After much anticipation and build-up, Newcastle United are set to begin their first ever full season since the takeover by a Saudi Arabian consortium back in October.
Over the next two windows, the Magpies have made fine use of the deep pockets of their new owners and have brought in promising names such as Bruno Guimaraes, Kieran Trippier, Sven Botman and Nick Pope.
The club have also matched this competitive squad with an ambitious young coach in Eddie Howe, who is set to start a Premier League campaign with Newcastle for the first time.
After the club narrowly missed out on a top-half finish last season, armed with these new signings Newcastle are expected to better their finishing position and perhaps even fight for the Conference League or Europa League slots.
This certainly appears to be the expectation amongst supporters of the club who have turned up in large numbers for the club’s first pre-season fixture that was held on home turf.
As Newcastle players returned to their home stadium on Friday to face Serie A side, Atalanta, St. James’ Park witnessed more than 40,000 spectators fill up the stands to create an electrifying atmosphere that would put Champions League nights at many stadiums to shame.
As per reports, more than 84,000 tickets were sold for the Magpies friendly fixtures against Atalanta and Athletic Club, the latter being scheduled to be held on Saturday.
Those that turned up on Friday were thoroughly in high spirits as supporters were spotted singing along to the Beetles’ hit track “Hey Jude” as per tradition just ahead of kick-off.
The sea of black and white in the stands were not left disappointed as Newcastle emerged as 1-0 victors after Chris Wood converted a spot-kick to take the lead in the first half. Moreover, in a game where clear chances came in short supply, the Newcastle defence stood resolute against the Italian attack throughout the match.
Even as the action on the pitch endured dull spells, fans of the club continued to cheer Eddie Howe’s team on and treated the fixture almost as a cup final.
One senior Newcastle supporter appears to have led the cheering from the front in spectacular fashion as he was spotted speeding across the length of the East Stand on an electrically-powered wheelchair while hoisting a black and white chequered Magpies flag.
With this public show of love for the club ahead of the season, officials in Newcastle would be hoping that the turnout only continues in this fashion throughout the upcoming Premier League season.
Moreover, this pre-season display has also come at a time when rumours of a possible renovation of St. James’ Park have emerged from sources close to the club. If successful, the redevelopment of the stadium would rapidly increase seating capacity from 52,459 to at least 90,000 as per reports.
Following the reception at the stadium on Friday, Newcastle’s new owners would surely be loving the support from the fanbase and it looks like St James’ Park is set to only attract more Magpies supporters in the future.