Last week we brought you the news that Mike Ashley is attempting to sell the lease on land opposite St James Park, which would then make it impossible to ever increase Newcastle United\’s stadium capacity, no matter what upturn may be around the corner.
Newcastle United bought a long-term lease on the land opposite the Gallowgate End when Hall and Shepherd were in charge, at that time there were plans to potentially build a major complex comprising hotel and super casino, with also an expansion of the Gallowgate that could have sent the capacity up to around the sixty thousand mark.
With NUFC averaging fifty thousand last season when relegation was narrowly avoided and over forty three thousand in the Championship, it isn’t hard to see that if real success came in future years then United could attract way over the current fifty two thousand.
However, Ashley has instead attempted a quick and quiet sale of the land which is thought would raise no more than a couple of million at the very most, with developers potentially building a hotel or student accommodation, instead of the potential of increased St James Park capacity.
In addition, the Chronicle are now reporting that after contacting Nexus (owners of the Metro and who are also the ultimate owners of the land which the club have purchased the long lease from) they have found out that they were totally unaware of the proposed sale of the lease by Newcastle United and nobody from the club had informed them.
A spokesperson for NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) summed it up when describing the club’s behaviour as a total ‘lack of courtesy’.
The fact that the ultimate owners of the land weren’t aware of the attempted sale, underlines the nature of Mike Ashley trying to sell the lease as quietly as possible without attracting attention or publicity.
Don’t think of the here and now, think of future generations of supporters who could potentially be denied the ability to go and see a successful Newcastle United of the future, all for the sake of Mike Ashley grabbing a few extra million at the most now.
Newcastle United were approached by the Chronicle but refused to comment.