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Opinion

‘Newcastle United season tickets – New owners missed a trick’

6 days ago
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Plenty of things to talk about this summer in anticipation of the new season BUT for many us, Newcastle United season tickets is top of the list by far.

It is all very well wondering whether Botman and Ekitike will be lining up for NUFC next season…but if you won’t be inside St James Park to watch them, that is by far a bigger deal for me.

Of course I want Newcastle United to win any match regardless of whether I am there or not.

However, at the same time I am desperate when it comes to Newcastle United season tickets and will rest easy once I am in possession of one (well three actually, as it isn’t just me).

My story will be a familiar one.

Have gone to the match for a long time, never seen us win anything, few near misses, not to worry, loads of great memories home and away, which at the end of the day is what it is all about.

Once Newcastle United season tickets became a necessity and not the choice of the few (back in the day, a small percentage of NUFC fans had season tickets, almost all of them in the seats, whilst vast majority paid in on the day on the terraces), along with most of you I obviously got one. The arrival of Kevin Keegan (as manager, the first time) meaning that you swiftly found you had to get a season ticket or you wouldn’t get in.

I never ever thought I would ever give up my season ticket, then Mike Ashley came along.

We all have our breaking point it turns out, mine came when he forced Rafa Benitez out and brought in Steve Bruce. The intention was clear, nothing was ever going to change under Ashley.

That change of manager / head coach had seen a long lead up, with a fan campaign entitled ‘If Rafa goes, I go’…

It wasn’t that I thought Rafa Benitez was the only one who could do a decent job as Newcastle United manager, more the fact that if Benitez left and we reverted to the stooge / patsy model seen with Pardew, JFK, Carver, McClaren etc, then it was just pointless.

Quite clearly whilst we were all continuing to fill St James Park, no way would Mike Ashley ever leave.

Which of course saw not just myself (and my two kids) boycott and chuck in our Newcastle United season tickets, thousands and thousands of others did the same. This then led to two things. Mike Ashley as a temporary measure handing out 10,000+free half season tickets to ensure seats were full next to his adverts at St James Park. More importantly, Ashley admitting to himself that finally he had no alternative but to sell Newcastle United, all those years he had simply pretended he was trying to sell the club, but now he knew he could never ever again fill St James Park and so he had to sell up.

Which brings us to 7 October 2021.

The great takeover day, my two teenagers went over to St James Park to celebrate the departure of Mike Ashley, great to see the TV pictures and social media, so many people so happy that Ashley had gone. I celebrated in my local instead with a few mates, some who had also boycotted due to Mike Ashley, others who still hadn’t reached their breaking point.

Anyway, as far as I am concerned, when it came to selling Newcastle United season tickets. I think the new owners missed a trick.

I rang up the next day (after the takeover) to get our season tickets back, hopefully where we used to sit but as close as possible would do. Only to be met by sorry, nothing doing, season tickets no longer on sale but maybe half season tickets would go on sale around November time.

As we all know, no half season ones went on sale and indeed no details whatsoever on Newcastle United season tickets.

Less than seven weeks until the season starts and I think the new owners have created a bit of a problem for themselves.

I think that the owners missed the perfect opportunity to get the Newcastle United season tickets sold and it wouldn’t now be such a hot potato of who should and shouldn’t get them.

If they had sold them straight after taking over, with Newcastle United in the relegation zone and things looking pretty miserable on the pitch, then I think the vast majority of the season tickets would have gone to the right people. Those who had boycotted due to Mike Ashley, not because NUFC were rubbish on the pitch, after all, for those of us of a certain age we had seen far worse even than what we were watching under Steve Bruce. The big difference of course with him, Bruce was making these players look far worse than they really were. Whereas back in the day, I and many others have watched NUFC teams that WERE as bad as they looked.

Anyway, if not putting Newcastle United season tickets on sale immediately in October, selling half season tickets would also have done the trick as well I think. If say half season tickets had gone on sale after the final game in November 2022, it would have been at a time where Newcastle United had only seven points from fourteen PL matches, we had just failed to beat Norwich at home and I think the mood was that relegation looked very very likely, especially when no PL club had ever survived previously when winning none of their first fourteen matches.

Anybody buying Newcastle United season tickets at that point could hardly be accused of jumping on a glory hunter bandwagon.

Failing that, putting season tickets on sale in mid-January 2022 would also have been perfect, drawing at home with Watford, leaving United with 12 points from 20 PL matches, relegation looked nailed on.

Once more, anyone committing to a season ticket at that point, surely only doing it for the right reasons.

Moving five months on and we now have a very scenario.

Newcastle United picking up 37 points in their last 18 games, averaging more than two points per game, the third best form in the second half of the season, only Man City and Liverpool doing better.

Then we have £90m+ spent in January, brilliant signings such as Trippier and Burn.

Then an absolute superstar in Bruno G!

Matt Targett has now been made a permanent transfer, taking spending to over £100m in less than six months.

Everybody wants Newcastle United season tickets now!

You are never going to have a perfect system when demand outstrips supply.

Everybody now has a theory on what would be the fairest way to sell the Newcastle United season tickets that are currently unsold BUT the reality is that we are too late.

I just think when times were toughest, far more chance of the majority of them ending up in the right hands than when now when NUFC are on the up.

A dark part of me sometimes wonders whether a relegation would have been worth it, just to really ensure that anybody buying season tickets was in it for the best of reasons. I don’t really go with that though, as I think the damage to the club would have been far too great, a relegation wouldn’t have been fatal but it would have set back the new ownership a number of years.

I must admit, that with things reaching this point, I have a feeling that the NUFC owners might not sell any new season tickets for next season. Part of that reasoning being that it has reached the point where they will upset more people (who won’t get season tickets) than those it will satisfy (those getting season tickets).

This has been my first contribution to The Mag and hopefully it has made the cut, I look forward to writing again when I have our Newcastle United season tickets in my hand…

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