A man has been charged with criminal damage after writing graffiti at Newcastle United’s ground just before 2:00 am in the morning.
The graffiti before club officials removed it yesterday morning
The famous St. James’ Park sign was removed by workmen on Thursday to the anger of Newcastle fans, and gaudy and cheap looking red and blue Sports Direct Arena signs are currently on show and they look so cheap.
Newcastle officials say it’s only a temporary measure, and they are hoping to get a sponsor for the naming rights of the ground, but no success as yet.
Michael Atkinson, 29, was arrested early Friday morning as he wrote St. James’ in white paint on the wall that once had the black letters showing St. James’ Park.
Michael said he had walked to the ground from his home about two miles away, because he was so upset at Mike Ashley’s decision to change the name of the club’s famous ground, which has been Newcastle’s home for 120 years.
But it seems prestige and great history mean nothing when they are up against the mighty dollar.
Atkinson is unemployed and lives in Newbiggin Hall, and he was a little inebriated after drinking 8 cans of beer on Thursday night, and he had this to say after his arrest:
“I got so angry at Mike Ashley. I couldn’t believe they had waited so long to do this after selling the naming rights last year.”
“I couldn’t believe that they were doing it in broad daylight. It’s such an iconic name, and Ashley is just out to promote his own business.”
“People on Facebook were saying someone should go and put a new sign on the stadium once it had been taken down and I thought why not.”
“I’d had eight cans of Fosters, so I decided I was going to make a stand and speak for all N e w c a s t l e fans.”
“I started to paint the letters on but after only two minutes, I was spotted by a police riot van and they asked me what I was doing.”
“A security guard from Newcastle United then came out and I just held my hands up straight away.”
We must admit it looks like Ashley is simply using Newcastle to promote his Sports Direct franchise, because when the matches come on TV, all you see are Sports Direct signs all over the place – and it’s a small wonder they are not on the shirts – they seem to be everywhere else.
A Northumbria police spokesman had this to say:
“At 1.57am a man was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage after a wall was spray painted at the Newcastle United ground.”
“Michael Atkinson, 29, was charged with criminal damage and will appear before Newcastle magistrates on March 7.”
We don’t know whether the new uproar over the renaming of St. James Park will affect Mike Ashley at all or his decision on the naming rights.
But if history is any guide it will not, and of course Ashley will never ever win any popularity contests in Newcastle, whatever success he has with the Tyneside club.
Mike comes across as a hard-nosed businessman, who has no appreciation or respect of the history of the great club he bought in the summer of 2007, and I’ll not even mention that he never speaks to the fans – which after all are his customers.
And lest we forget here is what it all used to look like – and we never see this again.
And we don’t know how how Michael Atkinson will fare in court, and we suppose if depends on whether the magistrates are Newcastle fans or not. 😀