Existing Newcastle United season-ticket holders have until 5pm today to book their seasons for the 2022/23 campaign.
Given the turnaround at the club over the past few months, its hard to imagine too that many supporters will fail to renew, though, unquestionably, fans will have to make some tough decisions due to the cost of living crisis.
The club had lost thousands of season-ticket holders during Mike Ashley’s time as owner, the latter years of which were punctuated by boycotts and protests against his ownership.
Now, with the club under new ownership, thousands are ready to return – and many more would like the opportunity to buy a season-ticket. Monday night’s stunning 2-0 win over Arsenal was a glimpse into a brighter future under head coach Eddie Howe.
The 12th-placed club’s box office will close at 1pm tomorrow so these final renewals can be processed.
Newcastle say news of a general release of season-tickets will be announced in “due course”.
There haven’t been enough seats to meet demand in the second half of the campaign, and United’s new owners must decide how to proceed this summer.
The club, which told the Newcastle United Supporters Trust a couple of years ago that it had 30,000 season-ticket holders, has been working on plans for a release of new season tickets.
A club statement, issued late last month, read: “Any seats not renewed by this date (May 19) will be released for general sale. Information on general sale season tickets will be confirmed in due course.”
Newcastle must decide whether to give priority to those who previously held season tickets – and those with a purchase history.
This would at least ensure that those fans who followed the team during its lean Ashley years get the opportunity to return to watch matches during a hoped-for challenge for European football and trophies.
Premier League rules also state that clubs must keep back a number of tickets for matchday sales.
Rule R.6.9 states that clubs must “promote the availability of tickets by reserving a reasonable proportion (at least 5%) of them for sale to non-season ticket holders”.
United, which famously had a 10,000-name waiting list for season tickets in the 1990s before the stadium was expanded to its present 52,000 capacity, may well choose to keep back more than 5% of tickets for match-to-match sales.
Co-owner Mehrdad Ghodoussi revealed the determination of the club’s new owners to expand the stadium again in an interview earlier this year.
“We’ll definitely look at expanding it,” Ghodoussi told The Athletic in February. “We're working with the city and council to see what we can do. If we can get it to 60,000 or 65,000, amazing.”
It would be amazing, but stadium expansion won’t be easy given that St James’s Park is hemmed in by by the grade-1 listed Leazes Terrace.
Land on Strawberry Place was also sold for development by Ashley, though work has not yet begun on the site.
In any case, expansion is a long-term aim. In the meantime, the club, which has to set aside 3,000 seats for away fans, must decide the fairest way to distribute its remaining tickets next season – and that’s easier said than done.