Friday, 18 November 2011

Everything Must Go

I was getting the impression that it was all going far too well up in Newcastle.....

The Toon army are sitting pretty at 3rd in the table, only 1 point behind Manchester United and boasting one of the best defences in the land, concedding only 8 goals all season. However, the dark overlord that is Mike Ashley has threatened to throw a giant money shaped spanner into the works.
Newcastle United have in the last week announced that St James Park, which will now be known as the Sports Direct Arena, a move aimed at prospective companies who are willing to make an investment to the club to the tune of around £10 million per year in exchange for the naming rights of the stadium.

This is a practice that has been particularly prevalent with our Trans-Atlantic bretheren for many years. Not only has this been pretty vital in the development of the now blossoming MLS, but it has also bestowed upon us some of the most humorous stadium names that you are ever likely to hear (see Dallas FC's Pizza Hut park, and the magnificent Dick's sporting goods park, home of the Collorado Rapids)
However, the practice of stadium soul-selling has become more and more popular back on our own shores, possibly as an antidote of the self inflicted wound that is huge hemorrhaging wage bills amongst the country's top clubs.
Manchester City and Arsenal have tied up multi million pound deals in the last years for stadium naming rights, and York City magnificently renamed their stadium "KitKat Crescent", possibly in exchange for a bag of confectionery rather than a bag of cash.

Newcastle will need to tread carefully in these kind of dealings. The Geordie fans are not the keenest to "outsiders" messing with their baby, as seen with there quest for the removal of the so called "Cockney Mafia". I'm sure it will be pointed out, as it always is, by every pundit in Britain, that Newcastle fans are the most passionate in the land and that "football is a religion / way of life". As much as this cliché is wheeled out, there is some truth in it, and Newcastle fans do generally feel that what is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.