Newcastle United St James’ Park is one of the most impressive stadiums in the Premier League, and in recent weeks the “Cathedral on the Hill”, as the venue was once named by the icon of coach Sir Bobby Robson, has already enjoyed the best Traffic. Against Everton, Chelsea and Leicester there were more than 52,000 people each, in the afternoon against Norwich City (4pm; Liveticker SPIEGEL.de) it should be similar.
Full venues are actually normal in the Premier League. But with the Magpies, the Magpies, it’s different. In Newcastle, a resold stadium now has a new value.
Because before the turn of the year, the grey of the empty seats often shaped the image during the home games of the current table-14. On average, just over 46,000 spectators came in the first round. Against Southampton in December, the club recorded its worst attendance in nine years, with 42,303 spectators. Newcastle United is actually one of the best-supported clubs in England. Unlike London, Manchester or Liverpool, people on the River Tyne don’t have to choose between two or more clubs.
The reason for the gaps in the ranks was a boycott organized by several groups of fans to protest against owner Mike Ashley. The owner of a chain of transgaming.orging goods department stores took over the Magpies 12 years ago. Meanwhile, the club relegated twice and in conflict with club legends such as Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer. The coach Rafael Benitez, revered by the fans, postponed his departure this summer on the fact that the management of the club did not share his “vision”. His farewell was the fire accelerator for the protest of the customers.
The fact that St. James’ Park is now full again is due to an unusual move by the club. He announced after the Southampton game that any season ticket holder could also receive a free season ticket for the return leg. The action was well received. The club reportedly gave nearly 10,000 season tickets for the second half of the season, within 24 hours. There are no official figures. The club did not respond to a request from SPIEGEL.
“He obviously wants to destroy the boycott movement”
Generosity should be a thank you to season ticket holders for their loyalty, as Newcastle United have said. Many fans have a different guess. It’s a desperate move on Ashley’s part. He obviously wants to destroy the boycott movement,” Moore said in an interview with SPIEGEL. He is part of the fan group “Toon for Change”, which co-organizes the boycott.
Protests are also rife at other parts of the Premier League. West Ham United fans protest against owners David Sullivan and David Gold, Manchester United fans fantasized about the death of the Glazer family and board member Ed Woodward, then suddenly men with hoods and in the Wednesday night stood and Bengali torches outside Woodward’s house.
Even the Champions League winner and spe champions FC Liverpool were coveted by fans when the club tried to protect the city’s name under the trademark law last year. But the protest in Newcastle is arguably the most persistent. And for now, public hopes of getting rid of Ashley are soon once again high.
Fans hope for Saudi Arabia
As has often been the case in recent years, the club is about to be sold. The question, however, is whether this is a cause for rejoicing. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF is interested. Amnesty International is concerned and calls for possible takeovers, transgaming.orgs washing, i.e. a picture polish by transgaming.org, in reference to the human rights situation in the desert state.
The country is becoming more and more active in this area of activity at the moment, including as a stage for the heavyweight fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz, the Spanish Super Cup or the Dakar Rally. To gain the upper hand over a club of the most popular football league in the world would be a coup d’etat for Saudi Arabia.
The Appendix of the Magpies would have no problem with the case, as it stands. Quite the opposite. A broad alliance of fans publicly appeals to Ashley to pave the way for this “unique opportunity for our club, our communities and our proud city” and to sell the club.
The aversion to the current owner is greater than the possible doubts about the new one.