Leave it out Rodney, we’re in enough trouble as it is!

Posted on November 10th, 2011 | 66 Comments |

Mike Ashley: Shrewd? Or just plain lucky?
Mike Ashley: Shrewd? Or just plain lucky?
I think I am more upset that I’m not as upset as the majority of fans are about the nasty re branding of St James Park.

I was surprised to see the new name as I thought it was going to be blah blah blah @ St James Park, but we all knew this was on the cards and I’m afraid it’s a fact of modern day business winning over football tradition.

Unfortunately the stadium rights are there to be sold and its now a complete package that basically says your name on the roofs, on the inside, on the outside and on the name for the right price (I’m so pleased Ashley doesn’t own Kit Kat as well!) I am gutted but that dominant, mighty fortress and jewel in the Geordie crown will always be St James’s Park to me and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this.

What interests me more is that this seems like Mike Ashley has thought about what hes doing first and finally has a strategy in place for Newcastle United football club. Most entrepreneur’s like him are years in advance when it comes to business strategy and with the timing and leaking of this with things the way they are makes sense as it will probably all have died down come the Manchester City game? It also asks the question do we have a long term plan in place, ie buying cheap players with something to prove, no big contracts, selling players at the right time etc…

This excellent article explains it better than I ever could. Or, is our current league season and structure just down to blind luck on Ashley’s part? It’s an interesting question.

FC.Barcelona, that mighty Spanish giant was stubborn and refused to wear a sponsorship across its beloved strip as it was seen as disrespecting Catalans, but look, now they have sold the rights for a tidy sum and would sell the Nou Camp if the money was right.

So my point is that times change, needs must and with the money now involved in modern day football every blade of grass has its price!

We have to worry about the next game now and just hope that we don’t sell Tiote, Coloccini and the rest in January!


NUFCBlog Author: geordiedug geordiedug has written 8 articles on this blog.

Related Posts:

66 Responses

  1. I’ve said all along that if ‘we’ wanted to control the course of the club then perhaps ‘we’ should’ve got off our arses, created a business empire, became billionaires and bought the club – hmmmm, that should upset at least someone….

  2. If this is what the club has to do to generate more money then I’m all for it. It is a shame to lose the historic name ‘St James Park’ however football fans will still call it St James. Advertising in football is shameless as it is and it’s only going to get worse. It will only be a matter of time before kits in the prem will be plasterd all over with sponsors just like in other top leagues in Europe.

  3. Ashley doesnt understand that what we invest in the club over the years he can never match.
    Only football fans understand how it hurts when someone messes with history, Ashley is not a football fan.
    However on a lighter note as the famous booze makers Guinness spiritual home is St James Gate Dublin, perhaps they could become sponsers and the ground could just get a double barrelled name St James Gate @ St James Park anyone!

  4. @ huge de payen
    Agreed. But the club has achieved their object of getting the information out there that the naming rights are for sale. Never mind if it is good or bad press. Everyone is talking about it.

  5. someone suggested earlier Durex as a potential sponsor – I remember a speedway team wearing sponsors Durex bibs visiting Poole Pirates in the 70s & greeted with unprintable cat calls!
    But the surreal bit is that they had a 3 girl ladies team with them (great bike riders) who wore pink overalls with their Durex bibs – awesome!

  6. Belly says: “Agreed. But the club has achieved their object of getting the information out there that the naming rights are for sale. Never mind if it is good or bad press. Everyone is talking about it.

    I would think the marketing departments of most big businesses are perfectly aware of what buying a stadium name means and don’t need it ‘showcased’ to them with the Sports Direct brand.

    The directors of NUFC Ltd (Llambias is one – Ashley isn’t) are duty-bound to get the best deal for their company, so they should be saying to Sports Direct that they want payment for such advertising and getting some money to plough back into NUFC.

    You have to bear in mind that Sports Direct, NUFC and Mike Ashley are all separate and distinct legal entities.

