Widespread outrage as Newcastle United criticised for ‘shameful’ random membership ticketing allocation

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Newcastle United have unveiled further details for membership prices and the random allocation process for the season ahead.

Newcastle United fans have branded the club 'shameful' as further details of membership ticketing emerged on Tuesday morning.

Members could be forced to pay up to £77 for a ticket through the random allocation system with the cheapest price coming in at £44.

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The details were unveiled as Newcastle United confirmed a ballot opening date of Wednesday for the Premier League opened against Aston Villa at St James' Park on Saturday, August 12.

The new membership system had already sparked controversy among the fanbase with confusion over the new ballot system, the number of memberships being sold and a lack of a renewal process.

The price of tickets adds insult to injury for Magpies fans, who could be asked to fork out nearly twice the price paid for some Carabao Cup final tickets last year for an average league game at St James' Park. Furious fans demanded Newcastle United go 'back to the drawing board' and re-think the prices labelled 'disgusting', 'wrong' and a 'poor move'.

The North East continues to be one of the areas in the UK most harshly impacted by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

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Data uncovered by NationalWorld in October 2022 showed that the typical cost of monthly housing and utilities in Newcastle had risen to £1,243 a month from £985 in just 12 months. That new figure equated for 31% of two typical household salaries.

The average price of rent in the North East increased by 8% from April to May 2023 according to Zoopla. Meanwhile, the Trussell Trust handed out 29,661 food parcels to those in need over a six-month period in 2022, compared to 7,563 over that same period in 2017.

Newcastle United fans have demanded a rethink of ticket prices (Image: Getty Images)Newcastle United fans have demanded a rethink of ticket prices (Image: Getty Images)
Newcastle United fans have demanded a rethink of ticket prices (Image: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Last season, general adult ticket prices ranged from £25 in the family area to £35 for tickets behind goals/corners. Platinum tickets were priced at £58 for adults. The increase from last campaign’s most expensive £58 to this year’s £77 marks a 33% price rise.

NewcastleWorld reported last year that despite residents in the North East seeing average gross weekly earnings rise from £549 to £579 year-on-year, the impact of inflation meant that households were effectively experience pay cuts of 3.4% with the economy’s current inflation.

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The official Newcastle United ticketing announcement read: "Those members that are successful in the ballot will be contacted by 5 pm on Friday, 4th August, and payment will be processed.

"Seats are allocated randomly so you could be allocated tickets in any area of the stadium with the ticket range of £44 to £74 for an adult ticket (or the applicable concession rate, where applicable).

"Those members who are unsuccessful in the ballot are eligible to purchase any seats put up for re-sale by season ticket holders. Any seats that are put up for re-sale can be viewed and purchased online. They cannot be purchased over the phone or in person."

As an outpouring of disgust appeared on Tuesday morning, the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) has now issued a statement slamming the move from the club. It read: "We are hugely concerned by the update this morning regarding membership ballots for home tickets.

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"Succesful applicants will be randomly allocated seats ranging between £44 and £74, leaving fans with no choice as to the total cost of their ticket. The potential difference in price between categories is significant and is a huge financial worry for many fans during a cost-of-living crisis.

"We share the concerns of our members at what appears to be a blanket approach to the ballot, especially as this is not something which was disclosed previously and fans were not aware of this when purchasing memberships last week."

NUST added that it was seeking 'clarity from the club urgently' on the matter after fans had forked out £37 for adult memberships last week unaware of what was to come.

Reacting online, one fan wrote: "I wouldn't have bought a membership had I known this before, and I am guessing a lot of others wouldn't have either. #NUFC have handled the whole ticketing situation horrifically. I can't justify £74 to watch a single PL match."

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Another added: "First big mistake from new ownership and it has come with one of the most important things, tickets! This new process doesn’t seem right, no choice of seat, big price range and increase from last season and only one week before the game."

In Tuesday's announcement, Newcastle United provided further information on how the ballot system would work with each supporter ID only eligible for a single ticket, with group applications possible to request tickets together.

Fans will be asked to enter credit/debit card details when submitting a ballot application, although no money will be taken by the club at this stage. Once the automated balloting system has allocated a random seat location and price then the fan's charge will automatically be charged the price anywhere between £44 and £74.

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