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Top man from The Times explains why St James Park is one of top places to watch sport in the UK

2 years ago
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We all love St James Park.

As Newcastle fans, we might not feel particularly lucky in many respects, but our stadium is one to cherish.

Unlike so many others, Newcastle United still play in the same historic location, over 125 years and counting.

Almost half of current Premier League clubs have moved stadiums in modern times, whilst down the divisions, the likes of local ‘rivals’ Sunderland and Middlesbrough have also swapped their traditional homes for characterless generic new homes.

It is of course not just the actual stadium and the fact St James Park hasn’t been ditched, that we celebrate.

It is the pretty much unique nature of its location.

Right in the heart of the city centre, literally hundreds of places to social and eat and/or drink in, within five to ten minutes walk of the ground.

As Newcastle supporters, we all love it when visiting fans of other clubs speak well of our city, people and stadium, apart from the obligatory mention of how many stairs there are up to the away end.

It is equally good when you hear a respected journalist like Henry Winter speak so positively about St James Park.

He is Chief Football Writer at The Times and has consistently given great coverage to Newcastle United and the fans, openly speaking out in support of their battle to rid the club of Mike Ashley.

Asked to write about the very best places to watch sport in the UK, Henry Winter hasn’t let us down.

Hopefully we will have the players once again some day to match the venue.

Henry Winter picks out St James Park as journalists from The Times select ‘The 50 Best Places to Watch Sport in the UK & Ireland in 2019‘:

“Walking up from Newcastle Central station, perhaps via a detour through the magnificent Centurion bar near the exit, is one of the great journeys to any ground, weaving through the ginnels, hearing excited voices through open doors to all the many watering holes on the climb up the hill.

“The stadium dominates the city landscape just as it shapes the emotions of the residents and supplicants.

“The Strawberry pub is always worth a visit, and many gather at the Sir Bobby Robson statue or past the Alan Shearer statue.

“Noise is guaranteed, as fans put aside their dislike of the owner Mike Ashley to get behind those in the black-and-white shirts.

“The roar from the Gallowgate and other parts of the ground when Newcastle attack is something special, and the sheer joy when Newcastle score is almost visceral in its intensity.

“It’s a ground used to disappointment in recent years but driven by hope and a desire simply to see the players do justice to the shirt.”

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