Now I can’t speak for all Newcastle fans…
Ok, I’ll brace myself.
Now I can’t speak for all Newcastle fans and a few of the things I’m about to say are hypothetical and rely on things that haven’t happened yet, and indeed may not happen, but take them on board and think about them before passing judgement in the comments below.
This week an article and poll appeared on The Mag, on the subject of what an acceptable price would be to rename St James Park after a prospective takeover. Various amounts of minimum levels of naming rights money were given as options, along with the option of no amount being enough.
When the results were published, a whopping 67% stating clearly that no amount would be acceptable to rename the ground.
Duff and Phelps valued the rights at around £3.6m for the 2017/18 season and I for one feel that this, in theory anyway, is a no-brainer. It’s essentially FREE MONEY.
If the hypothetical company that attained the rights for such a privilege used the term ‘[email protected]’ then £3m+ would be a decent return for a few words in front of what everyone would always call the ground anyway. Like I said, it’s free money.
Mike Ashley did far worse in 2011 when he renamed the ground outright as The S***** D***** Arena, for which I will never forgive him, as it was the biggest two fingers to Newcastle fans and history of Newcastle United he could possibly give, another in a long line of insults to the supporters.
There was no fan consultation (why would he?), he got his company advertised (for free), and didn’t care how many people it annoyed. It still annoys me that I can’t take/see a photo of the East Stand without getting that awful branding in shot.
Now, before anyone starts berating me, I am not advocating going ahead with the renaming of St James Park, especially for such a low fee of £3.6m, as in today’s game that can be made by finishing a couple of places higher up in the league, or appearing on TV an extra few times.
If we were in harsh times though and the game wasn’t awash with money, £3m+ could pay an awful lot of staff employed by the club at the stadium and the training ground, but that isn’t the case, the game is as rich as it could possibly be, it’s just we at Newcastle United don’t see the full benefit of it.
Another pie in the sky thought and I fully admit that this might be a stretch, but say whatever income came from such naming rights went into paying off the supposed debt that the owner has (to himself), then would it be acceptable if he got his money back via this route and in turn bringing the asking price of the club down?
If he were then to clear off, would it be a good thing? Surely a short-term compromise for the greater good?
Sadly, this could be done on the income the club currently receives, yet Ashley doesn’t seem to want to pay off this loan. Why?
The only true fact is, that since Mike Ashley bought the club, he has restricted the club’s revenue streams and only took on advertising that is either free (his own) or toxic (W***a).
The toxic atmosphere that he has created through many, many, many self-inflicted PR own goals and general incompetence will take time for any new owners to reverse but I would imagine that revenue would be one of the first things they would look at and that can only be a good thing going forward.
However, renaming the stadium should be at the back of the list of ways of increasing income.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]