  7. Money to buy a player?? Not when we are so high in the league. When we get into the champions league next year he might buy one. With talent such as Best, Ameobi(s), Perch and Simpson you could argue do we need any.
    ” The Toooooooooon Arena” would be a good name.

  8. @huge de payen
    If you were Ashley and you owned a business and a football club. I’m certain that you would be advertising your business for free at the football club where it is seen by millions of people around the world. It’s a no brainer. He hasn’t become a billionaire by accident. 
    If you want to blame anyone for this it should be Freddie Shepard. He was the one that was clueless and ran the club into the ground. Surely he must have knew that when he sold the club to Ashley, Ashley would try to turn things around to make the club successful financially and therefore make his bank balance bigger. If in future we are consistently finishing in the top four of the prem and competing in the champions league every year all this would be forgotten about. I’d rather support a football club that is financially successful and successful on the pitch than a club always in danger of going under. 
    I think that Newcastle are setting a president with the way they do things by being sensible with money and not spending over the odds for players and players wages. I hope other clubs follow suit. Clubs like man city are destroying the game by throwing ridiculous amounts of money around.  

  9. Don’t agree with the re naming but can understand why its been done and pretty soon all clubs will be selling anything and everything they can due to the financial fair play rules being brought about.

  10. I could see sponsors being squeezed into the names of the clubs like New York Red Bulls for example

    ‘Newcastle United Lucozaders’

  11. Belly @ 16

    Sensible good post Belly.

    Probably not what fans want to hear but the club is now being managed under very different circumstances than when Freddy Shepherd ran it, who nearly ran it into a financial meltdown.

    The current management are trying to turn our club around on the field and on the balance sheet. It will take time but we can now see in performances and in the quality of new players that we are moving in the right direction.

  12. i thought it might have been christmas before fatboy threw a brick in the pond.
    tbh i seen this s***e coming a mile away,ever since he pitched this phoney stadium rename rights in 2009,it was always going to end this way.
    anyone remember the spiel,”we are moving forward,on and off the pitch,with the naming rights for the stadium,up for sale”.
    what was it then? oh yes spotsdirect@stjames,suprise suprise though,no one came in to take up the offer.

    two years later and more and more tacky signs have appeared all over the stadium.
    now because they have had a decent start to the season,this toe rag regime are pressing forward with these plans.
    there have been fans on other boards saying,”we’ll end up with sports direct,on our shirts”,this was inevitable to be fair.

    i just cannot understand why they are lying again,in trying to dress this up as another business oppurtunity.
    in reality ashley was always going to increase his influence,at the club.
    it is more free advertising for him,and nothing more.
    it doesn’t a**e me either way,as the stadium will always be known as “st james’ park”.
    they should not try to pull the wool over the fans eyes,with their s**t,as in two years time,the stadium will still be known as “sports direct arena”,without a sponsor in sight.

  13. Belly, I can understand the renaming if we’re getting something for it but we’re not. It is being used as a platform to push Ashley’s Sports Direct tat under the guise of ‘showcasing’.

    Strictly speaking, Mike Ashley isn’t at fault here – he’s just trying to push his brand. It’s the directors of NUFC Ltd who have a duty to get the best deal for the club and I think by allowing Ashley to advertise Sports Direct for free they have failed to do so.

    This ‘showcasing’ is of course complete tripe. As I said previously, any marketing exec will know the ins and outs of sponsoring a stadium’s name.

    If Llambias couldn’t find a taker at the prices he was asking for sponsorship, he should have reduced his prices until we got a taker so that we at least have some return for NUFC Ltd to pump back into the club. Surely anything is better than the nothing we’re currently getting.

  14. I wonder how many Ashley haters actually bought their new home shirt from the club, or did they buy it from sports direct as it is cheaper??

  15. Belly, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an ‘Ashley-hating’ thing. He’s done good things and bad things for the club and each action should be scrutinised in its own right in my opinion.

    I believe we have a right too. It’s our club. Without fans, NUFC wouldn’t exist.

