Mike Ashley seems fond of shocking people, and his latest shock is to change the name of St. James’ Park without any discussion whatsoever.
Derek Llambias – tries to explain the renaming of St. James’ Park
That’s what you get to do when you own a football club outright, and if the fans don’t like it – hard cheese.
That’s the way Mike has run the club since he bought it in June of 2007, and he’s very rarely listened to Newcastle fans before making his decisions.
And we don’t want to sound like a broken record, but the fans are Mike’s customers – they are the ones who support his club and pay the money over to watch the home games, and the away games too.
There’s been a bit of a firestorm since it was announced yesterday, and Managing Director Derek LLambias has tried to explain the move on BBC Radio Newcastle:
“I would hope it would generate between £8M and £10M a year,” “That would give us another player. The club needs to be self-sufficient, and this will help us be self-sufficient. Yes, we do need to go that one step further to compete.”
“Yes, we do. You know Chelsea has come out to basically say they are going to re-name their present stadium. Now, they have a long history as well, but they have an owner who actually has more money than God.”
“We can’t compare ourselves to Abramovich, we have not got that sort of money, so if we want to compete with the big boys, we have to bring more money in.”
Llambias has also come out and said the funds raised by the reaming will be reinvested into the club to buynew players, but that rings hollow after we were told the £35M from the Andy Carroll sale would be reinvested into the club.
It hasn’t been – not yet anyway.
Derek talked about the excellent start the team has made to the season:
“We have had an exceptional year, and long may it continue, but the fans want us to buy more players,”
“We need to bring in a striker in January, we will need replacements in the summer and we need to give ourselves as much as possible.”
“There is no guarantee we will find a sponsor between now and then, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity and this is one. We have to keep going at it.”
“We can’t just say ‘Oh, it hasn’t worked out, let’s go back to what we were’. We have to give ourselves the maximum opportunity to sell it.”
“I totally respect the tradition and history of the club,” he said. “That is always going to be there, but we need to move with the times and this is progression. “
“We need to move on. We are not disrespecting our fans at all. Far from it. We are trying to make it affordable and put players on the pitch.”
“We have exhausted all our other revenue streams, retail is not good – that produces next to nothing, quite honestly – so we need to bring in more.”
“We have been out there a long time looking. We lose Northern Rock as a sponsor this year, so it gives me a very small window to get a new shirt sponsor and hopefully a stadium sponsor at the same time.”
“We understand that side of it, if fans continue to call it St. James’ Park, but it is the sponsor’s responsibility, as well as ours, to move forward,” “Time will dissolve that.”
“The history will always be there, we just become part of the history or they become part of the history. We just need to make sure we give ourselves the opportunity.”
We are running a poll to see how fans feel about the renaming of St. James’ Park and you can vote here in the right hand column – one vote per reader.