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What happened to the name change @ St James’ Park?

Posted on August 1st, 2010 | 82 Comments |

Where is the money?
Where is the money?
Ok, I apologise if any of you feel that I am covering over old ground here, but it was mentioned the other day by someone and it got me thinking.

Whatever happened to the name change that was supposed to be happening at St James’ Park?

Most of you will know what I am talking about when I mention this, but for those who don’t, I am referring to the decision that was taken by Mike Ashley some time last season to sell off the naming rights to St James’ Park. The theory behind it was purely business, with the aim being to increase revenue coming into the club. Cynics may suggest that the decision to advertise the name change using Ashley’s Sports Direct label was just a ploy to increase awareness in his own brand rather than trying to promote an opportunity for another business to increase their own brand awareness through our club. Anyway, are those plans still in the pipeline, or have they died off?

Like many, I was outraged when the decision was made. St James’ Park is one of the most historic grounds in the country and is a recognised ground throughout the football world. The fact it is still in city centre compliments this as, quite frankly, that has become a rarity with most modern stadiums mainly being built on the outskirts of towns and cities. To change the name of it would also change a part of the fabric of the city.

Alas, despite much outrage at the decision, the SportsDirect.com@StJamesPark stadium was born, but was it all that bad? Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and whilst it made us a bit of a laughing stock for a bit, the furore eventually died down and life got on as normal.

I found that nobody actually referred to SJP as it’s new name, nothing had really changed. Commentators still called it St James’ Park, fans still called it St James’ Park, even Chris Hughton still called it St James’ Park. So given what we know now, would it still be such an outlandish move to offer the sponsorship of the gorund out again?

To tell you the truth, I have about as much idea about whether or not the naming rights are still on offer as you do, but if it is going to increase revenue then why not proceed with it? We already know there won’t be muc of an impact on our image because we had a test drive of what it would be like last season. If we could get a decent wedge for it then why not?

I think it will benefit the club, in fact I can’t see how extra money can’t benefit the club in fairness. Sure, it might not get spent on tranfer fees, but it has to go somewhere. Whether that is on wages, running costs or paying bits off of Ashley’s loan, who cares. Extra money will benefit us in the long run.

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NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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82 Responses

  1. i think it’s basically been shown to have been nowt but a way for fat ash to get his chavvy tat shop’s name in the news for a bit.

    now sales have picked up again in his covered market stalls, it’s all gone a bit quiet.

    i doubt he ever tried to get a sponsor in, he just wanted an excuse to plaster sp…..i can’t even say it. to plater his shithole’s logo all over.

  2. probably free publicity for jabba the gut,or the same old story,no one wants anything to do with ashley.

  3. Regardless of who buys the rights to it or not, it will always be st James park, even long after Ashley decides to sell up and leave.

  4. “Would YOU back a name change at St James’ Park if it benefited the club?”

    ffs man howay, this is old ground, the name wont be changing and owl head has come out and said there is, and never has been the possibility of changing the name.
    It will only be for letter heads etc for corporate business. If this brings in an extra 4 mil a season, bring it on.

  5. The decision has obviously been made NOT to sponsor the stadium just in case it upset some of our ridiculously short sighted, moaning and idiotic supporters.

    The supporters who made the noises last season when it was mooted have won. The club is financially worse off for it.

    The likes of Steve Wraith, Mark Jenson and NUST (Are they still going?) moaing and complaining outside St James’ Park on Sky Sports have managed to to achieve what they wanted.

    Just hope the same people aren’t complaining when we have less money to spend.

    Sad, idealistic, and backward. That’s how I describe the supporters who were against this.

  6. I’m sorry but where do Arsenal play ? and Bolton and Wigan ?

    We’re not the first club to investigate sponsorship for the ground and we won’t be the last. Get a grip people.

  7. Stuart79 says:
    August 1, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    “The likes of Steve Wraith, Mark Jenson and NUST (Are they still going?) moaing and complaining outside St James’ Park on Sky Sports have managed to to achieve what they wanted.”

    They have achieved buggerall, Stuart. If it has failed, it is for other reasons.

  8. AndyMac – But is it not a different kettle of fish? I mean all of those grounds mentione were brand new in fairness.

    I don’t mind it tbh as people will still call it SJP, but doing it with a new ground has much more easiness about it as a new ground hasn’t got 120 years of history in it.

  9. I still stand by my opinion that it was a horrific idea. Anybody can call me backward or tell me to get a grip if they wish. Some things in life are just not for sale.

  10. Aye, just wondered whether you were speculating over my loaded question or the ground renaming rights :lol:

    I guess it could have been, although it seems a strang tactic, to divert something by bringing attention to the club again?

  11. I agree with you bowburn, most of the clubs with brand name stadiums have new stadia, that’s not so bad, but you don’t change the name of an old historic stadium.

  12. The only difference with the likes of arsenal is that they moved to a new stadium, fresh start. If somebody gave us a new 70,000 seater and was willing to whack cash in for the rights to the name I’m sure the opinions of many would change. I can understand and agree with not touching sjp though. Maybe if something slightly more appropriate was chosen, but the proposed idea was to have it sound like an email address for charvas to mail order their tracksuits from.

