The Chronicle ran an excellent piece yesterday, talking about recent attendances at St James Park – and highlighting that no stadium in the Premier League has had more empty seats this season.
Saturday’s crowd of just 44,157 was lowest attendance for a top flight game at St James’ Park since December 2012, with these new numbers only emphasising the feeling of apathy in and around St James’ Park.
After the turmoil of the summer, the aftermath of Rafa leaving and Bruce’s uninspiring appointment, threats of boycotts and mass protests were as serious as they’ve ever been – and these new numbers show that Mike Ashley hasn’t got away with it.
Here’s a snipper from the Chronicle’s recent piece, highlighting that we’re the only Premier League club so far this season who’ve seen attendances dip below 90% of the stadium’s capacity:
“Newcastle have had more empty seats than any other club in the Premier League so far this season, according to attendance stats.
“United have played to two sub-50,000 crowds as fan discontent appears to have chopped around 5,000 off the gates for games against Arsenal and Watford. There also appear to be unsold season tickets”
“Newcastle’s capacity to attendance figure is the only one in the Premier League that is under 90% – which might cause the hierarchy a few worries.”
If this isn’t a major wake-up call for Mike Ashley, nothing will be. It’s clear proof that fans aren’t happy and, frankly, can’t be bothered anymore – which is sad…and worrying.
A St James’ Park full of empty seats coupled with a poor atmosphere does little for the players on the pitch – and they need all the help they can get. Also, keep in mind these figures are at the start of a new season and on the back of a late ‘splurge’ in the transfer window, so just how low could these numbers fall if we’re struggling to pick up points in a few months time? It’s worrying – at least it should be for Mike Ashley.
The positives of this situation were that supporters groups and publications came together in unison to spread the word regarding fan discontent and protest plans, with their work paying off if these latest figures are anything to go by.
The negative is the divide amongst some fans who stay away, and others who choose to go to the games. It’s honestly becoming like Brexit with remainders and leavers at each other’s throats.
Social media has been a toxic place for Newcastle fans in recent weeks. The planned opening day boycott against Arsenal went relatively unnoticed in the national press, but last Saturday’s home game against Watford saw a significantly reduced crowd.
Either way, apathy has take over at St James’ Park, with our Premier League crowd numbers not only as low as ever but the atmosphere non existent.
Take the hint, Mike!