Saturday 10 December 2016

Council snubs stadium name change

Published 21/01/2012 | 04:13

There has been strong opposition to the renaming of Newcastle United's ground
There has been strong opposition to the renaming of Newcastle United's ground

Politicians have urged the media not to call Newcastle United's stadium the Sports Direct Arena.

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Club owner Mike Ashley was told he would receive no support from Newcastle City Council for his decision to rename St James' Park.

The council has written to news organisations asking for their support after Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors united to pass a motion opposing the decision after the name change was announced in November.

They called on the sportswear tycoon to reconsider, and refused to change street signs in the city from St James' Park to Sports Direct Arena.

The motion, passed at a meeting of the full council, also committed city officers to write to media organisations asking for their support.

The letter said: "The motion requests that the city council write to the media and asks that they continue to use the name of St James' Park in all reporting and refuse to use the name Sports Direct Arena. We respectfully request that you take this approach.

"For its part, the city council has taken the decision not to change any wayfinding signs which bear the name St James' Park, and calls on the club to reconsider their decision.

"We would ask that you acknowledge the strength of opposition among Newcastle fans against changing the name of the stadium and continue to call it St James' Park in all reporting."

Newcastle United refused to comment.

St James' Park has been the home of Newcastle since 1892. The stadium will be called the Sports Direct Arena until a new global sponsor can be found, in a move club bosses say will bring money to the club. Derek Llambias, the club's managing director, said it could generate up to £10 million a year.

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