  13. Toonsy – “I don’t mind it tbh as people will still call it SJP, but doing it with a new ground has much more easiness about it as a new ground hasn’t got 120 years of history in it.”

    Ironic in itself that the same people who complained to this name change continue to complain that the history of this club is not good enough. I get frustrated at teams like Nottingham Forest harking back to their European Cup victories (the dates are either side of their crest!). Football is changing at a rapid pace, and we are in danger of being left behind. Call it Mickey Mouse Park I bet we’d still sell out every week. Howay the lads

  14. Well it worked if all Ashley wanted to do was sell his own brand by saying he was going to change the name because I for one had never heard of SportsDirect.com before he came along, so fair play & if it bring in money for him, which in turn he spends some of it on the club, I can’t say I’m too worried about that :)

    I’ll get me coat on the way out.. ;)

  15. AndyMac – Both count as far as I was aware? I thought both were acceptable? Plus St James’ Park is how the club spell it, and they should know, well I hope so anyway :lol:

  16. AndyMac says:
    August 1, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    “The problem is Toonsy we’re still fighting it out to determine whether it should have an apostrophe or not let alone a different name ?”

    Of course it should have an possessive apostrophe, AndyMac.

  17. toonsy says:
    August 1, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    “Plus St James’ Park is how the club spell it, and they should know, well I hope so anyway”

    Both ‘St James’s Park’ and ‘St James’ Park’ are acceptable, Toonsy.

  18. Jake – Who was complaining? I complained when it first got changed but have got over it now. I’m just saying it’s easier done with a new ground that hasn’t got any history in it compared to SJP which has been our home for well over a century.

  19. I was merely saying that certain factions within our support declared a name change unacceptable, not necessarily pointing the finger at you toonsy.

  20. BBM I agree 100% I said at the time and still do money is not the be all and end all and there should be things in life that mean more than money and should not be for sale.
    I would understand if it was a new ground but its not

  21. This one always bugs me – supposing you owned two companies, one making a mint, the other one losing it like there’s no tomorrow. How can you save tax on the good one’s large profits by legally pumping the excess profits into the poor one ( and therefore keeping the money within your own portfolio rather than the inland revenue ) It’s easy – you sponsor the weaker one by paying well over the odds to have them change the name of their stadium to your successful brand’s name! There is no such animal as a stupid billionaire – end of.

  22. why ‘not in Wigans case’ Andy?……….unless I’m wrong(in which case sorry) but it was brand new and called the jjb,admittedly he changed it to the DW but both names are as bad as each other and still it’s a newish ground with no history.
    Whether you agree with changing the name or not you get we’d get peanuts of a sponsor and would it be spent on players?

  23. Derek Mooney…true but did Ashley actually pay anything for the name change as I’ve never heard a figure mentioned?….just wondering.

  24. I was as distressed when they closed down S&N Brewery over the road….. SJP is interwoven into the culture of the North East… Its not just a ground in the minds of many, its an institution, a hallowed square of green where the hopes and aspirations men, women and children from Berwick to Gateshead are forged or crushed. The name of the ground is not about how much money it can generate or how many people can fit in, at least not in Newcastle. Not where football is akin to religion. Its about going to the church of football, about entering those turnstiles with you badge on yer heart and 50,000 others around you, all with the same intent….. its about PRIDE. Changing the name of the ground wipes away those years of unbridled support, unfaltering hope and loyal purpose for the lads who don the black n white stripes. SJP is a monument, no, a testament, to those who came before us, to those that built Newcastle…. don’t take that away from our history please.

    We are not like other clubs in terms of support. Newcastle is not a mecca for tourists and re-locators from different lands. We have genetic support for our team and we have St. James’ Park.

    (I only wish the yen’n’anny was still on the shirt)

    R.I.P Sir Bobby

  25. Rich – I didn’t think a fee wasn’t involved and it was just done as a showcase to potential new sponsors?

  26. Thats what I thought Toonsy,but showcase are not it was publicity so some money should have been paid to the club imo.

  27. Don’t recall the club saying they were changing the name of the stadium/ground. Only that it would have a sponsor.

    If people cannot accept that then I dunno what’s going on between their ears.

    Suprised at you BBM. Thought you would have seen the emotional insignificance of the overall proposal.

    workyticket says:
    August 1, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    How can you be so sure? I feel it’s been pulled because they didn’t want to rock the boat now that the club is ‘United’.

    Sad really.

  28. richietoon says:
    August 1, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    In fairness to Ashley he has put a fair bit of dosh into the club, so I guess in a way he has paid for the sponsorship – Would be a record sponsorship deal too if it was legit.

  29. Rich – The way I see it is that any extra money into the club is a good thing. Whether it be spent on players or nibbling bits off Ashley’s loan or whatever.

    At the end of the day, if people want rid of Ashley then they will need to get to grips with the fact he will want his money back at some point. I doubt he will write it off. The quicker he gets his cash back then the quicker he can go etc etc.

