Newcastle United’s managing director Lee Charnley is back making public statements again. Yesterday, he spoke to BBC Newcastle about the offer Newcastle made on Monday in which current season ticket holders could get a free additional season ticket for the remainder of the season.
It was a direct response to the 42,303 attendance for Sunday’s win against Southampton. Steve Bruce spoke after the game that Newcastle needed a full St James Park. He then consulted Lee Charnley, and this was the plan they hatched to try and entice some fans back to the stadium.
This is some of what Charnley had to say as tweeted by Matthew Raisbeck.
NEW: Newcastle United managing director Lee Charnley talks to @bbcnewcastle about their offer of a free additional half-season ticket to current season ticket holders.
— Matthew Raisbeck (@raisbeck10) December 10, 2019
Steve Bruce always has said to judge him by the results. He’s gotten the results to improve since the start of the season. For the most part, he’s actually done quite well under the circumstances. A lot of fans have warmed up to Steve.
However, Bruce was never really the issue. The problem with Newcastle has been and remains to be Mike Ashley. The low attendance reflects how despised the owner is on Tyneside.
We think the club are shocked that after 4 wins in 6 games, we’ve had such low attendance. This plan is a sort of gimmick to get fans back to the stadium. It’s an obvious reaction to the dwindling numbers even after such a run of good results. The attendance on Sunday has to be a major worry.
Despite the wins, the football on the pitch has not really been inspiring, so there’s that to take into account as well. While the players have shown resilience and fight, the football has been a bit hard on the eyes.
Though we don’t really have a problem with that as it’s all about getting something out of the game. We don’t think the football is the driving factor behind the low attendance, but if we were playing a more entertaining brand, then it would help somewhat.
However, the issue is primarily with Mike Ashley. We feel a bit for Bruce as he’s done a lot better than we had expected. The issue at the stadium is not a reflection on him.
We also think that if these results continued the attendance would get better naturally but a lot of fans are just completely fed up and won’t return until Ashley sells up.
We’ll have to see if this attempt to bring more fans to the stadium will work. We do think that a packed St James Park helps the team. Though, we would prefer that to be a natural response from the Newcastle faithful.
Lee also spoke to the Chronicle about the plan. This is some of what he had to say:
“This (the half-season ticket deal) was another example of us thinking if this could make a difference, which we think it can, filling the stadium and getting it noisy and loud and behind the team, let’s give it a go and try it.
“We believe it will work and make a difference.”
It very well may work and we could have a packed stadium. However, it will be an artificial reflection of the true state of affairs at the club. While Mike Ashley is at the helm, this fanbase is going to be fractured and divided. And Newcastle United are still going to be a shell of what they could be.