It all seemed to be behind Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley. Time had healed wounds caused by the departure of Geordie legend Kevin Keegan. Promotion had eased the ignominy of relegation. Alan Pardew’s side has been punching above their weight to be the early surprise package of the Premiership so far, and even Ashley’s drunken striptease had been mostly forgotten. And then he ruined everything.
St James’ Park has hosted football since 1880, and has been the home of Newcastle United, the city’s only professional football club, since 1892. Throughout that entire time, the club came to represent the soul of the city, their most visible and prestigious cultural institution. The stadium, one of the largest in England, became the most tangible symbol of that.
And Mike Ashley has decided to sell off the name.
The venerable St James’ Park, witness to 119 years of Newcastle United highs and lows (admittedly mostly lows, but that’s part of the charm), will henceforth be known by the stirring moniker “Sports Direct Arena,” named after Ashley’s chav-outfitting company. At least until Ashley can find someone to pay him £10million for the privilege of being boycotted on Tyneside. Needless to say, it hasn’t gone down well with the fans, who are trying to find enough cloth to build an effigy of Ashley.
Full Story: The Beeb