The BBC’s hypocrisy on St James’ Park rename beggars belief

Posted on January 21st, 2012 | 36 Comments |

St James' Park forever!
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As some of you may know Newcastle City Council have written to “the media” in that London, asking it to desist from using the name “S_____ D_____ A____” for the home of Newcastle United, and return to referring to it by its correct name, St James’ Park.

This comes after Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors came together to pass a motion opposing Mike Ashley’s decision to rename the stadium after his tacky and disreputable sportswear company, and their subsequent refusal to rename street signs in the area. The council’s letter read:

“Dear Editor,

At a recent meeting of Newcastle City Council there was overwhelming criticism of the decision by Newcastle United Football Club to rename St James’ Park the S_____ D_____ A____.

As you will recall, the club’s announcement in November was met with widespread opposition from fans who felt it was a change too far.

A notice of motion that was debated, amended and carried unanimously at full council is enclosed.

The motion requests that the City Council write to the media and asks that they continue to use the name of St James’ Park in all reporting and refuse to use the name S_____ D_____ A____. We respectfully request that you take this approach.

For its part, the City Council has taken the decision not to change any wayfinding signs which bear the name St James’ Park, and calls on the club to reconsider their decision.

We would ask that you acknowledge the strength of opposition among Newcastle fans against changing the name of the stadium and continue to call it St James’ Park in all reporting.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Nick Forbes

Leader of Newcastle City Council

Councillor David Faulkner

Leader of the Opposition”

However the BBC, an organisation which is funded by license payers so it can allegedly remain “indpendent” and free from the tacky world of commerce and advertising have decided that the commercial interests of sportswear retailer Sports Direct, who have paid aproximately £40,000 for the rights to rename the stadium for an indefinite period, must override the concerns of a the great majority of those who help to fund its services in the Tyneside area, as well as those of their democratically elected representatives. Their statement in reaction to the Council’s media missive read:

“As of 10 November, the Sports Direct Arena became the official name for the ground as chosen by the club.

“It is not the BBC’s place, as an impartial public broadcaster to decide or debate on whether this is correct or not, rather to report on the matches which take place on the field.

“Changing the way we display the graphics or refer to the ground on our programmes ensures consistency with every other ground which has a sponsor, be it new grounds that came with a sponsor like the Emirates, or old grounds that have changed their names like Bradford City’s Coral Windows Stadium (formerly Valley Parade).”

Meanwhile, Newcastle United declibed to comment.

Of course, with the intervention of Newcastle City Council, it could be said that this is “political interference.” However whatever the moves from the council and whatever the examples cited by the BBC, they aren’t supposed to “do” advertising anyway (see above). They once refused to play The Kinks’ 1970 hit “Lola” because it contained just one example of the brand name “Coca Cola,” which was subsequently changed to “Cherry Cola” to receive airplay from the Corporation. I remember watching “Blue Peter” as a child, where the almost ubiquitous empty washing up bottles to create a replica of a Saturn 5 space rocket, a submarine or practically anything were always scrupulously taped over to hide the brand name on the bottle. However things are different now and the BBC has sadly become something of a law unto itself. It has long since completely compromised the integrity of its original vision through through advertising, whether it is for Sports Direct, Coral Windows or indeed any other brand in this fashion.

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NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1093 articles on this blog.

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36 Responses

  1. I know I am probably going to get stick for this but I think that he has the right to name the ground if he wants and the council should stay out of it. I understand the feelings about changing it but it is done now, Ashley is obviously happy because he is spending money again.

    I want to see the club back challenging for things and if the sacrifice is the ground name to go towards that goal then it is a small price. Supporters can go on calling it St James Park it does not matter in the grand scheme.

    And as for the BBC they are now based in Manchester so don’t make this another embarrassing cockney thing, and as for sponsorship they have no concerns using for example The Etihad, The Emirates, The Reebok etc.

  2. £40,000 for indefinite naming rights???

    Mmm….the answer (surely) is for the fans to buy back the naming rights for a similar sum? So if every fan at the next home game pledges a pound there’s £50k to the club, and the start of a form of fan stakeholding Mr Ashley’s astute (but occasionally misfiring) business brain might for once respect! We could even do it once a season, indeed ‘Saint James’ Pound’ could become as well known as the King’s shilling?

    The fans can then have there own sign back up in perpetuity on the stand ‘St James’ Park’ and underneath the city motto ‘Fortiter Defendit Triumphans’ (triumphing from a brave defence).

    Business acumen is one thing, but not everything can be for sale. A point our owner has not yet sussed, so we’ll have to humour him on this occasion.

  3. Spotlight Kid says:
    January 21, 2012 at 8:34 am

    “£40,000 for indefinite naming rights???

