IT WON’T have escaped your notice that this is a massive week for Newport County AFC as they prepare to welcome Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur to Rodney Parade in the FA Cup fourth round.

The installation of temporary stands at either end of the pitch will mean the capacity is extended to close to 10,000.

Thousands of fans have queued for hours on end in the cold and the rain to make sure of their place inside the ground.

And Friday’s League Two clash with Crawley Town attracted a crowd of 5,741 with around 3,000 extra fans in attendance in the hope of bagging a ticket for the Spurs tie.

During the game there were reports of some long-term supporters voicing their displeasure at these so-called ‘plastic fans’ jumping on the Exiles bandwagon.

‘Where were you when we were ****?’ was the chant from a small minority.

Pictures of fans queueing at the ticket office have been met with dismissive comments from some hard-core supporters along the lines of ‘we won’t see this lot after Spurs’.

And the campaign to ‘turn the city black and amber’ has led a few sceptics to question why the council is suddenly showing an interest in the Newport’s premier football club.

I can understand the misgivings, particularly if you’re a fan who has stuck with the club through the hard times of the last 30 years and beyond.

But anyone with the best interests of County at heart should be welcoming these new fans and the increased attention from all quarters with open arms.

If the club is to grow and progress then they need all the support they can get.

After the old club went to the wall in 1989 a whole generation of supporters was lost and only a fraction of the fan-base remained for the 25-year battle back to the Football League.

South Wales Argus:

Manager Michael Flynn expressed the hope that the victory over Leeds United and the excitement of Spurs’ visit could help the club win back those lost fans.

“My phone hasn’t stopped since the draw and the amount of media attention this has created means it could help us grab a generation of fans back,” said the boss.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved with Newport. I can’t remember the last time it was this exciting and let’s hope it continues.

“Everybody can see the buzz around the club,” he added.

“I think it’s rejuvenated the club, if I’m honest, and it’s given everybody belief around the city and given the players the belief that they are good players and we are a good team.

“There hasn’t been that buzz for a while. I’m a Newport fan as well and there’s been no buzz since Justin [Edinburgh] left, really.”

Flynn was full of praise for the fans on Friday night and he hopes many will keep coming if they like what they see at Rodney Parade.

“We want to keep the crowds going up and gradually rising, getting that average attendance up,” he said.

“I know the reasons why a lot of them were here [on Friday] but fair play to them for turning up and being part of a big occasion.

“Hopefully it won’t be the only one this season.”

Operational chairman Gavin Foxall is also optimistic that this week will boost the Exiles’ profile and make attending games a much more attractive prospect.

“We had 7,500 here for the final game of last season and we had a decent crowd against Chesterfield [in August] as well,” said Foxall.

“And I think that galvanises the city because it’s great to be attached to success.

“We’re enjoying success at the moment and hopefully that will inspire a next generation of fans who don’t just want to come to the big games, who want to keep coming.

“Rodney Parade have done a cracking job in preparing for the match and we want people to come to a safe and comfortable environment and enjoy the occasion so they will come back week in and week out.”

So, rather than make newcomers feel unwanted, it’s every County supporter’s duty to welcome the fair-weather fans.

Embrace the bandwagon-jumpers and enjoy the fact that your club is the centre of attention this week with millions watching on BT Sport and Match of the Day and listening in on BBC Radio 5Live.

If only 10 per cent of the new fans catch the County bug then it will all be worthwhile and it can only help Flynn and his team after they put the Tottenham tie behind them and focus on their number one priority of fighting for promotion in May.