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Opinion

5,000 Newcastle United away tickets for every Premier League match?

3 months ago
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The debate on Newcastle United away tickets is a never ending one for a large part of the fanbase.

Not many tickets, a lot of fans wanting them.

A classic supply v demand problem.

As things currently stand in the Premier League, the away club gets a minimum of 3,000 tickets unless the stadium capacity is less than 30,000, then the home club has to provide at least 10% of that capacity.

So a 25,000 capacity means at least 2,500 Newcastle United away tickets and so on.

Newcastle United fans faced plenty of challenges during the 14+ years of Mike Ashley’s rule but supporters still relished the away matches. As anybody who travels away knows, any actual decent football and / or points is always just a bonus on top of the on the road experience.

A point was reached with Mike Ashley, where a massive number of hardcore fans said enough was enough, with over 10,000 season tickets going unsold. So many times the fans had been taken to the cliff edge, only for the then owner to be saved by Chris Hughton, Rafa Benitez or whoever / whatever.

Not this time, Mike Ashley so desperate to fill the seats around his retail empire’s free adverts, he handed out…free half season tickets. 10,000+ of them! However, with Newcastle United away tickets nothing changed, very rare, if ever, for any to be left unsold.

The takeover and a return of hope has simply made the problem so much worse, Newcastle United away tickets getting ever tougher to get. As many people keep on saying…just imagine if NUFC were ever successful?!!!

A couple of weeks ago, NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) revealed (see below) that they had met with the club, to discuss ticketing issues amongst other concerns / issues.

With away tickets, the usual maximum 3,000 away allocation usually sells out quickly. Older travelling fans will recall the days of terraces and pay on the door for almost every away match, some brilliant days where your only concern was how you going to get to the game and not uncommon for massive numbers to travel, ten thousand or more on many an occasion. Very different these days and loyalty points dictate where you are in the pecking order when applying for away tickets.

The club confirmed to NUST that for away games, there continues to be an ‘allocation of 10% made available to staff, players, and corporate ticket holders.’

So that leaves around 2,700 away tickets for most Premier League trips, with the club confirming that these are the rough numbers of those having 30 loyalty points or more…

2000 – 100+ points

3000 – 50-99 points

8000 – 30+ points

The debate / argument amongst fans regarding Newcastle United away tickets, constantly revolves around how the available tickets could and should be ‘fairly’ shared out. The way the argument tends to go is that those with a lot of loyalty points see the current system as fine, those with not many loyalty points seeing the status quo as far from ideal.

As one example, you can have an older Newcastle fan who accumulated loads of loyalty points with trips away 15 and 20 or more years ago but hasn’t been to an away match since before Mike Ashley bought the club, who will get a ticket for a big away game now, whereas a younger fan might have gone to say every away match in the past five to ten years whenever they could get a ticket, but doesn’t get a ticket for the most sought after matches as things currently stand.

This was summed up recently with Brentford, only a 17,250 capacity at their new stadium and so, only 1,700 tickets allocated to Newcastle fans, which once the allocation went to players and corporate etc, probably meant less than 1,500 Newcastle United away tickets for this one. As it was a new stadium to be ticked off for all NUFC fans, it only made it even more sought after. To give an idea of the supply and demand problems, especially now supporters have some hope once again with Mike Ashley’s departure, the 3,300 Newcastle United away tickets for Southampton on a Thursday night were swiftly snapped up.

The arguments on loyalty points and who should / shouldn’t be allocated away tickets has no real end…because there is no solution that everyone will be happy with.

Sometimes you have to think outside the box and so…how about 5,000 Newcastle United away tickets for every Premier League match?

For certain away matches there will be pretty much never enough tickets but I think 5,000 would be a massive help when it comes to Newcastle United away tickets and the same at other PL clubs who have the same ongoing problems with demand massively outstripping supply.

If I was making the rules, I would make it 5,000 minimum away tickets for every Premier League game and for a capacity of over 50,000, at least 10% of capacity. So for example at the likes of Spurs and Arsenal, there would be around 6,000 Newcastle United away tickets, whilst at Old Trafford around 7,500.

Of course, it isn’t all about taking, sometimes you have to give something up, so at the moment it would mean 5,200 away supporters entitled to descend on Tyneside, whilst if St James Park can be expanded to 60,000 / 65,000 it would mean away fans entitled to 6,000 / 6,500 tickets and so on.

Reality is of course that only a small number of Premier League clubs would ever bring 5,200 or more fans to St James Park, with a fair few never even bringing 3,000 as things currently stand.

With Mike Ashley removed, the atmosphere at St James Park has truly returned. However, I think that would be taken onto a whole new level for big games, if you then had 5,000+ away fans as well.

For older NUFC fans, this discussion above will be bringing back brilliant memories of massive Newcastle United away followings on the road, the days of terracing and turning up to pay at Old Trafford, Anfield or wherever on the day. You only need to look back at the 90s when you had the likes of Wimbledon playing at stadiums such as Selhurst Park once they (Wimbledon) had lost their own home ground, some 10,000 NUFC away fans with of course many of them Newcastle fans living in the south after moving away for work etc, giving themselves and in many cases their kids, a rare chance of seeing their team.

As for those Premier League clubs with small capacities, well, it would be up to them in terms of how they handle it.

I would still insist on 5,000 Newcastle United away tickets at all of these clubs and if they don’t want to reduce the number of tickets for their own fans, allow the likes of Brentford one year to increase their capacity. So if Brentford for example, increased their stadium capacity by only 3,500, they could accommodate 5,000 away fans and still have at least the same number of tickets for their own supporters.

If you are going to take the riches of the Premier League then I think it would be fair to expect them to make the effort. Plus, you could have one-off grants from central Premier League funds to help newly promoted clubs in making an increase in capacity.

Away fans are a key part of what makes English football so special and indeed, when Mike Ashley twice relegated NUFC, it was one of the positives that so many away grounds there were more Newcastle United away tickets than you get in the top tier.

More away fans would mean everybody wins.

NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) Update to members – 9 March 2022:

‘The Trust has had recent discussions with Newcastle United and provides an update below on recent engagement.

The Club re-iterated its commitment to work with the Trust and the value it sees in a strong Trust.

There was a discussion on ticketing issues, including long-term deals and how to allocate priority for new season tickets given the rise in demand. The Club is aware of the issues and is currently planning for future renewals and season ticket sales with more to follow shortly.

The Trust raised recent away ticket allocations, especially now demand is significantly higher. The Club confirmed there had been no changes in the allocation of 10% made available to staff, players, and corporate ticket holders. It was explained that the approximate number of people in each loyalty point bracket is:

2000 – 100+ points

3000 – 50-99 points

8000 – 30+ points

We will engage further with members in relation to views on ticketing and will provide further details on this shortly.

The allocation of TV games was discussed and the effect this has on traveling Newcastle fans. The Trust raised concerns that the Premier League regularly fails to meet its own published detail for the release of TV dates. The club noted it was aware of and understood these issues.

The Club re-iterated it was still awaiting the outcome of trials on safe standing and any future regulatory or legislative change. The Club explained they are broadly supportive of introducing safe standing but this needs to be considered carefully given the likely costs and disruption to many fans in having to move from long-held seats. The Club acknowledged they were aware of the popularity of safe standing amongst the fan base.

The club explained it was reviewing options for a second big screen, along with other measures to improve St. James’ Park but this work was at an early stage with no decisions yet made.’

(To join thousands of other fans as members of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust go HERE)

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