Derek Llambias moved to allay fear and anger with Newcastle fans on Mike Ashley’s pronouncement to sell naming rights to St James’ Park.
Ashley announced his plans last week after also confirming he would not be selling the Coca-Cola Championship club but it has met with universal opposition.
However, the Newcastle managing director has attempted to alleviate the anger by insisting the name of St James’ Park would not be sacrificed.
Llambias told Sky Sports News yesterday:
“We are just looking to explore and maximise all our revenues.” “We’ve got a great opportunity at the moment because our sponsorships are coming to an end. So we have a kit sponsor, we have shirt sponsors and then we have stadium right sponsors.”
“So our intention is to put a package together that would include for instance stadium rights with a jumbo screen included in that sponsorship, which is great for the fans as well.”
“Our intention is to have – for instance sportsdirect.com@ St James’ Park.”
“We were never going to lose St James’ Park, it was always going to be @ St James’ Park.” “The Gallowgate has already got sportsdirect.com.”
“We are going to follow that through and take it to the rest of the season as a showcase to whoever is out there who would like to buy the package.”
Newcastle fans have reacted negatively, to say the least, to plans to change the name of the hallowed stadium at Newcastle, referred to as the Cathedral on the Hill by the great Sir Bobby Robson, our former legendary manager.
But Llambias says that he and Mike are very well aware of the fans’ concern, and continued:
“Of course we do. We know the history, it’s incredible history. There is an incredible passion with the fans and there is an ownership to it.”
“So we understand St James’ Park – the history is wonderful. We are not trying to take that away, we are just trying to add something to the revenue and status of our club.”
We would like to see the name of the stadium stay unchanged – and we would hope the owner would look at ways of getting extra revenue (for players) from things like the sponsorship of a giant screen – which is agreat idea.
Or even a sponsor who would agree to leave the stadium name unchanged and be able to advertise in other ways – maybe through the large screen – or even with something like St. James’ Park – presented by JoeBlowCompany.
Maybe it’s something like St James Park – presented by Tesco – although that still sounds a bit cheesy – but you know what we mean – see the picture above – that would look OK.
Something creative would need to be worked out – so yes – Mike And Derek would need to bring in somebody who had creativity in that area. Even if it halves the money the club would get – that would be a good compromise, and it would keep Newcastle fasn – Mike’s customers after all – happy.
If Mike kept the name unchanged that would go down well, very well, with Newcastle fans, and it may even decrease the animosity felt towards the owner – but only by a little bit. 😀