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23,000 say no to St James’s Park name change

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Back in October we wrote about Mike Ashley’s decision to sell off St James’s Park’s ‘naming rights’ and offered our full support to angry Magpies. We also predicted there’d be a massive backlash from Newcastle fans against the decision and so it’s proved.

Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) are hosting a petition on their site against the name change which has so far received more than 23,000 signatures. A whopping total we’re sure you’ll agree – well done to all involved.

Click here to sign NUST’s petition opposing the St James’s Park name change.

Unfortunately our original guess that the change wouldn’t go through has proved to be wrong. As we’re sure you’ve read elsewhere Ashley and his chums have decided to rename the ground sportsdirect.com@St James’s Park. Not only have they trampled all over the Toon’s traditions – but they didn’t even get a penny for it since Ashley owns Sports Direct anyway.

Some have even speculated that this move is only temporary and intended to draw the sting so that it’s easier for Ashley and co to find a different sponsor in the future. We wouldn’t be surprised. Regardless, the anger from St James’s hasn’t put off other clubs, such as Chelsea, from exploring the idea either.

While some have argued that this isn’t such an important issue, citing stadiums like Arsenal’s Emirates or Bolton’s Reebok, it should be remembered that these tend to be new builds. Their history is in front of them. Legends, memories and traditions have yet to happen.

It’s not the same as changing the name of somewhere you’ve called home for more than 100 years.

The New York Yankees, who know a thing or two about marketing, actually chose not to sell off their stadium name when they moved in April. While you’d presume they’d be prime candidates to cash in they actually recognised that it’s a false economy.

Sell off the ‘brand’ so cheaply and you lose a little bit of what makes you special in the first place.

NUST are an affiliated FSF group who have recently launch the Yes We Can Campaign which aims to raise funds in order to buy out NUFC. Read more about Yes We Can here.

Read FSF member and NUFC fan Matthew Briggs’ heartbreak on the predicament his club has found itself in here. Subscribe to tfs via this link.

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