We spoke to the guys from WeAreBrighton.com prior to Saturday’s game, and they’ve shared their assessment of the game, Newcastle fans and Mike Ashley following their trip to St James’ Park:
‘The travelling support were in good voice but there was a real sense of apathy among the locals with this being Newcastle’s lowest home attendance in the Premier League for nine years.
‘Much of that is to do with the Toon Army staying away due to the basket case ownership of Mike Ashley. While it might not look good to have so many empty seats, if the plan is to hit Ashley financially by boycotting then it’s hard to see how that will work really.
‘It’s a well-known fact that every Premier League club could give away every ticket for free due to the ridiculous amount of wealth that the television deals provide.
‘As long as Newcastle remain in the top flight and on that gravy train, a lack of ticket sales won’t bother Ashley. More of a reason for the locals to stay away seems to be apathy because of what is happening on the pitch.
‘You can understand that given that they’ve replaced one of the best managers in the world in Rafa Benitez with Steve Bruce, a bloke who is papped on holiday because he looks like a beached whale.
‘Those Newcastle fans who did turn up weren’t exactly given value for money by their team. The hosts were awful, particularly in the first half.
‘Bruce tried to play down the fact that the Albion had 71% possession, but that’s a damning statistic. His side were at home to Brighton, not playing away against Manchester City or Liverpool. Watford had a bigger share of the ball than 29% at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and they lost 8-0.
‘Of course, Newcastle aren’t the only ones who should be worried by that figure. On the flip side, you can say that it’s criminal that a team who have 71% of possession away from home fail to score, but we already know that.
‘The empty seats and the domination of the men in green meant that the atmosphere inside the stadium was extremely subdued. Only when Andy Carroll was introduced with 30 minutes to play for his first appearance back in black and white for nine years did the decibel levels increase, and that also led to Newcastle’s best spell.
‘Most of us could see what was going to happen at that point. It’s what we call “Typical Brighton”. The Albion outplay their hosts, miss countless opportunities and then Carroll pops up with a 91st minute winner with Newcastle’s first shot on target in front of the Gallowgate End.
‘Carroll’s presence did lead to a bit of panic in the Brighton back three and we were hanging on by the final few minutes. It would have been a travesty had Newcastle scored, but there’s always the risk that will happen when you don’t take your opportunities. A better side than the Toon would have punished us.’
He’s hit the nail on the head here. Apathy has take over on Tyneside and those that stayed away missed absolutely nothing.
Perhaps the most damning stat is the fact Watford had more possession in a 8-0 away defeat at Man City – the favourites to win the Champions League – than we did at home to fellow relegation rivals Brighton.
Brighton must be absolutely kicking themselves that they didn’t come away with all three points, but Graham Potter has far more positives to take from the game than Steve Bruce.