Attendances have been on the slide in recent months, although it’s a trend that isn’t just affecting Newcastle in fairness.
Times are tight for people and other priorities come into play. Football is a priority, but not over putting food on the table or paying the bills and some people are struggling to make ends meet. It’s not the only reason why there was 10,000 empty seats against Fulham last time out, but it will be a contributing factor along with the general feeling of apathy towards the ownership and the rather large yet mostly unused away fan area that we have in Level 7 these days.
One way to convince fans to part with their cash is to give them something that they want to watch. This team has the potential to do just that although it is still early days. Players like Yohan Cabaye, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan and Hatem Ben Arfa are all exciting players, and it’s these players that Alan Pardew believes will put bums on seats in the long run.
“All I can say to the Newcastle fans who are weary of paying that extra pound on Saturday, is that we have players in really good form,” Pardew told The Chronicle.
He continued: “It is tough out there and we are all very much aware of that from the financial point of view – people are tightening their belts. But we hope to take that form on to the pitch on Saturday.”
“Yohan, Ben Arfa and Obertan as well are starting to show quality. Obertan changed the game the other day at Forest when he came on. For a player that hasn’t had a lot of games to come on and change things is a real positive.”
Pardew also insists that there is more to come from his French foreign legion.
“There is more to come. We have to make sure we don’t lose our resilience and make sure we are always still in the game,” he said.
“We don’t concede many goals. The goals we conceded on Tuesday against Forest were too many for us – we have to make sure we go back to zero or one.”
The attendances have been below par thus far this season but they will improve. They are still up there amongst the highest in the league so it’s not all doom and gloom and there is still room for improvement.
So what can those fans who choose to go to the game tomorrow expect to see? Well almost certainly they will see Hatem Ben Arfa at some point although it’s only like to be a cameo role from the bench. They’ll also see a team similar to the one that played against Aston Villa with a number of players being recalled after a midweek rest.
When asked on whether if Ben Arfa would be a substitute against Rovers, Pardew told The Chronicle:
“Yes, I think so. He is in contention for the bench, anyone who went to Forest could see that he has a little cameo in him already.”
“Part of the parcel of being a footballer is that you have battles with injuries. He’s got through that and he’s been brilliant. He’s had a smile on his face and he’s enjoying it.”
This team has the makings of a very good team as long as they continue doing what they are doing. I won’t go into it too much as KRToon has a rather fantastic article coming up which goes into it in much more depth than I could in this one.
Suffice to say that once the players click, if they click, then they will attract the fans back to St James’ Park. I’m confident on that one.« Ben Arfa must wait for Premier League chance | Newcastle v Blackburn – Premier League match preview »