  16. “someone suggested earlier Durex as a potential sponsor”

    Why not? Sexy football + Durex works for me ;)

  17. Notice how the waters have been deliberately muddied by the two oiks by claiming a new sponsor COULD invest £10m a season. Which immediately gives the impression to some poor souls that Sports Direct have coughed up that much for changing the name :(

    Apart from looking at the next set of financial figures to see how much SD havent put into this club it would be interesting to ask Fatman why he seeks confrontation with the fans on a seemingly regular basis ? Twas about this time of year, give or take a few days, that CH got shafted.

  18. “The club needs to be self-sufficient, and this will help us be self-sufficient, Could help us buy another player ?”

    What, on the never never ?

  19. Said it last night and I’ll say it again.
    Could be worse, could be called the Stadium of Light.

  20. Pretty much par for the course over here. But for some reason, we’ve never put adverts all over our kit.

  21. In al fairness he was neva goin t sell name rights when is was sports direct@st,jamespark as st james is still in the name. sensible busisness doin it this way nw after few month mayb lnga big company will see no st james n feel it tym to pt there name above the dr (so t speak). We will al b prasing him as a hero if he pulls off a deal lik city and end up with couple hundred mill in bank.
    Then money will b invested to buy bigga players n bring long overdue success to newcastle united.

    My only worry is tht it takes a affect on the players n thy start putin on poor performances. And all this. negativity can only do tht. So gt behind the club ffs wer 3rd in league n lookin stable.


  22. RIP football as we knew it. Big Money started creeping into the game several years ago and once it arrived it was never going to go away. The consequences are better quality football and the loss of loyalty. The inevitable has come to NUFC and if we want to be at the top end of the Premiership we just need to grin and bear the negative aspect of money’s influence. For all of us, this hallowed ground can only ever be known as St. James Park, but times move on. I understand there are thoughts to building a new stadium if/when the new Big Money arrives. One final thought: whenever MA and DL do something to piss off the fans we complain like hell. But I have to say, as much as I dislike their affrontery to the fans through an insulting lack of communication, we do always seem to wind up better off than we were.

  23. the councils statment


    says it all for me sjp has been and always will be! even the fat man cant change that!

    now lets get ready to take on that small arab state of manchester city!

    nufc forever SJP FOREVER!

  24. Paul in Hollywood says:

    “The inevitable has come to NUFC and if we want to be at the top end of the Premiership we just need to grin and bear the negative aspect of money’s influence.”

    and yet Paul we hear stuff every day about how this Board is managing to turn the clubs trading position around due to clever buying of cheap players and selling cheap players for lots of dosh blah blah blah.

    So why do we need to grin and bear the negative aspect of money’s influence ?

    This isnt about raising money for the benefit of NUFC and anybody who thinks so is, I’m afraid, naive. This is a pure marketing ploy from Fatman, designed to gain maximum publicity for his company at the expense of the club and the fans, while hiding behind a cloak of subterfuge.

  25. So, I will paint a coca-cola sign on my garage and pay all the revenue received to NUFC player fund. I know exactly how much it will come to
    – exactly the same as the SDA re-brand benefits
    – or to put it another way, twice the square root of frack all !

  26. Can we have a 4th choice on the Poll please = “Will ignore it and always call it St James Park”

  27. SM, if there was a 5th option that said “if we get a sponsor worth £20m/year for 5 or 10 years should be rename the stadium?”, I’d reluctantly vote yes.

    I would rather we didn’t need to rename it at all of course, but if that’s the only way we’re going to raise cash to develop the team I’d put up with it. It can always be renamed back in the future.

    What I object to is that we’re getting nothing for promoting Sports Direct and Ashley’s rubbish about ‘showcasing’ the brand is wearing a bit thin.

  28. Yea it big disappoint bt lets wait c hw things pan out cud cum out of this nicly (3rdish in leafue and with money to spend). As. a said before onlt of team starts to struggle shud we thn gt on fatmans bk. After all finishin high as poss it wot its truly all about.

