Newcastle United fans back inside St James Park far earlier than had been expected – The Times
Some very encouraging news for Newcastle United fans on when they can hope to be back inside St James Park.
The decision was taken to restart and finish the 2019/20 Premier League season with no fans allowed into games, all other major leagues taking the same approach, apart from the odd one who terminated their season early.
Having football back has been a positive for most but certainly for match-going fans, watching TV is a very poor second best.
Great then to see The Times reveal that plans are being put in place for Newcastle fans to be back inside St James Park far earlier than most people expected.
They report that the Premier League clubs are aiming to have supporters back inside stadiums from the very start of the 2020/21 season.
A date of 12 September 2020 is expected to be confirmed as the season start date at a PL meeting on 24 July.
By that time, it is hoped that plans will be in place for match-going fans to be part of that new season.
The Times say that as well as the Premier League, the relaxation allowed and supported by the government, would also see fans allowed into EFL matches and other sports, such as rugby union and cricket.
To make it as viable as possible, especially for football clubs lower down the leagues who are overwhelmingly dependent on matchday revenue, the government are supportive of trying to allow as many fans in as possible from the start.
The Ruby Football Union have has said that they estimate that the relaxation to one metre social distancing rule has meant that they could have 40,000 fans inside Twickenham, which holds 82,000.
The Times says that the plans being looked at are for a minimum of 30% of St James Park and other PL stadiums to be filled from the first game of the 2020/21 season, with the hope though that the actual figure could be as high as 50% of capacity.
So for Newcastle United, that could potentially see as many as 26,000 inside SJP for the first home match in September, amongst them new owners…here’s hoping.
The report says that amongst the measures that would / will be put in place are stadiums opening three hours before kick-off to allow fans to safely enter, plus a requirement on all fans to wear masks.
Ironically, with Mike Ashley having successfully driven so many fans away, if 26,000 were allowed inside St James Park, that would allow almost all season ticket holders to attend, based on the numbers for this season, not counting of course the 10,000+ free season tickets that Ashley was forced to give away!
Not much to be maybe look forward to in these last four matches in July BUT it would be a great double to see both fans and new owners inside SJP when September comes around.
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