Alan Pardew yesterday wondered whether there were extra tickets for Newcastle fans to travel to Wigan for the vital game at the DW Stadium on Saturday.
In the local press yesterday, this is what Alan Pardew said about the game coming up on Saturday, and his hope that more tickets could be allocated:
“Wigan’s going to be massive for us. I don’t know how many tickets we’ve sold, but I hope we get some more tickets and fill the place up.”
“They could probably do with the money.” “It would be nice to see 8-9,000 Geordies somehow get in there, because it would feel like a home game.”
Wigan’s DW Stadium can hold 25,138, which is its official capacity, but the average home gate is around 18000, if that, so the Wigan fans themselves will not fill the stadium on Saturday.
It seems Alan was hoping that Wigan would give Newcastle extra tickets, but no such luck on that score, as the Wigan club issued this rather terse statement on their web-site today:
CLUB STATEMENT REGARDING NEWCASTLE MATCH
Posted today – Wednesday 25th April 2012
Ticketless fans should not travel – Latics CEO Jonathan Jackson
Wigan Athletic have moved quickly to deny any truth in the rumors circulating in the media that Newcastle United supporters travelling to this Saturday’s Barclays Premier League match at the DW Stadium will be given any more than their current allocation.
The stories have arisen following comments by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew this afternoon and Jonathan Jackson, Latics’ Chief Executive said:
“The crowd will be a near sell out if sales carry on at the present rate and to suggest that any more tickets could be available, or that ticketless fans should travel, is both wrong and potentially dangerous.”
“We strongly urge any fans without tickets not to travel because they will not be able to purchase tickets and therefore not gain entry into the ground.”
“Moreover any Newcastle supporters found to be in any of the Home Stands will on Police advice be ejected to minimise the risk of public order and to ensure the safety of all supporters within the Stadium.”
“We have contacted Newcastle United over the issue and have urged them to put out a similar message via their official communication channels.”
That’s a rather stern and seemingly inappropriate and out-of-place statement by Jonathan Jackson.
But of course Wigan are in relegation trouble again, and the last thing they want is to have more Newcastle fans at their home game, than their own fans.
Stoke City use a very small pitch when they play at The Britannia Stadium, simply because it’s to their advantage, and they were forced to make the pitch bigger when they played in the Europa League.
So we suppose Wigan have every right to refuse to allocate more tickets to Newcastle fans, because that would not be to their advantage.
It will be interesting is to see what the attendance is on Saturday – because Wigan’s highest attendance this season is is only 21,379 against West Brom – and there’s only one other time that it has been over 20,000 – for the Aston Villa game.
So their highest attendance is still 4,000 short of capacity and the stadium was only 85% full.
Very unlike Newcastle’s support – when we had the fourth highest attendance in England – and that’s when we were in the second division.
We can understand the Wigan club not wanting too many Newcastle fans at the game on Saturday – we understand the reasons for that from a Wigan viewpoint - but that statement by Jonathan Jackson is simply out of place, uncalled for, and even crass.
It does not portray Wigan in a positive light, and Wigan is a very good club.
And they have also done very well indeed in their last six games – beating Liverpool, Stoke, Manchester United and Arsenal, and they were so unlucky against Chelsea, who scored two goals that were shown to be offside by TV replays.
We are expecting a tough game at Wigan on Saturday.