Newcastle fans chat to a steward

Newcastle United fans are being urged to build on their reputation as some of the most vocal and best behaved fans in European football this Thursday when another huge knock-out tie brings the continental spotlight down on St. James' Park.

The Magpies entertain Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in the second leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie following last week's goalless first leg in Moscow, with the winner edging into the last eight of the competition and getting another step closer to a potentially huge day out at May's final in Amsterdam.

Newcastle fans have gained a glowing reputation amongst football authorities after showing exemplary behaviour across the club's past European adventures, travelling home and away to cities across the continent in their tens of thousands without incident.

But they have seen that reputation undermined this season after a number of safety breaches including pitch incursions and antisocial behaviour during previous Europa League games at St. James' Park.

Club officials are now urging fans to get that reputation back on track this Thursday by showing their support in the right spirit - giving Alan Pardew's side a significant home advantage over their visitors in the process.

Steve Storey, head of safety at Newcastle United, said: "We're looking forward to a huge night at St. James' Park on Thursday. We're asking fans to come out in big numbers with big voices and to express their support in the right way.

"The club has a long history of excellent support in European football. Our fans are known for their exceptional behaviour on the big occasion and by staying within the guidelines that are set for their benefit, they could play a massive role in what could be a really memorable occasion for us all."

The club has been hit with a number of financial penalties by UEFA - the game's European governing body - following incidents recorded during earlier rounds of the Europa League competition this season, with a small minority of fans breaking ground regulations and, in turn, the law.

Fines of increasing severity are now also pending after fans used flares and smoke canisters and entered the field during last month's visit by Metalist Kharkiv.

Despite seeing its match day costs spiral as a result, the club has once again slashed prices to fill the St. James' Park stands - but is warning those thinking of flouting regulations to strongly think again or face the consequences.

Steve added: "We've never fallen foul where UEFA are concerned before this season. Our fans have rightly been recognised as exemplary and they have proven that it doesn't take items such as flares, which are banned, to make an incredible atmosphere.

"Sadly, a small element has acted in a manner in previous rounds - and particularly in the last Europa League game here against Metalist - which has threatened to damage that reputation. Not only have they endangered safety, they've also made coming to the match very uncomfortable for law-abiding fans directly around them and spoilt it for the majority.

"We're working hard to combat all types of antisocial behaviour in and around St. James' Park. It's simply not welcome and make no mistake; there will be bans for offenders and further action taken by the police.

"We're asking fans to arrive early on Thursday as there will be additional searches as a knock-on effect, as well as increased stewarding and increased policing. We hope the outcome will be that people remember Thursday for all the right reasons and we can all look forward to another huge European tie in weeks to come."

To purchase tickets now from just £15 for adults and only £5 for juniors and avoid the queues, simply call 0844 392 1892, visit the Box Office at the stadium store or visit www.nufc.co.uk/tickets.