In response, the club have decided to offer eligible supporters a free half-season ticket in a bid to improve attendances, as per the Toon Army’s official website.
“The biggest things owners panic about are results and crowd numbers.
“So quite often they can’t do too much about results, but with crowd numbers and getting the team well-supported, you can at times do something about that.
“And that’s clearly what they’re trying to do.”
Whether or not this ploy from the board works or not remains to be seen, but certainly there will be a fair few Toon supporters who are justifiably suspicious of this apparent olive branch. At the end of the day, Mike Ashley and his men are not the most popular people on Tyneside at all, and anything remotely positive that they try and do is always going to vetted for an ulterior motive. In this case, it is clear that the board are desperately trying to do something about home attendances that, at times, have been fairly dire this season. Not only does that affect match day revenue, but it also makes things look bad for the watching world, and if there’s one thing Mike Ashley prides himself on, it seems to be maintaining a facade, or at least as much of a smokescreen as possible. This move could lead to a spike in supporters, of course, but equally, don’t be surprised to see it fall flat on its face.