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Last night's Newcastle v Leeds Championship clash drew a record crowd to St. James' Park

There was a bumper attendance on Tyneside – a sign of the renewed sense of optimism at both clubs.

Image: Owen Humphreys

52,301 FANS TURNED up at St. James’ Park last night to watch Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Leeds United in the Championship – the biggest attendance in the league this season.

Both teams have had excellent campaigns under Rafael Benitez and Garry Monk respectively, with the Magpies closing in on automatic promotion along with leaders Brighton.

For Leeds, the play-offs remain a distinct possibility though five teams are still right in contention for four places.

Both clubs have always had magnificent hardcore support but neither have had much to cheer in recent years.

Newcastle have been relegated twice from the top-flight since 2009 while Leeds haven’t been in the Premier League since 2004, even dropping to the third tier of English football  between 2007 and 2010.

Still, last night says a lot about the current optimism in both places.

The attendance on Friday was higher than when the sides last met in a Premier League encounter thirteen years ago.

On that occasion, 52,130 came through the turnstiles to see Newcastle beat Leeds by a solitary Alan Shearer goal.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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