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Expand St.James’ Park?

8 years ago
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The debate about increasing the size of SJP has been showing signs of life again in recent times, particularly after the increased level of interest during last season’s epic showing in the Premier League.

My own view is that it’s unnecessary, given that the capacity is only generally max-ed out five or six times a season – games such as this weekend’s one against s*nderland. For all the other PL matches there are generally tickets left over – although admittedly only one or two thousand a time.

I may also add that there’s a certain ‘turkey voting for Christmas’ aspect to it for me, personally, as the most likely place to suffer the upheaval of adding an extra tier this time around is my own seating area. The thought of being ‘in the Gallowgate End in the rain’ may be great in a purely nostalgic sense, but not something I really hoped to experience again after 1994!

What got me thinking, however, was the spectacle of two fans in the ticket office asking about derby match tickets – lads that it transpired were neither members nor season ticket holders – as I waited in the queue to buy mine for the Benfica home leg. They were quite obviously disappointed to be told that, even though they were only ineligible to buy tickets until the following Monday, there were unlikely to be any left by the time they went on general sale.

While we’re obviously a long way from the situation we were in in the nineties, when every game was a sell-out with only a 36,000 capacity, is it now time to expand so that everyone that wants to, can get in – even if it’s just for the very biggest matches?

Such are the issues when you have a big ground that you can actually fill!

In each issue of The Mag, the author, Leazes Park Ender (AKA David Punton), has a monthly column – read his latest piece in our new issue – available from any north east newsagents, or order single copies & subscriptions online below.

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