New average attendance figures for the current season, compiled by talkSPORT, show Newcastle’s crowds have dropped significantly since the last campaign.
Newcastle’s average attendance so far this season is 46,125, and is based on an average of the six home league games to date.
Last year, across the whole season, Newcastle’s average gate was 52,238, which means the drop from then to now is 6,113.
But considering half of those games were against sides that sold out their whole allocation in the away end – namely Arsenal, Manchester United and Wolves – and the actual number of home fans not attending is likely to be a higher number than it appears from the figures.
Yet that figure still sees Newcastle listed as the seventh highest average attendance in the Premier League – exactly the same position as at the end of last season.
Another club in exactly the same position for both seasons, is Bournemouth. They were 20th, and last, on both occasions, with last year’s average figure of 11,096 dropping to 10,614 this season.
The huge difference between the Cherries’ average and Newcastle’s shows that the attendance figures are a mere drop in the ocean when it comes to revenue in the Premier League nowadays.
It also means, unfortunately, Mike Ashley is unlikely to be concerned at the boycott of a significant portion of fans, despite their stay-away protest being admirable.
It is an unfortunate side-effect of the power of television, sponsorship and advertising that the people who used to be the largest contributor to clubs are now simply aesthetically pleasing on the eye when a game is being broadcast around the world.
Gone are the days where fans going to games used to demand more from players, and telling them “we are the ones who are paying your wages”.
Fans do not seem important anymore
Ignoring 2019 spending, the average net spend of Premier League clubs over the five previous years, shows Newcastle having forked out £21.5 million per season, while Bournemouth averaged £26.7m.
So a club that has an average matchday attendance which is 41,142 less than Newcastle, was able to outspend them by an average of £5.2m a year.
If fans going to games was the major contributing factor in football anymore, that would simply not be able to happen – but it is not.
It is why owners like Mike Ashley will be far more worried if Premier League broadcasting rights deals were decreasing than if a stadium is half full.
I hate that football is so commercially driven now, and I miss the days where the fans really made a difference. At least the we felt like an important cog in the machine.
It almost felt like our attendance had a say in the fortunes of the club. Not anymore.
Having a bunch of empty seats visible for all to see on a live televised game may not look great, but sadly, it will hardly register with club owners in modern day football.