I live in London but I am born and bred Newcastle (Grange Estate and Kingston Park).
Living away from Newcastle poses problems regarding getting tickets to games.
There has been lots of debate regarding season tickets and in particular those people who gave up their season tickets in protest (some I know were season ticket holders for 25+ years). I attempted to buy a season ticket for myself and my son recently, even though never previously having a season ticket, because I feel we are on the verge of great things and do not want to be watching it on TV after spending the best part of 45 years travelling home and away to watch my home town club.
I managed to get tickets for the Notts Forest game only after getting someone to do my job for me, while I scurried away to log on to the official NUFC website.
So, what does this mean?
I was asked the question recently as to what should the capacity of St James’ Park be?
Some people responded to that question with it doesn’t matter (keep the Gallowgate end) which means all those people who protested and jacked in season tickets (just like the protesters back in in the late 80s who chanted “sack the board” me and my mates included, were the catalyst for the John Hall takeover) would not get a ticket today, and they are in my shoes now. Seems a little unfair to me.
I have been in the “wrong” part of the ground purely because Newcastle United away tickets in the ‘right’ end were unobtainable (QPR, Fulham, Chelsea, Man U, the list goes on). So this season I was planning our first away day and hoping my mates back home might come up with the goods and get me tickets for Brighton. Not being a season ticket holder, I rely on contacts back in Newcastle.
When I saw the points required for away tickets at 150 my heart sank. Sod it, got a mate in Brighton and they are up for it, so in the Brighton end we go.
There is an argument brewing here though, I have mates who don’t fancy a long journey to Brighton, who are season ticket holders. Brighton, Southampton and any ridiculously timed London game that Sky has decided to inflict on us, means many regular away supporters can’t make it. Points drop to 120 and my mates come good, tickets in the bag. Strike announced! No trains. Points tumble for away tickets. But there lies the issues with ticketing. Once terracing was done away with, not being able to turn up and pay in to the terracing the game changed. How many away games were spontaneous with the Geordies turning up en masse and over running a town? (We took over Old Trafford with chants of “UNITED” and I loved it, we are UNITED not them and I hate how the media refers to Man U as “United” but the thousands of Geordies who turned up and paid in and sang their hearts out the media just ignored).
People might object to the fact I have managed to get tickets for an away game through mates. I’m not apologising for any away game I manage to get tickets for. My mates and the younger lads who might not be able to afford it, have done their time and deserve the points. That’s the system. I accept it and because of the system I will never get to games like Man City (even though I have been to Maine Road more than once in the days of terracing), or Old Trafford, or Anfield. I know I will never be in the away end at Old Trafford but I have sat / stood in the Stretford End, The Shed, etc. supporting my team more than once. If my mates can’t get me tickets, I’m in the home end and it’s just no colours and keeping quiet (However, sometimes impossible and the obvious consequences following).
This weekend I met up with youngsters and older lads who are more than willing to try and get me Newcastle United away tickets for games on the road and I am forever grateful to them, they are top Newcastle fans who understand how it feels, they might not be able to make an away day at Brighton but are happy to share.
Brighton is next up for me and my lad and hopefully a few more this season. I’ll be meeting my mate and his son in Brighton who bought tickets in the Brighton end anyway (They are Cowdenbeath and Forest respectively by the way).
There was an interesting article written in The Mag a while back proposing that a larger stadium capacity could create a larger away support offering, and other clubs with larger stadiums could offer like for like. Just a thought, before people come at me for using my contacts to get Newcastle United away tickets.