On Wednesday night last week there was the opportunity to sit in a seat that was not my own and consider spending some time in a more comfortable area of the ground. Now bearing in mind that the club ordinarily sells these tickets for considerable sums, in some cases over a thousand pounds per season, I thought ten pounds was a sensible investment. The East Stand is now the oldest area of the current ground and most in need of a refurbishment, so all I wanted was something better that could enhance my matchday experience.

Upon arrival at the ground I found that we were entering via a different staircase (Platinum North) which although hidden away, had a significantly shorter queue than the main entrance. So far so good. With minimum effort we found our seats and they are still padded which is a bonus. However, the tinge of neglect is everywhere. People had not been in the ground for the best part of two years, so you would have thought the club might have taken the opportunity to sort some of the holes in seats, or replace any missing numbers? Not so it would appear, the little touches were missing.

Cue half-time and our swift return to the bar. Now here I was expecting something a little bit smoother and more slick. Second at the bar to be served, but the lad couldn’t find any Guinness glasses, so fourteen minutes later two lagers and one Guinness arrived. This led to some chat with another one of the barmen. “I’m agency, only got a call a couple of hours ago to come and do this. Think we are mostly agency tonight.” OK, fine giving money into the student economy, but why does the club not have enough permanent employees who either don’t have to go to Dublin for Guinness glasses, or can explain why the club refuses to accept cash (despite cashing up tills – more on this later) and so the agency staff pay on their card, whilst taking cash from the customer and apologising saying they will be sacked if they accept cash.

The club has some pictures of previous stars on the wall, Robert Lee, Ginola and Asprilla closest to us. It was great to see these pictures up, except look a bit closer. The picture is tiny, inside a huge frame. The frame has no glass in it so the Perspex is fitted to the picture. It looks shoddy, it looks cheap, it looks like it belongs in a discount sports store.

I remember in the documentary on Sir Bobby him taking Gary Lineker around the new Milburn Stand, pointing out the door handles and the door frames. Genuine pride in the effort that the club has taken in all areas of the furnishings. But nothing seems to have been done in the intervening twenty years. The paint work is marked and chipped, how much would it cost the club to have three or four painters who went round each week looking for parts like this to be smartened up, I think the owner might be able to stretch, but he just does not care!

The ground is now littered with electrical appliances or points just hanging off things. There are limited pictures of any players since about 2005 in the stadium. It is actually like the land that time forgot, the whole rest of the footballing world moved on from then, we stopped in 2007.

One of the lads who was with us was in the academy at the time the new stand was opened. He was saying that the club used to bring them back for lunch after training, academy players, first team etc. The chairs are the same, the carpet is the same and the whole look of a Travelodge is maintained. Now you could say this is me being snobby. But actually, these are the second best season tickets you can get at Newcastle United and it is no exaggeration to say I imagine they are in the bottom five in the league. Tottenham’s new stadium, the Emirates, Etihad, Anfield will all have better areas for their premium seats. But more worryingly, so will Brighton, Southampton and maybe even Brentford.

The whole experience of the Platinum Club now is for show. But not in the way it used to be where companies might show off their seats at a swanky new stand to prospective clients, but actually not even bothering to paper over the cracks, let’s just hope people don’t notice them. TVs that have been fitted that are smaller than the others, but don’t bother taking the old bracket down, leave it up.

The knight from Durham would not be showing off the place now to Lineker, he’d be too embarrassed, he wouldn’t bring him. We once had a Champions League club, with a manager who believed in the potential of the club and an owner (with his faults) who still backed the idea of pushing forward. We now have none of those things. So why should it be that if I end my long term price deal I pay nearly nine hundred pounds for an ordinary seat to watch a team struggle to stay in the league. We are paying Premier League prices and the owner is paying out peanuts.

Why pay for platinum and get bruised tin?

STEPHEN ORD – @smord84