Steve Bruce with bizarre reaction to 10,000 Newcastle United fans staying away
Steve Bruce was a satisfied man on Sunday afternoon.
Newcastle coming from behind to beat Southampton 2-1.
The football was terrible for most of the 90 minutes until Andy Carroll gave it some oomph when coming off the bench but just count the points.
Easily Steve Bruce’s best time at the club so far, in an eight days stretch picking up two wins and that 2-2 draw against Manchester City.
The 2-1 won over the Saints also lifted Newcastle into the top half of the table for the first time under Steve Bruce.
So a perfect day all round…not quite.
Sunday’s match was played out to massive areas of empty seats, a truly depressing sight.
The official crowd was only 42,303, easily the lowest of the season as it sunk below the 43,316 for the draw against Brighton.
It was also actually even the very lowest Premier League crowd at St James Park since November 2010.
Even more damning than that, it was also far lower than any crowd Newcastle had when in the Championship in 2016/17.
Asked about the 10,000+ empty seats, Steve Bruce gave a quite bizarre answer.
Instead of deflecting it and just talking about keep winning games to hopefully boost crowds or answer the question honestly, Steve Bruce chose to blame the empty seats on Christmas and ticket prices.
Well that Brighton match, that actually saw over 12,000 empty seats as thousands of season ticket holders also stayed away, was played on 21 September, so I don’t think Christmas was a factor back then, or indeed yesterday, as Steve Bruce must surely know, unless he is totally switched off from reality.
As for ticket prices, yes it was a disgrace when Mike Ashley yet again raised ticket prices ahead of this season but that obviously isn’t a major factor in the empty seats, as last season 52,191 were there last season to watch Newcastle v Southampton with very similar ticket prices. Although it is especially shameful that whilst he has raised ticket prices yet again for fans who buy tickets in the usual way, Mike Ashley continues to secretly try and sell as many cut price tickets as possible to students and through other local organisations to try and boost the flagging crowds.
The honest answer that Steve Bruce obviously can’t/won’t give, is that the empty seats are purely down to Mike Ashley. Even with the team at the moment getting decent results, it doesn’t change the fact that Ashley is still here and running the club with no long-term ambition or willingness to allow investment for the future, in such things as the Academy, St James Park and of course the state of the art new training ground that Mike Ashley promised in 2013 and which he said was essential if NUFC were going to be able to compete.
Steve Bruce says he hopes to see ‘a full St James Park’ for the next game against Crystal Palace a week on Saturday.
Well there is about as much chance of his hope for that coming true, as there is for our hopes of Mike Ashley finally agreeing to sell Newcastle United.
As it stands there are less tickets sold for that game than was the case for Southampton, that game having the potential to beat yesterday’s season low.
In the past Mike Ashley has used cheap half season tickets to boost low crowd but he hasn’t even bothered with that this time, maybe even the NUFC owner accepting it is a hopeless case trying to attract the missing fans whilst he is still here.
The players deserve a full St James Park as they are giving it anything, just a shame that Mike Ashley ensures this is impossible.
Steve Bruce when asked about over 10,000 empty seats at Southampton match:
“I know there were a few numbers here which were down…and maybe the club has to try to help at this particular time.
“Can they help the supporters at this difficult time when Christmas is coming?
“It is difficult for people to afford to come to the matches, so maybe there is something we can do as a club to try to get the numbers up.
“We need St James Park full again.
“Hopefully, we will get a full St James Park for the next game (against Crystal Palace), that would be great.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Southampton 1 – Sunday 8 December 2pm
Shelvey 68 Fernandez 87
Possession was Southampton 55%, Newcastle 45%
Total shots were Southampton 19, Newcastle 12
Shots on target were Southampton 4, Newcastle 6
Corners were Southampton 12, Newcastle 3
Crowd: 42,303 (1,400 Southampton)
Referee: David Coote
Newcastle team v Southampton:
Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Dummett, Clark (Schar 45), Willems, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Atsu 81), Almiron (Sean Longstaff 85), Joelinton (Carroll 59)
Darlow, Gayle, Atsu, Krafth
(Newcastle 2 Southampton 1 – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 2 Southampton 1 – Watch official match highlights and comeback goals here! – Read HERE)
(Toon For Change public statement after 10,000 Newcastle United fans protest today v Southampton – Read HERE)
(Ralph Hasenhuttl : Says Southampton robbed at Newcastle as played all the football and most chances – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 2 Southampton 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s win – Read HERE)
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