St James’ Park This Season: Outstanding Attendances , Expectant and Edgy Atmospheres?

Following the events of Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Fulham, Rafa Benitez suggested, in an interview with The Chronicle, that his team played with ‘anxiety’.

Yes the stakes are high, as NUFC enter the final stretch of a future defining season, but I found this bemusing given our recent form. On Saturday the team returned to yet another packed out St.James’ park crowd having won 7 points over 3 consecutive away games against the toughest opposition this league has to offer. We had just passed a monumental test of our quality and character with flying colours so I ask myself, why the lack of confidence? Why play with ‘anxiety’?

While their may have been some underlying yet inexcusable reasons for Saturdays performance, such as tiredness or complacency,  it occurred to me (and not for the first time) that the atmosphere in St.James’ Park quickly turned sour.

Admittedly, Newcastle’s performance against Fulham justified mass frustration amongst the fans; the team weren’t at the races in just about every way. The tonic to a lack of urgency or effort sometimes is a kick up the backside, but jeers for backwards passes and boos at the half-time and final whistle are surely uncalled for given our team is top of the table? This only served to negatively impact the team, creating and intensifying anxieties shown on the field.

On the flip side, credit must go to Gallowgate Flags, who’s efforts have certainly boosted the pre-match atmosphere. Their visual displays have acted as a superb rallying call to players and fans in the moments before key games this season. A good start and we’re flying, but I’ve noticed on several occasions that things turn edgy should we fail to score in the first half an hour or so. This is something that I feel has to change.



There is a sense that some fans had begun turning up believing a win was a formality and instead debate centred around just how many we’d win by.

While you would hope that Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United were confident of beating the Brentford’s, Barnsley’s and Burton’s this league has to offer, this complacency amongst fans can be just as dangerous as that in a player. We, as supporters, still have a responsibility to get behind our team, no matter what the opposition.

The trip to St.James’ Park has undoubtedly become a cup final for several sides this season and whilst it is the Newcastle United players’ duty to remain focused and get the job done, the crowd must also do their jobs and support the team. With Newcastle becoming a big fish in a small pond, seeing expectation levels rise, have some fans lost sight of this duty?

As passionate fans of Newcastle United, we all know the difference we can make when the players step out onto the pitch at St.James’ Park. Benitez has regularly spoken of this, encouraging fans to stay with the team & be the 12th man to roar our club back into the Premier League.

Countless gritty away wins go a long way to prove that this group of Newcastle United players are up for the fight, so let’s fight for our team when they need us at St.James’ Park. We’ve reached the final stretch of a long hard season – support will see us through, a hive of anxiety & hostility will only make it harder. We can be the difference. We can get our club back where it belongs. Let’s stay united.

About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

15 thoughts on “St James’ Park This Season: Outstanding Attendances , Expectant and Edgy Atmospheres?

  1. Good read Olly. Agree. The crowd breaks far too early. Not going to change any time soon though so the players need to suck it up and think about where they want their careers to end up.

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  2. Football fans in general are a fickle bunch. I imagine every ground up and the country probably says the same thing except maybe clubs riding the crest of a wave i.e. Leicester after last night.

    Speaking of Leicester, what was that all about?! I had a bet on Woy to get the job permanently but the way Shake is going, he’s going to win them the Champions League at this rate!

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  3. Good points Olly! The Toon crowd has always been like that even during the KK and SBR reigns. Seems to be the way Geordies are for some reason (probably from deep in history). Interesting that the bookies have us 1/50 to be promoted! Funny old game – Fulham couldn’t get past Blackburn last night.

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  4. just shows how strange this ccc is Fulham played us off the park and yet could not beat a club in the bottom three at home,did we show them to much respect???always been a strange lot at SJP just wish they would cheer the lads on no matter how the game is going,maybe they got into booing and whisleing because of all the rubbish managers we have had in the past

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  5. Not just managers Ice – we still have Riviere and De Jong on the books. Not to mention about 10 other useless buggers.

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  6. Things just got a little tougher for Huddersfield with both Notts F and Derby still to play. They both have good new managers. Looking forward to the bounce.

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  7. Premandup:
    Good couple of Articles Olly.
    Always good to welcome new writers

    Cant get my head round that result last night they played us off the park but could not beat blackburn shows how nervous we are at home 5 of our last 8 games got to sort this brighton and huddersfield closing time for tough talking

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  8. The atmosphere is a funny one. It’s hard to criticise when 52,000 regularly turn up to Championship games.

    I just feel we are in a defining period of the clubs future. One more push from all and we will find ourselves back where we belong, in the Premier League. Support is all thats needed now to get us over the line – no room for hostility.

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  9. Good read Olly. I think part of the problem (if there really is one) is that most teams raise their game when the come to play at SJP, and coupled with the obvious complacency by the toon, the frustrations of the crowd start to effect the game. Problem is, the current vocal supporters are having a pop at those who are not so vocal thus creating a possible divide. Sooner promotion is achieved this issue will sort itself out.

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  10. It’s very odd that there’s been no announcement on Clark’s knock. No talk of a scan or anything. Anybody heard anything yet?

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  11. georgio:
    It’s very odd that there’s been no announcement on Clark’s knock. No talk of a scan or anything. Anybody heard anything yet?

    i worry about it mate,O:Neil will play him just to try and win a game,these internatinal managers are all the same they dont give a shit about their club games

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  12. We’ve had some terrible manager’s over the year’s. Our best player’s being sold for a profit or being injured at crucial time’s. 52,000 fan’s turn up that is no excuse.

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  13. I’m in the East stand, I sit next to the most negative loud mouthed moaner in SJP. I’ve no doubt, the players will at times hear his abuse, I’ve seriously considered moving my seat, which I’ve had for many years, but I could easily encounter a similar scenario elsewhere in the ground.
    My grandson wanted to go to the Fulham game, so I gave my ST to a family member, and bought two seats in the Leazes end, we were on level four, so quite high up. The atmosphere here was not what I expected, it was quite toxic at times, some were booing after the first goal, and some left after the second.
    It’s not what we need at SJP, and it’s not helpful, we should be louder, and supportive, all the booing is a disgrace, I wish these people would stay at home.

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