it would have paid for about one fortieth of Joelinton, which isn’t a lot, whichever you look at it.

If Mike Ashley is still here in eight months time when the 2020/21 season kicks off, even if NUFC are still in the Premier League, Ashley could/would have to give 15,000-20,000 season tickets away if he wants to fill St James Park.

Will he do it? Very likely.

Will the media once again say how brilliant this all is? Very probably.

Will it be good for Newcastle United? Absolutely not.

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