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Opinion

‘Newcastle United needs minimum 75,000 St James’ Park capacity, or Castle Leazes move up the road’

1 week ago
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The Newcastle United pre-season is all but gone.

We are asking various regular / irregular Mag writers a number of questions ahead of this 2022/23 Premier League season,

The idea to get a wide range of views ahead of this Newcastle United campaign.

A snapshot of what various fans are thinking about what might lie ahead of us all…as well as reflecting on various other NUFC issues.

Next up we have  Greg McPeake (and Chuks McPeake) answering a few…

What is the minimum capacity Newcastle United need moving forward and what is the ideal capacity for the future?

75,000.

Amongst my friends of my age group, many have given up season tickets and had vowed never to go back while Ashley was there.

How many parents would want to take their kids?

Back in the day, how many supporters caught the bug as me and my friends did, turning up, and paying into the terracing with older siblings and parents. If this scenario is true across the region and beyond, then 75,000 is a conservative estimate.

Ideally, I think around 80,000.

If that minimum can’t be achieved at St James Park, are you in favour of building a new stadium on another site?

St James’ is an iconic stadium in the city centre. Considering moving is sacrilege to many. However, a certain realism is required.

Ashley selling the freehold land at the Gallowgate and the council giving planning permission, are simply criminal acts against the club. The listing of Leazes terrace is another issue.

If the stadium can be redeveloped using innovative architectural techniques, then there should be no need to move. If the capacity cannot be increased then the Castle Leazes solution put forward in the John Hall era thirty years ago needs to be revisited. Surely the powers that be will have the insight to see how important a city centre stadium is and the benefits to all the business’ concerned.

An “out of town” solution is not for me having been to many soulless and atmosphere free grounds over the years. City centre location is a must and is part of our culture.

Concerned about Saudi Arabian ownership?

Absolutely! One friend has already stopped talking to me because I will not condemn the Saudi ownership.

However, as long as the British government, both Conservative and Labour (and Royal family) continue to see no reason not to do business with Saudi Arabia, including huge weapons contracts which are being used in real wars (Yemen) and proxy wars (Syria), then a Premier League football club is really insignificant compared.

The Saudi involvement shines a light onto the governance of all football clubs and the complex issues that this raises. Until people with authority and power over such issues stand up and take action, we have what we have.

Not long until the Premier League season kicks off, how happy are you with where Newcastle are currently at ahead of the season?

Very happy. I have not looked forward to a new season like this for more than twenty years. Expect at least two more signings before transfer deadline to strengthen our attacking options.

What do you predict Eddie Howe’s team to be against Nottingham Forest?

Pope, Trippier, Targett, Burn, Botman, Bruno, Joelinton, Longstaff, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Wilson

What is the fairest way to sell season tickets, who, if anybody, should get priority?

Great question!

I do not believe there is a solution that will keep everybody happy. Until the capacity is increased the issue of season tickets will remain unresolved. More season tickets should not be sold in my opinion, which will allow more people to see Newcastle United on a match by match basis. There are thousands of supporters like me (I have lived in London for thirty years and followed Newcastle home and away), these supporters should not be overlooked.

Arsenal regularly have empty seats visible to TV when their game has been switched to a Sunday or Monday night because their season ticket holders can not, or can’t be bothered to, make the effort.

Nick Pope or Martin Dúbravka?

Nick Pope for me, England’s number one.

What is your prediction for the final 2022/23 Premier League table, which positions all 20 clubs will end the season?

1. Man City
2. Liverpool
3. Chelsea
4. Spurs
5. Newcastle
6. Arsenal
7. Man U
8. West Ham
9. Wolves
10. Leicester
11. Aston Villa
12. Brighton
13. Crystal Palace
14. Everton
15. Southampton
16. Brentford ,
17. Notts Forest
18. Leeds
19. Fulham
20. Bournemouth

(League table compiled by my son Chuks McPeake)

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