You may or may not know this, but Newcastle United are having a stellar season. I am not a Newcastle United fan, but I am from Newcastle, and watching them struggle these past few years has been hard. However, this year, for the first time in ages, they appear to have steadied the ship. It’s pretty much a love-in up there in Geordie-land. They’re third in the Premier League, they haven’t lost a game this season, the players have all merged together to create a team that’s nice to watch and, for now, Alan Pardew seems to have all the answers. It even seems as if the hatred for Mike Ashley had started to wane.
Until he decided to re-name St James’ Park. Oh yes, this morning we woke up to the news that St James’ Park is no more and you will now call it the, er… I can’t actually remember what it’s called and I’m not going to go looking, either. It has something to do with Sports Direct and there may be an “Arena” in there somewhere, but I can’t remember its full name. Say all you like about named football stadiums, but you do not go and re-name a stadium that’s hundreds of years old. You can also say what you like about it “just being a football stadium” but, again, that’s not the point. The point is Newcastle United play at St James’ Park. That is its name. That’s always been its name and if Mike Ashley truly reckons Newcastle fans are going to embrace his crappy new name, he’s wrong. Massively wrong.
I can understand if you name a brand new football stadium after an airline or whatever (Emirates Stadium, Etihad Stadium, Amex Stadium and, apparently, the Liberty Stadium (who knew? I certainly didn’t)) but to re-name St James’ Park is just ridiculous. Can you imagine the uproar if the Glazers decided to re-name Old Trafford? I Shudder at the thought. It’s just not the done thing. St James’ Park will never be thought of as its new name, not really. Maybe the Sky Sports News and media crews may have to refer to it as its new name, but you’ll never ever find the fans using its new name. St James’ Park will always be St James’ Park, no matter how hard Mike Ashley tries to name it differently.