Former Newcastle Chairman and Life President John Hall, has chimed in on the debate on the re-naming of St. James’ Park.
Sir John Hall – chimes in on the re-naming issue
There has been uproar from the Newcastle fans over the last few days as the famous St. James’ Park black letters have been removed via crow bars by workers last Thursday, and the debate continues to rage as to whether the naming rights should be sold- even for £10M/year.
This is what Sir John Hall said today about the situation:
“What we all have to recognise is that it’s now Mike Ashley’s club and he can do what he wants with it.” “The club is doing quite well and we have to appreciate that we are up there where we never thought we would be.”
“But it comes back to the fact that there are people of my age group who have followed the club for the past 60 or 70 years.” “We’ve grown up with the name St James’ Park so it doesn’t matter what sign is on the outside.”
“It’s probably quite romantic but I would hate to see the sponsors change every few years. Changing time and time again won’t go with the history of Newcastle United.”
“I think Mike Ashley accepts that Sports Direct Arena will never be accepted by most of the fans.” “There are three football clubs in the North East and Newcastle are the oldest.”
“It’s a tribal mentality at the club and they won’t easily accept the name change.”
Most of us will keep talking about the stadium as St. James Park and as we have said before that’s the generic name of the ground in any case, because the name will keep changing – which is really shabby.
One year if could be Google Search Stadium and the next year it could be Boots Park.
We often wonder if Mike Ashley even wants to know what Newcastle fans really think?
In the four and half years he’s owned Newcastle United, Mike doesn’t seem to have listened or even wanted to listen to what the Newcastle fans’ views on anything are.
We’ve always found that very mystifying, because Ashley is a very successful business man, there’s no doubt about that.
So you would have thought he would be good with his customers, and we were always told at IBM to listen to the customer – what do they want?
And while Mike may be good with his Sports Direct customers, it certainly isn’t true at Newcastle United, because he doesn’t seem to care about the fans at all.
It’s not easy to say that – and we wish it weren’t so – but the evidence of the last four years or so, firmly suggests it is true.
We really wish the Newcastle board would admit a fan representative – or have a group of fans they meet with regularly, so that opinions and information could be shared.
It would solve a lot of the problems in communication that Mike Ashley has with his customers at Newcastle United – we can almost guarantee that.