  30. richietoon says:
    August 1, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Well that’s a different argument all together…

  31. Well IMO Fat Mike has cheapened the club enough with out having the cheap and tacky sportdirect.com shit to go along with it, But then again if it got us another Best or Perch you never know

  32. Stuart79 says:
    August 1, 2010 at 8:43 pm
    Don’t recall the club saying they were changing the name of the stadium/ground. Only that it would have a sponsor

    for once Stu, I completely agree, its such a non story its unbelievable, NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE AND WE WILL GET MONEY FOR IT!

  33. derek mooney says:
    August 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    “It’s easy – you sponsor the weaker one by paying well over the odds to have them change the name of their stadium to your successful brand’s name!”

    Bingo. Possibly, but then, wouldn’t they try to do it as a permanent arrangement? Rather than just one year until someone else stepped in?

  34. ILM – I didn’t mean a complete name change. I meant the continuation of the insertnamehere@StJames’

  35. Well atlest that should be the end of the sportdirect@SJP as it was only till the end of the season and I suppose it could be worse we could get durex as sponsers

  36. Dave – That is almost worth doing domething for.

    “amusing names to go in front of @SJP” :lol:

  37. True Stuart but thats his money he has put in and not SportsDirects.I think he owns about 70% of that so the other 30% are getting free publicity from the club.That’s why I think it should be paid for.He may well have paid for the sponsorship,but if he has I havnt read about it.

    Toonsy,I’ve said all along I believe once he’s got his loan back he’ll sell up and go.They did come out and say the name wouldnt change and that it would only be for the purpose of sponsorship but which company would pay big money without a name change?……….I just want some reasonable cash spent on good quality players.
    What would people prefer St James’ Park and relegation or A sponsors name and top half finish? who knows?

  38. Andy,yeah I realised that when I wrote it,my point was that it was still a new stadium with no history tho…..both names bloody horrible tho DW is just an ego massaging excercise ;-)

  39. well guess what, St James Park is a name, it is part and puzzle of the history of the place itself. you cant change Winston Churchill’s name to Winston sportsDirect eventhough you own his dead body right? there would be a riot man!!!

    anyways eventhough it bring in 10 mil pounds for changing the name, i still say no because St James Park has the right to be called at until appocalypse comes…

  40. Toonsy what about Lonsdale@StJames’ParkStadium or Dunlop@StJames’ParkStadium but I think FatMike+Dekka@StJames’ParkStadium has a better ring to it :)

  41. Richie we could get Tampon@StJames’ParkStadium for the bunch of va*nys running us or if we are going through a bad period this season :)

  42. What can I say Stu? I’m an emotional guy and that’s just one of the things I would never want to spoil.

  43. toonsy says:
    August 1, 2010 at 8:57 pm
    ILM – I didn’t mean a complete name change. I meant the continuation of the insertnamehere@StJames

    ohh I know mate, and it wasn’t a personal dig, however there is a proportion of people who wont take a step back and get all the info before making an informed judgement, they will see ‘name change at St James’ Park’ and will go off on one.

    For me, as I said, the sponsorship, not name change, is a non story, nothings going to change and we will receive money for it, where is the draw back?

  44. AndyMac says:
    August 1, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    “As for Workyticket http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/content/articles/2008/05/30/st_james_apostrophe_feature.shtml it’s just not that simple according to grammarians

    “We would say that the apostrophe needs to be there because it’s the park of St James. But there’s variability,” he said.

    “It’s optional whether you have s apostrophe or s apostrophe s. You can choose either and both are correct.”

    AndyMac, that’s exactly what I was writing. There needs to be an apostrophe because it’s possessive, but there’s variation in that it could be ‘St James” or ‘St James’s’

  45. See, when read, I would say the s’s versions sounds like it has too many letter ‘s’ if you get what I mean? It’s strange… to me anyway.

  46. toonsy says:
    August 1, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    “See, when read, I would say the s’s versions sounds like it has too many letter ’s’ if you get what I mean? It’s strange… to me anyway.”

    Personally, I swing in a different direction as I always write either ‘St James’s’ or ‘Saint James’s’. Both examples, along with ‘St James” are acceptable though.

  47. workyticket says:
    August 1, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    “Personally, I swing in a different direction as I always write either ‘St James’s’ or ‘Saint James’s’. Both examples, along with ‘St James” are acceptable though.”

    8O Whoa there big boy, keep your swinging to yourself :lol:

  48. true Toonsy ;-)

    doesn’t look like the Hoffenheim talks got too far if he played for L’OM tonight then??

  49. Last one before I go;

    Manchester United midfielder Anderson dragged unconscious from burning car moments before it explodes, reports say

    According to reports on Twiiter.

  50. Batty – How you doing fella :)

    I got nothing mate, just an e-mails asking if I want to buy Viagra ;)

  51. iam alreet toonsy hows u ? and as for the viagra may be u should buy in bulk and send some too our players because they will need it too stay up :lol:

  52. As Waddler’s on his jollies,, here’s a little ditty to chew on!

    ‘James Mcfadden and Ashley Williams will sign with Newcastle in the next 48 hours.’

    Before you get carried away, it is from the rumour site.

  53. I’m fine batts, how long has the young’un got before he comes home? End os Sep isn’t it?