PRESS RELEASE: On behalf of a coalition of Newcastle United supporters under the banner NUFCFANSUTD 

Today Newcastle United supporters gather near their beloved stadium in a way that could be mistaken as a funeral.  They are here though, not to mourn the loss of St James’ Park, but to celebrate over 120 years of history that has seen generations of fans experience every single emotion supporting their team; worshipping in their own “cathedral on the hill”. 

It is already clear from those within football, the media and wider population, that there is a willingness for it to remain St James’ Park. Fans, civic leaders, MP’s, prominent media figures, publishers and broadcasters are all behind the retention of St James’ Park.  This fine stadium, with so many years of tradition - associated with iconic players, matches and moments in the history of football - should not be sullied by tasteless commercialism. 

Of course we live in very different times when it comes to finances in football. A look at events at Rangers or Portsmouth in recent weeks is a stark reminder that any income stream that eases financial burden has to be seriously considered and it is presumptuous and inaccurate to assume that supporters of Newcastle United do not understand the significance of that.  However, when it comes to making decisions that run roughshod over history and pay no grace or favour to the heritage of the club and indeed the whole of Tyneside, then this is clearly wrong. Surely the way ahead is not for the club to alienate it’s core customer, but to enter into dialogue with the club’s major income stream; the fans! 

When we are entering a crucial run in, that could see the team achieve way beyond expectation this season, there is a need for the club to show consideration and not take unnecessary and inflammatory actions, which we consider the renaming to be. 

Talk of a potential £10million per season is all well and good (though it appears Mike Ashley has re-branded the club for free) but we consider the name St James’ Park to be intrinsic to our identity and therefore priceless. Dr Joanna Berry of the Newcastle Business School says, “St James’ Park… carries with it such incredibly strong echoes of tradition and heritage and excellence and effort and all those great things. To take the St James’ Park name away and replace it with another one is a very big mistake. You are devaluing the part of the football club brand that really has got associations of excellence. There are different associations with Sports Direct as a brand.”  

NUFC Fans United want to make it clear that once the team is on the pitch they will be our focus.  However, the re-naming issue is not likely to disappear.  Rest assured, there will be more ways in which fans, the people of Tyneside and their representatives will ensure that the name St James’ Park not only lives on, but also is celebrated, embraced and remains for another 120 years. We urge the owner and decision makers within Newcastle United to communicate and enter proper dialogue with supporters. 

Newcastle is always stronger United! Viva St James’ Park! St James’ Park Forever!

www.nufcfansutd.com or Facebook NUFCFansUtd

 

The Prayer of St James' Park 

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to pay tribute to a highly regarded and famous name.........
 
I read from the Book of Revelations ( Chapter 1 Verse 3): "Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand"


Newcastle Fans United is a broad church of opinion, made up of several organisations, fans groups and individuals who wish to express their disgust at the callous disregard shown by Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias in abandoning the name St James' Park. We respect our heritage and tradition and consider the actions taken in converting to the Sports Direct Arena to be sacrilege.


We urge all Newcastle fans to join us and help in our struggle to re-instate the name St James' Park...so that it will continue forever and ever....

Amen.

 
 
The removal of the sign that reads St James’ Park from the walls of the stadium was something we all knew would happen eventually.  The reaction was very predictable and understandable.  And as it already seems from those within football, the media and wider population it will forever be known to the vast majority as St James’ Park, no matter what sign is hung over the door.  No wonder the stadium has already spent over two years ‘showcased’ as “sportsdirect.com@stjames’park” !!  

This sorry episode has proved to be yet another controversial and unpopular move by Mike Ashley and his team.  Many fans feel that by renaming the home of Newcastle United 130 years of history has been simply run roughshod over.  Indeed the timing of this is once again appalling from a regime that seems to have scored more own goals than Gary Bennett and Michael Proctor combined.  Why court controversy on a convenient fixture free weekend when in the Premier League the team is performing beyond expectation?  This is utterly unnecessary and could prove to be an unwelcome distraction as we all look to get behind the team in a crucial run in to the season’s end and with a certain fixture, important to everyone who is black and white, looming on the horizon.  

It is not so much the decision itself that has caused widespread upset but also the insensitivity of its handling and the simple lack of communication with the supporters who do care so much about all aspects of the club and want to see a bright future whilst respecting a tradition that goes back to the Victorian era including the name of the ground, St James’ Park.  It would be wrong to say that all fans object to this, there is always a rich variety of opinion and healthy, intelligent debate amongst the fanbase of NUFC, and it would be wrong to suggest that clinging to a name is more important than securing the future of the club and financial prudence in a time when a club the size of Glasgow Rangers is about to enter administration and Portsmouth FC who also have their roots in Victorian times have sunk into the financial mire for the second time in as many years.  However simply making sure that when a decision is to be made that could create such furore that time is taken to reach out to the support, the very people who pay to come through the turnstiles week in, week out while other clubs struggle to fill their grounds.  

Dialogue and communication with the fans, talking to fans groups and representatives of the support would surely help everyone when it comes to managing sensitive issues and potential inflammatory decisions and it would certainly make understanding each other and the whole decision making process less stressful and potentially damaging for the club, especially at a time when unity and pulling in the same direction is so very important.  NUFC Fans United urge Mr Ashley, Mr Llambias and the senior management team at NUFC to communicate not just with us but with all supporters in as many ways as you can.  We have representatives from a wide range of fans who have an equally varied set of opinions on all matters.  

We have only one item on our agenda.  Communication.  Over to you.
 
 
NUFC Fans United are devastated at the news that Gary Speed has passed away. Condolences and thoughts are with family and friends as we all mourn the premature loss of someone loved and respected by Newcastle United fans all over the world.