Newcastle have extended the cut-off date for the sale of season tickets a few times this summer, and the season tickets are now out for general sale to the public.
Here is a layout of the stadium that Newcastle put out, with the green being the seats still available, but the problem here is that we suppose one seat available in an area will turn it green, so it’s hard to know how many season tickets are still unsold.
A few fan organizations have asked that fans not to renew their season tickets, in an attempt to get at owner Mike Ashley, and we suppose the thinking is that if the crowds are 10,000 or more short of capacity, that will in some way hurt Mike Ashley.
We understand completely the frustration of the Newcastle fans, and we are also (very) frustrated at Ashley and hope that some white knight will come in from nowhere and buy the club off the London tycoon, and pledge to spend the money that’s available at the club.
One problem with Mike Ashley is that he is still not spending the money we have available, and there’s plenty of it – from what we can tell.
Last season we made close to £10M in profit, and this season – with around £35M more coming in from the new Premier League TV deal, and the new Wonga shirts deal of £6M a year for four years kicking in, we could well make over £50M in profits.
But Ashley is still more than a little miserly with Newcastle’s money, and it’s very frustrating.
But season ticket sales and gate receipts are very small these days as an overall percentage of revenues – when clubs are getting anywhere from £62M to £100M each season from the Premier League – and that amount will only increase in the future.
Newcastle received £79.5M for finishing in 10th place last season – and what we want to see is the revenues and profits to remain solid.
But also why doesn’t Ashley now start spending most of the profits and invest straight back into the club in terms of improving facilities and buying some very good players for decent transfer fees?
Newcastle made a very good move a few months ago to invest money in turning the Benton Training grounds into one of the best in Europe, and that will be completed in a couple of years time, and we already have underground heating for the pitches at Benton..
While not renewing season tickets will send a message to Ashley, it will not hurt the owner himself – and remember Newcastle’s financial books are completely independent of the billions that Mike has.
It will hurt the club in terms of reduced revenues (and with that the profits), but it will be minimal in the overall scheme of things.
As we said before, we completely understand the motive behind the move, but it will hurt Newcastle and the team when they play in front of reduced crowds at St. James’ Park.
And we have to think about not cutting off the nose to spite the face, – as my mother used to always tell me.
But then what to do to get the message through to Mike Ashley remains a good question – although he already knows Newcastle fans are very unhappy at the moment.
We’d like one of the questions at the next Fan Forum’s meeting to be “Will Mike Ashley be investing all the profits back into the club.”
If the answer to that is yes – then we know (big) money is available.
Then it’s a case of how to get Ashley to spend it.
What do you think?
Written while in Ipswich, England.