Managing Director Lee Charnley

Yesterday, Newcastle United made around 10,000 “half” extra season tickets available to existing season ticket holders on a first come, first served basis. Cue an online scramble by thousands of fans looking to take advantage of this early christmas present.

The tickets were quickly snapped up and enable the new holders to watch every home game remaining this season, from Everton on 28th December for nothing.

The decision to offer the free tickets seems to have come following a relatively poor (for United, anyway) crowd of 42,303 in last weekend’s home match against Southampton, even though the match wasn’t being televised – although “christmas shopping with the missus” might have played a part?

So why did Lee Charnley, managing director, make this decision?

Quotes from Mr Charnley point to Steve Bruce and the players wanting to see a full St James’ Park roar them on for the remaining home games – as this makes a big difference to the atmosphere in the ground and encourages the players to give their best.

Lee Charnley also cited wanting to reward the season ticket holders who have stayed loyal to the club and continued to support the team during turbulent times following Rafa’s unpopular departure.

However, I think most fans doubt that this decision was made without the blessing of owner Mike Ashley – and as such, questions are being raised on social media about his possible motives, such is the distrust of the owner. Questions like, is the concern more about Sports Direct adverts plastered all over the ground not looking as good when there are blocks of empty seats on view, as matches are beamed live in the UK and around the world on TV?

Some comments also point to the embarrassment and shame attached to our club as a result, and fans of other clubs having the opportunity to point and giggle at our famous fanbase as the story of “having to give away free tickets” goes viral.

There has, however, also been other negative reaction from some United fans. The most relevant criticism I have seen is obviously around how people who have paid full whack for their tickets or are paying a monthly direct debit will feel when somebody else sits down next to them and hasn’t paid a penny.

On the surface though, it seems like a genuine attempt to “put bums on seats” at the cathedral on the hill, and I doubt if anyone who gets one of these tickets is going to be upset!

Please feel free to add your own thoughts below.

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below.

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