    ALWAYS ST, JAMES PARK to me tho


  29. Andy Mac @ 32, I appreciate your sentiments. But for you, me, and all of us on this blog and the entire fan base, it will always be referred to as St. James’ Park. The trouble is, none of the above mentioned are billionaires. We don’t think like them. MA is and does, and like it or not, he’s leading (dragging) us into a different world. I’ve kicked and screamed like everyone else about most of the changes he’s brought (inflicted) but at the end of the day, our finances are getting in order, we are to be self-sustaining – not a rich man’s plaything; and we are third in the league.

  30. I agree the “showcase” the brand with Sports Direct to show potential business how it works is utter bollocks.
    It has always been the plan to be sports direct arena.
    They have had 2 years since the idea was hatched to find a sponsor and by now should have a new shirt maker and sponsor lined up.
    Well they already have Lonsdale kits and Sports Direct Branding on the front as predicted by me yonks ago.
    If the rights where sold to a company like say adidas or similar and the mega money was invested in the team then I may be slightly less angry…..but even if it was sold I have no confidence in this board to reinvest an honest sum on players…look at the AC money we have waited 2 windows and still no Big Signings.

  31. sirjasontoon,bang on,he was always going to do this,he’ll be over the moon,when the players take to the field,with sports direct across their chests.
    he’ll have a bunch of young’uns in thailand,knocking up the strips for him,and flogging them to the fans,for fifty nicker a pop.

    i dont like it myself,but you cannot blame the fat c**t,it’s going to save himself a fortune.
    ultimatley he will be the only one who profits from everything,the fans will never see diddly s**t

    all he has to do is get batty man’s fatha on the case,in the hope he’s ganna nab french and dutch talent for next to nowt.

  32. Not so long ago, a Chinese philosopher was asked to comment on the results of the French Revolution. He replied that it was still too soon to tell! It is probably too soon to tell what the full impact will be on NUFC having Mike Ashley as our owner/chairman flogging his gear to a bunch of young ‘uns in Thailand (and elsewhere around the world.) NUFC may have been taken from the heart and roots of its city but, by the same token, it may become an international brand with world-class footballers winning trophies to be placed in our barren, dusty cabinet. Guys, I did say “maybe”…

  33. Can’t see it happening Paul.
    The current position although looking very healthy will in my opinion be very short lived with the current depth of the squad.
    So many bad decisions by this regime has left a permanent bad taste in my mouth,it has now been taken the lunacy a step to far..like I said if a major firm/brand was spending millions on the renaming and it was being pumped into amazing players then I may be less likely to spit blood but the club is being taken for a ride with all the sports direct branding…it is revolting and looks a total mess.

  34. sirjasontoon says:

    November 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    “I agree the “showcase” the brand with Sports Direct to show potential business how it works is utter bollocks.”

    SJT, as I wrote to Andy on the previous blog, if you were a potential sponsor, would the fact that you were taking on Sports Direct’s “sloppy seconds” sponsorshipwise actually enhance the project for you? Or would it denigrate it?

    There are so many other things too which break virtually every rule in the book for this type of sponsorship exercise, and expose it as a lie and a scam, but I’ve pointed them out elsewhere. Sadly some people just don’t seem to get it though. Even after two years and the seeming endless Sports Direct signs / billboards etc, all for free, they just don’t see the crucial differences between this completely bogus scheme and others that have worked successfully at other clubs.

  35. Sir Jason, Big $$$ is taking the whole world for a ride, and has left many things revolting and looking a total mess. Apparantly, it’s called “progress”.

  36. Good post Worky…some things should be left alone.
    This aint progress it’s a cheap billboard to benefit nobody but Mike Ashley.

  37. Some Toon fans are like battered wives who stay with their husbands now. They see no hope, no way out. So instead, they keep ridiculously trying to rationalise all the obvious shite and the lies that are being thrown at them.

