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Newcastle United owners buy back land which will allow expansion of St James’ Park capacity – Massive news

1 year ago
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Newcastle United have made a major breakthrough with their longer-term plans to expand the St James’ Park capacity.

The club owners buying back the land opposite the Gallowgate End, after it was sold off by Mike Ashley.

This land widely accepted as integral to any chance of being able to seriously expand the St James’ Park capacity in the future, with the Gallowgate End of the stadium the one with the potential to be significantly expanded.

It is The Mail who have broken the story and they report that Mehrdad Ghodoussi has led negotiations over the past 12 months to purchase the land and that the deal was finalised this week.

Honestly, for me this is the best possible news regarding what is happening at the club, with demand massively exceeding supply.

Any expansion of capacity won’t happen overnight BUT just to now have the possibility of it returning to the table, is huge.

The Mail say that whilst longer-term development plans are set to take place, this land opposite the Gallowgate End is set to be turned into a fan zone.

A brief recap of what happened previously, though I understand most of you will have heard it many times before.

When Sir John Hall and Freddie Shepherd were in control, Newcastle United bought (in the form of a very long lease) land directly opposite the Gallowgate End. This was with the express intention of at some time in the future that land helping to expand the capacity of St James’ Park.

At the time one idea was to partner with an American casino operator. Plans were drawn up by the club that showed it would be possible to expand St James’ Park to at least 60,000 via a much bigger Gallowgate End of the stadium, which would be part of a development that would include and be linked to, a massive casino with hotel as well etc etc. In 2005 the UK Government had passed legislation that would allow a number of ‘mega casinos’ around the country and this was the potential plan / siting in Newcastle. In the end the Government scrapped the idea before any of these ‘mega casinos’ could be built.

The club was then of course sold in 2007 and as part of the deal to buy Newcastle United, Mike Ashley took control of a number of pieces of land owned by NUFC.

This piece of land opposite the Gallowgate was one of them, Ashley ended up selling the land from the club to himself, then later sold it on to developers for a personal profit.

Despite numerous objections to the plans from Newcastle United fans / local people / other interested parties, Newcastle City Council approved a development to include retail, student accommodation, hotels etc.

Years later, still no work had even started on building anything.

Obviously the economic climate and other factors possibly not going in favour of the development swiftly going ahead.

Whilst in the meantime, the developers went into administration, further complicating / delaying matters.

Only last month, a plan to use millions of pounds of public money to help subsidise getting this development underway at last, was put forward

However, this plan was swiftly withdrawn after opposition from many people, including Chi Onwurah, who (as well as being a Newcastle United fan) is the MP for Newcastle Central, which includes St James’ Park.

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