Newcastle on course to break Women’s FA Cup attendance record

Newcastle United are on course to set a new attendance record for a Women’s FA Cup fixture prior to the competition’s final when they host fellow fourth tier side Barnsley on Sunday.

The pair meet at St James’ Park in the FA Cup second round – the second time that Newcastle’s women’s team have played at the club’s main stadium this calendar year.

The Lady Magpies hosted Alnwick Town at St James’ Park in May, running out 4-0 winners in front of 22,134 supporters. This was the highest domestic women’s football attendance in England during the 2021/22 season – bettering any WSL figure, despite Newcastle’s tier four status.

The club have announced that over 25,000 tickets have already been sold for Sunday’s fixture, which would be a record for any Women’s FA Cup fixture outside of the final.

“I can’t wait. Initially last year we thought maybe this is the first experience we’ll have and you never know if that will happen again,” Newcastle boss Becky Langley told club media.

“The pride I feel going out there and being the manager for the women’s team for the second time again is just something we’re incredibly excited [about] and I’m incredibly proud of.”

Newcastle only officially took ownership of their women’s team in August 2022; they had previously operated independently with the support of the Newcastle United Foundation.

Following the takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in October 2021, Newcastle director Amanda Staveley has spoken frequently of the club’s ambitions for the women’s team, stating in February of this year that the long-term plan was for the team to turn professional.

“Last year we were almost operating very kind of grassroots style,” Langley added. “When the owners came on board they started to professionalise a couple of things. But it was doing it with a staged approach so it felt light. Now we’ve gone into this season with a much more professional feel about everything.”

Newcastle currently ply their trade in the National League Division One North – three leagues below the WSL – and sit second in the table. Sunday’s opponents Barnsley are currently fourth. The Lady Magpies ran out 1-0 winners when the pair met in the league in October.

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