Mike Ashley’s attempt to make a quick extra few million from a St James Park land sale, has been called in by Newcastle Council’s Overview and Scrutiny committee.
If the land opposite the Gallowgate End is developed, then it will take away the only realistic way of expanding St. James Park for future generations.
The resentment towards Mike Ashley’s running of the club has caused thousands to stay away, whilst the standard of football has also been generally desperate, despite this over fifty thousand have filled the stadium on all but a few occasions.
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This points clearly to the potential Newcastle United have to fill a much bigger stadium in the future, with even relative success on the pitch meaning United would easily fill a 60,000 seater stadium, the kind of capacity envisaged if the Gallowgate End was developed.
There have been preliminary proposals agreed for a potential 600 bed student development, although there has been no follow up planning application made as yet.
The Chronicle reports that the sale is set to make the council over £800,000 as well as teh millions that Mike Ashley would pocket.
Now though the sale decision will be discussed on Tuesday after the councillors on the ‘Overview and Scrutiny’ committee wrote to the council questioning the wisdom of the sale.
However, at the forefront of the Councillors’ thinking doesn’t appear to be worries about the impact of a sale on Newcastle United fans and the long-term health of the club.
With Councillor Greg Stone saying:
“We want to know what will this mean for the council and Nexus in terms of financial income and what alternatives are being considered for other developments?
“Surely high-spec office space seems more logical in that area and the bigger question, is that the council doesn’t have a policy on city centre student accommodation and there needs to be one.”
A council spokesman confirmed Tuesday’s crucial meeting:
“The decision to dispose of land near to St James Metro station, subject to planning permission, has been called in by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. They will consider the issue next Tuesday.”
Let’s hope that the impact on the future health of Newcastle United is also taken into consideration by our elected representatives, if the ground is full to watch the current rubbish under the tyrant Mike Ashley, just how many would want to go if things were different?
At the same time the NUFC owner is trying to sell off United’s future for a relative pittance, numerous clubs are desperately trying to increase their stadium capacities to help ensure they can compete in the future and get as many fans in as possible.
Newcastle are the third biggest in terms of ground capacity in England at the moment, but Spurs, West Ham, Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton are just some of the clubs either planning, or in the middle of, expanding their stadiums or building brand new ones.