'This is NOT a gimmick!': Steve Bruce dismisses criticism of Newcastle United move
Steve Bruce says Newcastle United’s season-ticket giveaway was NOT a PR stunt.
The club this week gave 10,000 half-season tickets away to season-ticket holders.
United’s moved followed comments from Bruce on the 42,303 attendance for last weekend’s home win over Southampton.
Bruce, Newcastle’s head coach, had called on the club to do more so fans can back their team.
Thousands of fans have been staying away this season in protest at Mike Ashley’s ownership, and there were planned boycotts earlier in the season.
Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s game against Burnley at Turf Moor, Bruce said: “I had the same conversation with Lee (Charnley, United’s managing director) after the game. He phoned me within hours.
“On that Monday morning, he told me what they were thinking of doing. It can only be a good thing, surely. The way the response has been we hope we might get some new supporters who have not been before. You might get someone else from the family being a season ticket holder and enjoying the occasion. It can only be a good thing.
“As we have seen in the North East, politics has changed. I think this is a refreshing idea form the club. To give 10,000 tickets away is a great gesture.”
The move was criticised by some fans. Bruce added: “We will always be criticised. But it’s no gimmick. I believe it’s difficult for people to go to a football match. I know for a fact it is. My mates and my brother in particular would find it difficult. I can understand it.”