Newcastle Council have pushed ahead with the decision to sell land at Gallowgate which will help end any chance of future stadium expansion at St. James’ Park.

Councillors on the scrutiny committee had called in the proposals due to concerns but at a meeting on Tuesday the council reaffirmed the decision to sell council owned land which will raise £800,000.

The strip of land is part of the area opposite St. James’ Park and the intention is to build student accommodation, apartments and shops on the area opposite the Gallowgate End. The majority of the land needed is currently leased by Mike Ashley following his deal when he bought the football club in 2007, and he will be the main beneficiary if the development goes ahead.

If the full development happens then it takes any chance away of extending St. James’ Park, where work on the Gallowgate End could take the capacity up to around the 60,000 mark.

With Newcastle getting 50,000 crowds consistently despite the poor football and depression surrounding Mike Ashley’s ownership of the club, it isn’t difficult to see that with a little bit of ambition, a 60,000 capacity could easily be filled.

It is especially disappointing when this move comes at a time when numerous other Premier League clubs including Spurs, West Ham, Liverpool, Everton and Manchester City, are all in the process of extending their current grounds or planning new stadiums with bigger capacities.

Opposing the move, Councillor Greg Stone described yesterday’s meeting as ‘deeply unsatisfactory’ and commented:

“We have not had information about the club and what it means on the development of the stadium. We have not had an answer from the officers on what is the process for planning and development briefs.”

However, from the ruling Labour group, Councillor Ged Bell:

“I want the public to know we have assets in the city and we are trying our best to make the best of the land that we have available within the city. We’ll continue to do that in a transparent way. I feel that the right decision has been made with the limited land available on the site and I’m confident it is the best decision for the city.”

  • Toonbadger

    Ashley makes enough money from tv rights so wont care a jot about the future of the club in as much as he doesn`t need to expand the ground, he is happy with the mugs who pay him week in week out

  • LeazesEnder

    Our club doesn’t seem to have any friends…..anywhere!  Ripped the soul out from within, future sold to the highest developer….. and a local paper produced in Salford’s Media City… Where are Our people….

    ….come on stand up if you Love the Toon!

  • BigAls09

    Freddy Shepherd sold it for £5million a few years back to MGM but deal fell through because Newcastle wasn’t awarded the super casino deal. Can’t remember a public outcry then! Fickle fans

  • Bishbosh11

    Nice move Newcastle Council. They were quick to condemn Ashley and his renaming the stadium but have made no attempt to view the long term prospects of St James’ Park. Disgraceful!

  • mentalman

    An extension to the ground was designed a numbr of years ago which went right down to Gallowgate, Strawberry Place(road) would run under the stand and the metro station was incorporated in the stadium along with turning the existing car park into an underground car park. The design also included leisure facilities including shops, bars and restaurants and conference centres etc.
    It was deemed too expensive and not practical to build such a structure on top of the metro line and station.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    BigAls09 No he didn’t. The Club (Ashley) still owns the lease on the land. MGM Grand Newcastle (Holdings) Ltd is still registered and it’s company address is St James’ Park.

  • No Brainer

    So, we now are starting to find out the truth of the lease for this land. The council have been pushing for the development not sale income of a mere £800,000 but it has been pushing for the land to be developed as it has been estimated that large scale development could lead to a yearly income of £3 million for the rates from such a massive development. 

    I really have no idea why the club or Ashley has not came out and revealed this info to fans it could have saved him an awful lot of bad press but i suppose we have seen for some time that doesn’t bother him.

    It is shameful for the councils staff though to have been the catalyst for this and let the city’s greatest asset become the fall guy.

    Having said that if a continuation of the level seven part of St James was to occur then building itself would not even reach the pavement on the opposite side of the road in front of Nine bar or the club shop.

  • BigAls09

    Check your history the deal was pending approval of MGM getting the super casino bid. But it fell through because Blackpool got it. And nufc had to pay back the money.

  • BigAls09

    It was going to cost £80 million back in 2006 for the expansion.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    BigAls09 Derek Llambias was/is a Director of that company which is still registered to St James’ Park. How can that be if Freddie sold it as you said?

  • Sickandtiredstill

    BigAls09  “The board outlined that it was a potential option but not its only option. It was explained that the club had not pursued expanding onto the site as it did not make commercial sense to outlay approximately £30M – £40M to expand for the sake of an extra 6,000 – 8,000 seats. “

  • Sickandtiredstill

    BigAls09 To clarify. ‘Can also see the land is now part of the MASH ‘group structure’ not just the Club. 

    You were partly correct in that the land was ‘sold’ to a new joint venture – but that included the Club. 

    “The club confirmed that it is public knowledge that the land located beyond Strawberry Place next to St. James’ Metro station is up for sale and confirmed there are two interested parties, which it could not name due to commercial sensitivities. The board stated that the land was sold to a joint venture (the club and American media group, MGM) in 2004 for a casino site and that MA had purchased the land back in 2008 once the casino plan had been scrapped to bring it back into ‘group ownership’, not specifically ‘club ownership’.

  • BigAls09

    In late 2003, preempting the relaxation of the UK gambling laws, the club signed a deal with MGM Mirage to hand over the land above St James Metro station,[25] behind the Gallowgate End, in return for an equity investment, to build a jointly run complex centred on a 1,000-square-foot (93 m2) Super Casino.[26] These plans failed when the proposed number of super casinos was reduced to one in the UK, and in January 2008 £5 million was repaid by the club to MGM.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    BigAls09 My previous comment is direct from the Club. Wikipedia isn’t too accurate.

    It was a JOINT venture at the time – the land was not sold off in it’s entirety to MGM. Ashley bought back the MGM share and now MASH owns it, not NUFC.

  • SGM

    LeazesEnder  Don’t often agree with you, but standing and singing is the only way to protest.

  • Maximus Moose

    by the time Fat Mike`s finished with Nufc the fans wont fill the Gallowgate end never mind an extension

  • newcastle7

    In all honesty throughout our history fifty two thousand capacity is about right. Can not see us needing sixty thousand as most of the people on this site will never go back.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    newcastle7 Super Fan, what history are you talking about? The last time we had 50’000 before the Hall/Shepherd development was  back in 1952. 

    Could easily fill 60,000 seats if there was a team worth watching and one which competing for more than survival.

  • PhilYare

    to raise £800,000!!! probs a fraction of the cash that joe Kinnear earned for NOWT, or llamb**tard or the human t**d wise
    this is absolutely devastating….. all the other clubs will overtake us and our future potential will be completely killed off

  • Alsteads

    Would be nice if some of our ex players and so called celebrity fans knocked together and put some of their cash in to buy it. Yes we would be asking them to part with their own cash but unfortunately due to my love for the toon, a beer and bad women I don’t have £800K. They wouldn’t lose anything over time in the value of the land and it may/could be the start of something?……………..just dreaming………..

  • No Brainer

    Alsteads Its not the 800 grand that is causing this the hurry for development is from the council so they can get their grubby hands on business rates cash from more empty office buildings and some freaky students. They curently get 82K from the parking but expect up to £3m from the rates, as the current will only get a one off payment of around £5m it is obvious that determination is not from them.

  • No Brainer

    newcastle7 They can’t go back most of them live abroad

  • Alsteads

    Absolutely nothing surprises or shocks me any more. It just beats you up to a point your just numb as one thing after another comes out or is exposed.
    Sad thing is we could fill 60,000. We could fill a near 70,000 stadium I reckon under the right leadership/direction.
    Still hanging in ……NUFC for ever!!!