A remarkable stat has emerged today, showing that Rafa Benitez has, this season, generated Newcastle’s biggest ever average attendances during Mike Ashley’s reign at the club.
Over the 23 Championship games at St. James’ Park this season, United have hosted a total of 1,175,484 fans – producing an an average home attendance of 51,108.
Given we’ve been playing host to Championship football this season, swapping dates with Manchester United for midweek battles with Burton, this really is an incredible stat.
Average attendances at St. James’ Park under Mike Ashley:
2008/09 – 48,749
2009/10 – 43,387 (Previous Championship campaign)
2010/11 – 47,717
2011/12 – 49,935 (5th place finish)
2012/13 – 50,517
2013/14 – 50,395
2014/15 – 50,359
2016/17 – 51,108 (This season)
During Ashley’s reign at the club, the NUFC owner has seen average attendances dip below 50,000 on 5 occasions over his 8 season spell (see above).
Whilst Mike Ashley’s reign has been an infamous one, full of turmoil and disruption, we have had the odd high, including our entertaining season under Alana Pardew in 2011/12, seeing United qualify for Europe thanks to 5th place finish.
Quite incredibly, however, that sparkling season in the Premier League produced a lower average attendance (49,935) than this year’s title winning season in the Championship (51,108).
It is also worth noting that our average attendance in our last Championship campaign (in the 2009/10 season) was a whopping 7,500 less than this seasons figures.
This highlights what an incredible job Benitez has done, not only transforming Newcastle’s results on the pitch, but inspiring fans to believe and get behind their beloved club once again.