Speaking in an interview in the run up to Newcastle United’s away match against Manchester City, he began by reassuring “traditionalists” who may be upset that it would still be the same place, that at least the Gallowgate End would still be there, and we could still have our tradition of walking to the Stadium (shouldn’t that be “Arena” now?) saying:
“For the traditionalists amongst our fans, I think it’s something they are upset at.
“But it is still in the same place and it’s still the Gallowgate End and we still have your tradition of walking to the stadium from the centre of town. It’s there where it is.
Emphasising the financial gain should anyone eventually decide to take over from Sports Direct, who have once again generously agreed to allow their name to be used at no cost to “showcase” the benefits of being being mired in controversy and local emnity, he then continued:
“On the other side of the coin, of course, commercially, it will attract a big sponsor, we hope, and give us extra revenue to go forward.
“I can understand the arguments on both sides. For me and the playing staff, of course, it is our home and we love playing there.
“We have done very, very well there this season and we hope to continue that and really, it hasn’t affected us too much if I am honest.
He then concluded with a hope that fans will “understand” that the club needs to “move on,” saying that we will still be in our seats, enjoying the memories of the stadium when it was called “St James’ Park”:
“Well I just think it’s like anything, people are not particularly keen on change you know.
“You get comfy in what you see, what you know around you and lots of things change. Sponsorships on the shirts, you know, Barcelona have a sponsor when they never really had one before.
“Clubs have to move on and I hope our fans understand that. But as I asy, they’ll still be in their same seats roaring us on.
“The memories of that stadium are still there, and that’s important. When you move grounds, that’s a little bit different.
Thankyou Alan, that was most enlightening and helps us to understand the situation far more clearly now.
A link to a video of a fuller version of the interview, in which the silver one also looks forward to the Manchester City game is available here.