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Opinion

‘We need to talk about St James’ Park – I love it, I really do, but we have to grow’

2 months ago
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One day, Saudi Arabia PIF will no longer want to play with their new toy.

It is going to happen, just like it did at AC Milan with Berlusconi, the seven times European champions, the team of Kaka and Van Basten, who were scurrying around and failed to get the funds for a 35 million pound player, and also have an ageing dilapidated stadium.

Just like Everton’s owner wants out, having blown half a billion and having nothing to show for it, other than surviving for another year with an ageing stadium.

I love St. James’ Park, I really do, but we have to grow.

We need to reach our potential, we need to be self-sufficient, being able to generate enough income to keep us going for when the party is over, because once we are sold, the large sponsorship deals from the Middle East will miraculously cease.

Manure spent £1.2 billion on players since Fergie left and they have nothing to show for it, but the stadium revenue alone for Manure, would have generated over £900 million if it wasn’t for Covid, over that 10 year period.

Tottenham generates over £94.5 million from matchday receipts alone.

We are constricted by FFP but not on funding for a new stadium, we should at least acknowledge the benefits:

We would get more fans in the stadium, I mean currently at St James’ Park, who do we choose to miss out – our dads, sons, brothers, sisters, best mates, mams, nans, grandads, our partners?

We need to look at the reality of how many will be missing out if things remain as they are, even with an increase to 70,00 it will not be enough.

Newcastle United is not and never has been about the haves and the haves nots, that’s for the Chelseas of this world, not us. It is something we should not lean to, I mean it’s in the name, we are united.

The noise at St. James’ Park is tremendous but we would generate more noise if done correctly. The Arsenal players did not know what hit them in the last game of the season, we could ramp it up by a number of decibels more that could impact the opposition even more…

I ask you to close your eyes, really just close your eyes for a moment, imagine the roar that 80,000 would make, spine tingling, its the kind of feeling that literally makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

We should at the very least ask for four conditions prior to any talk about a new stadium:

One – Stadium acoustics must be incorporated into the design as an absolute priority. The acoustics should be designed first, the stadium designed around the acoustics, not vice versa.

Two – The fans must be as close to the pitch as is physically possible, we don’t need two layers of advertising boards, having the fans as close as possible is much much more important. There is nothing more intimidating to the opposition than having the feeling of the fans right on top of you.

Three – The new stadium must be as close to the city centre as possible, yet still being able to accommodate 80,000, Newcastle United is the heartbeat of the city and it should remain as close as is possible.

Four – A layer of soil from under the St James’ Park pitch should be moved into the new stadium. We take that bit of history with us, not forgetting who we are and the humble beginnings we came from.

With those four conditions guaranteed prior to any talk of a moving, we should with a heavy heart begin to accept the idea of a new stadium.

The biggest asset this club has, is not the stadium or the players, it is the fans. If you moved home with your family, be it a bigger or even smaller home, would you love your family any less? Or would you realise it is not the four walls that makes us want to be there but the people inside that makes you want to be there.

That unity, that dream of belonging that is Newcastle United, will be with us no matter where we go.

Then finally there is the financial benefit of the stadium. It would generate a tremendous amount of revenue and if done correctly, could last well into the next century, our grandchildren would benefit from it, a legacy worthy of leaving behind for those that will follow.

Or to put it another way, the funds generated from a new stadium could have paid for the wages of both Messi and Ronaldo when they were at their very peak and conquering the world.

Envisage in the not too distant future, the two best players on the planet playing for Newcastle United with 80,000 roaring them on, the future, if we want, is ours.

The future if we want it, belongs to us.

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