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STEVE BRUCE has blamed hefty ticket prices after the lowest attendance figures for almost a decade were recorded against Southampton today and called on Newcastle United to do all they can to entice supporters back to St James’ Park.
The Magpies’ 3-1 victory was their third in five games and moved into the top half of the Premier League, but only 42,303 were there to see it — that is around 10,000 short of the stadium’s capacity.
Crowds have been much lower this season compared to previous years, with many fans vowing to stay away in protest against Bruce’s predecessor Rafael Benitez’s summer exit and the club’s owner Mike Ashley.
Bruce believes ticket costs and the added strain on income during the build-up to Christmas led to the sparse turnout against the Saints.
“We may be winning but this is the north-east, and I can say it because I’m from here, it is tough for people at Christmas,” he said.
“Maybe the club can help to bring the supporters back, to give them an incentive. Because I do believe people want to come and watch their team, but sometimes can’t afford it. It is difficult for people.”
“This is a pricey industry and maybe there is something we can do.”
Newcastle are currently seven points clear of the relegation zone, and after a difficult start to the season, Bruce believes a sell-out is all that is missing.
“We’re going great at the minute, the spirit amongst everybody is terrific and hopefully we can get a full St James’ Park for the next game.”
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