  38. I looked at the poll earlier and 39 posts agree with the renaming of the stadium….WTF!!

  39. When we have such outrage shown at global poverty and human injustice around the world, then our world may start moving in a better direction. Lads, it’s a game (albeit enjoyable to watch) played by over-paid young men who themselves are “owned” by the mega-rich. Let’s not loose our perspective here…

  40. Paul

    Quick question.

    Do you agree that we should change the name of SJP to SDA for no money whatsoever ?

  41. Soz maybe thats not the right way to pose that question.

    “Although other companies would be asked for as much as £15 million a year to secure a long term deal to sponsor the club’s shirt and stadium, Ashley does not appear to be paying anything for the same privilege.”

    So Paul renaming the stadium when no money is coming into the club ?

    Yes or No ?

  42. Andy Mac, IF there is no financial benefit to come from this, then there is no good reason in the world to change the name of St. James’ Park, the home of Newcastle United. Personally, I wish – even with money aside – that the name was not being changed. I don’t fully understand why a billionaire is haggling over $5-10 million a year when, to such a person, we are talking about chump change. But these guys are out of my league and out of my world. I understand Abramovich (or whatever he’s called) is equally as tight, or money-orientated. It just seems that this is what Football has become. Owned by the mega-rich. Period. But, as I have been hinting at earlier, it’s just the way of our sad and sorry planet.

  43. Paul in Hollywood says: “IF there is no financial benefit to come from this, then there is no good reason in the world to change the name of St. James’ Park, the home of Newcastle United.”

    Financial benefit for who though? NUFC or Sports Direct?

  44. I could be totally wrong here but I think someone (Worky or Hugh) needs to present a Blog article explaining to everyone that the name changing has taken place without any financial benefit to Newcastle United whatsoever.

    Ten million pounds therefore has not changed hands !

  45. I’ve been wondering when Ashley was going throw a spanner in the works, now I know.

    How can anybody not be outraged that Ashley has renamed St James Park to Sports Direct Arena, after his chavy, shitty, tatty chain of shops.

    How much has Sport Direct paid to the club for all the advertising around ground, sweet FA as far as I can tell.

    I had to laugh at the City Council and their pompous statement re renaming St James Park, they are the stupid sods who gave Ashley planning permission to stick poxy Sport Direct signs everywhere!

  46. Hugh, I think that when we now think of NUFC, we have to think of Sports Direct as well. We’re owned by them and Mike Ashley. With that said, I – maybe naively – think that money going to MA and SD can/will also help NUFC. But all this buggering about from the board has made me much more hands-off. Right now we’re third in the Premiership, we have some great young players, we are not hemorrhaging cash and the future, on the field anyway, looks bright. But let me confess, that as devoted to the club as I have been for the past 40 years, I’m in the States. I watch the games on my computer and while I would love to absorb the atmosphere of SJP, I don’t have to see those dammed annoying, ugly signs sitting in my own home.

  47. Paul in Hollywood says:

    November 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    “Hugh, I think that when we now think of NUFC, we have to think of Sports Direct as well. We’re owned by them and Mike Ashley.”

    We’re owned by Mike Ashley Paul, not by Sports Direct. Sports Direct is a Public Limited Company with many shareholders besides Ashley and is a completely distinct entity. The two should never be confused and the finances should be always be kept completely separate. It’s a very important difference.

  48. Another question Paul (not singling you out btw :) )

    The bloke who owns Liverpool (Henry is it) also owns Boston Red Sox and has a company called New England Sports Ventures.

    Do you think it likely (hypothetical question of course) that he’d ever change the name of Anfield to “New England Sports Ventures” Arena or anything similar ?

  49. Paul, we’re not owned by Sports Direct though.

    NUFC Ltd is owned by St James Holdings Ltd, which in turn is owned by MASH Holdings Ltd.

    MASH Holdings Ltd owns Sports Direct PLC.

    NUFC Ltd is a completely separate legal entity to Sports Direct and the directors responsible for NUFC Ltd are duty bound to get the best for that individual company rather than do favours for a company that just happens to be owned by Mike Ashley.

