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Friday 23 February 2018

Fans ask if Newcastle are "lying"

There were huge numbers of empty seats at Newcastle's Premier League game against Tottenham
There were huge numbers of empty seats at Newcastle's Premier League game against Tottenham

The Newcastle fans' group influential in Sunday's anti-Mike Ashley boycott has asked if the club were "lying" over the attendance figure published.

The crowd for the Barclays Premier League game against Tottenham at St James' Park was officially recorded as 47,427.

That was despite pictures at the match showing vast numbers of empty seats at the 52,404-capacity arena.

Thousands of supporters had opted not to attend in an organised protest against the controversial ownership of the club by Ashley.

A statement from, a pressure group who publicised the '#BoycottSpurs' initiative, read: "Fans of all generations took the decision to stay away from the home game vs Tottenham Hotspur and thousands also protested loudly and peacefully outside of St James' Park, all uniting behind one simple message: 'ASHLEY OUT'.

"The pictures beamed around the world of huge sections of empty seats sent a strong message to Mike Ashley and those watching: the fans of Newcastle United have had enough and are willing to put up a fight and make sacrifices to reclaim their club.

"Reports vary as to the true number of fans who passed through the turnstiles and we will not speculate on this. We simply ask everyone to judge for themselves, based on the pictures in this statement, whether the club's 'official' attendance of 47,427 appears legitimate, or if this is yet another clear example of a club lying to its own fans to present itself in a better light?"

Reports estimating the crowd at the match have varied widely since the weekend.

The club have declined to comment on the issue.

Official attendance figures are understood to include season-ticket holders whether they attend or not.

Fans have long been disgruntled at the way Ashley has run Newcastle over the past eight years but opposition is now hardening with such co-ordinated events.

The statement added: "It is clear this was a very successful start to what will be a long campaign. We've undoubtedly raised awareness about Mike Ashley's disastrous ownership of Newcastle United and this has been reflected by a vast increase in scrutiny from local, national and international media."

Press Association

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