Newcastle United’s season ticket holders have netted more than 10,000 half-season tickets in 24 hours of the deal opening up to fans.
The Premier League club offered current season ticket holders the chance to obtain the half-season pass for free to gift to fellow supporters in a bid to boost low attendances at St. James’ Park. Attendances have been impacted by a boycott of games in protest at owner Mike Ashley.
The 10-game Newcastle ticket will kick off on December 28 for the club’s home game against Everton at the 52,354-capacity ground.
The club has now halted online availability of the tickets, with the few hundred remaining seats in the family area only to be purchased over the phone.
A club tweet yesterday (Wednesday) morning read: “Due to incredibly high demand, half-season tickets will NOT be available online today. A limited number of Family Area seats remain available by calling 0344 372 1892 from 10am. Thank you for your support!”
Newcastle’s most recent game against Southampton marked the club’s lowest attendance for a Premier League match since November 2010, with 42,303 fans. The club’s 2019-20 season average gate is 46,124.
Some fans, including Toon for Change, the group set up to push the attendance boycott, said the ticketing hand-out doesn’t address the underlying issues behind the boycott.
Newcastle’s managing director Lee Charnley told the Chronicle Live that the move is designed to boost attendance during the second half of the season and does not have an agenda.
He said: “I felt that the supporters that have been with us and been good to Steve and the team, really supportive, it was like: ‘Why don’t we give them something back?
“That’s what we have done. There’s no tricks, agendas, it is simply the club saying thank you to the supporters who have been here and stuck with us, and supported Steve and the team.
“It’s a thank-you to you and will give people the opportunity to come into the stadium that may have ordinarily not been able to.”