    If they did indeed want to ‘showcase’ the stadium renaming, they could have dropped their asking price to do so and taken on a sponsor for, say, 2 or 3 years and at least had some money coming into NUFC Ltd.

  50. Hey this isnt “Let’s pick on Paul” night :)

    Sorry Paul just happens you’re coming up with all the right questions.

  51. I buy everything that’s plugged to me in commercials, everything!

    It would be cool if it’s named after something that i don’t buy into yet, cos i ‘officially’ can’t buy it ’til i’ve seen an ad for it.

    I bet the club shop is deein’ a roaring biz on SJP merch right about now.
    Get in now people, they’ll be historic items soon, worth a bomb!

  52. Hey guys, I guess the question then is all about Mike Ashley’s regard for NUFC and whether he gives a toss about our history, tradition, and the feelings of the fans. If so, then I honestly can’t answer that one. I began by thinking he did in the days when he sported a Toon shirt and stood in the crowd drinking beer, but as with all of us, I’ve had my head turned since then. Maybe he doesn’t give a toss about these things and actually has a sadistic streak in him that wants to see us squirm. I don’t know. All I do know is that for all the times he has dumbfounded me, we have in certain ways come out better off. With regard to this latest twist, I evidently do not know enough about the shenanigans that go on behind closed corporate doors to fully answer you. I am a Toon fan. I live in eternal hope…

  53. Paul in Hollywood says:

    “I am a Toon fan. I live in eternal hope”

    Yeah and there’s the rub Paul. We’re all fans who live in hope which make us all susceptible to promises of a new dawn and Fatman knows it !

  54. I dont get it, why are we about to change the name to Sports Direct Stadium ?
    Is Sports Direct going to pay an agreed amount to the club for that privelage ?
    So far, i havent heard that.

    Ermm Paul, you should really stop smoking that shit!, if you really believe the nonsense you are laying on us.

    You know i just dont get it, what ?
    What Ahley is doing?. is he trying o save a buck or what ?
    You know it bothers me to read that some fans are not bothered and in fact are in favor of most of what he does, simply to make a buck ?
    They equate that with an improved NUFC !

    Hey i’m as happy as anyone with our present record and feel we are not far from a top six side.
    Which should by most standards, make me an Ashley fan.
    Sure he has finally started to understand that running a football club is not exactly the retail business, even though it appears that way to some of us (buy cheap sell for an improved price)
    Th question arises are we also about to see, a change in name for Anfield, Stamford Bridge, Old trafford, etc. and what kind of reaction would that generate ?
    Hey all a possibility.
    In which case do we, in fact have an offer, which may improve the financial situation of the club, and if so is there any guarantee it will be invested in the club?
    Doubt it!
    Hey i understand we are talking about a business which has it’s profit and loss column and some sacred cows
    lose their meaning, certainly as far as our owner and his cohorts are concerned.
    But to deliberately antagonise the very fans on who’s money (asses in seats) is a major part of the clubs income, where’s the sense in that ?
    Obviously he does’nt give a damn about the fans and has nothing but distain for them, that is now that he has sold all the cut price tickets etc.
    Guy’s a piece of work and even if he builds a decent team here, he will IMO never be liked or respected, in which case, whats the point of being a subject of distain?

  55. chuck says:

    November 11, 2011 at 5:56 am

    “Hey i’m as happy as anyone with our present record and feel we are not far from a top six side.”

    Chuck, never mind Paul, what kinda shit have you been smoking to bring about this miraculous tranformation? I want some! :-)

  56. Guys, I’m not smoking anything. Gave that up a long time ago! Remember Will Shakespeare: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It’s the same turf, the same ground, it’s still St. James’ Park in essence. It’s just that I’m kind of tired bashing MA. I don’t do the corporate stuff but I don’t cling to the past as if it’s sacrosanct. The same players will run out onto the same pitch and what it’s official name is does not trouble me too much. Like I say, there’s other more important things in the world to worry about.