    Mmm….the answer (surely) is for the fans to buy back the naming rights for a similar sum?”

    That would probably cover the cost of the signage Spotlight Kid. It would cost anyone else around £10 million per annum according to Derek Llambias, which is several times the going rate if you look at recent examples such as Arsenal or Borussia Dortmund. Stadium naming rights usually go for much less than shirt sponsorship.

  4. Ashley himself has stated that he doesn’t care what people call the stadium – it’s still officially the SDA – so what’s the problem with calling it SJP? he doesn’t have a problem with it so why should anyone else?

  5. well 1stly im loving the S________D_______A haha the name who shall not be named lol like HP ^^

    anyway personally i think selling the name isnt a bad thing it brings vital cash that we need to get the books balanced which is great coz there isnt many teams out there doing that!

    plus who cares what they call it its still gonna be st james’ park for us! so let them have the money invest wisely in another cracking wel say £10 we could get 2-3 with the way we’re going with the scouting business! and then we’ve got our selves a great team again!

  6. It would cost the 50,000 fans approx £200 per year if they wanted to buy the naming right for £10m & change it back to St James Park.. now I’d be willing to do that if they could find another 49,999 fans to join in too..

    The problem is, I’m not sure 49,999 other fans would want to pay that out every year on top of paying for a ST or match day tickets..

    Btw, I wasn’t able to sign the partition but thats probably because I’m not in the UK & the links won’t work :(

  7. In this age, any club wanting to improve themselves needs to increase its income, the most profitable way of doing that is through sponsorship (minimal outlay costs), even the big clubs are doing it, if the board can bring in £10m per annum then I am all for it, after all that would cover an Aly Cissokko or a Jan Vertogen (excuse the spelling). At the end of the day, it is and always be St. James’ Park to me and mine, sponsorship will come and go, and we need to remember that is all it is.

  8. Toon69 says:
    January 21, 2012 at 9:28 am

    “Btw, I wasn’t able to sign the partition but thats probably because I’m not in the UK & the links won’t work”

    I think that the site is just offline at the moment for some reason Toon69, it isn’t working in the UK either.

  9. We need to rise above it as no matter what is said or done MA will do whatever he likes anyway & we’ll just look like whingers & moaners again. Look, the signs still say SJP, if you listen to radio or watch TV throughout the week and indeed on matchdays you will hear to the stadium referred to as SJP and SDA depending on who is talking. Shearer working for the BBC will always refer to it as SJP (two fingers up to MA & the his employers there). I along with many others said at the time the search for a sponsor for the stadium will be unsuccessful and MA will continue to reap the rewards from free advertising of which the club wont see a penny, something It stinks but that’s where we are and the more we moan about it the less chance of someone else wanting to come in & sponsor the stadium & we’ll be stuck with a sponsor that pays us naught for the privilege. I wonder if Virgin had re-named the stadium & paid another £20m for the rights whether there would be as much of an uproar?

  10. magpie4ever @ 10

    Ashley is a very successful and astute businessman and is almost certainly aware of how emotional and attached the locals are to the stadium. And so when he announced sponsorship and name change he knew that there would be an outporing of outrage would generate massive free publicity, which it did, for Sports Direct without having to spend a penny with an advertising agency.

    Ashley is no different to Branson. Branson came up and got himself photographed with some of our players and created a lot of ballyhoo for Virgin Money but Virgin Group itself are a minor shareholder in the purchase of Northern Rock. Like Ashley and Sports Direct, Branson got a lot of publicity for the Virgin brand without lashing out too much money.

  11. It’s always going to be St James’ Park.

    But, as the club is a commodity that can be bought and sold any new owner will be tempted to change its name to promote whatever business creates the wealth for that owner.

    We have to live with it, I’m afraid.

  12. I am 52 years of age, having supported Newcastle since my first memory, I believe Mike Ashley is not perfect but the running of the club is now starting to fall into place. We are buying and selling players to best effect. The ground will always be St James Park to me and many of us. All I would say is get over this naming rights issue, if it means we make more millions that can be re-invested that’s all that matters. All that matters is we are successful and continue to be viable in a financially driven sport.

  13. the ground is owned by newcastle council and leased to the football club. hence the pitch or field as the bbc refer is owned by the council and the structures are owned by the football club. so the team play on st james park watched by supporters sitting in the s…. d…. a….
    so the bbc should refer to st james park

  14. 12 Kamar says:
    January 21, 2012 at 10:18 am
    magpie4ever @ 10

    “but Virgin Group itself are a minor shareholder in the purchase of Northern Rock.”

    I think you’d find that Virgin Money is a minor part of the global brand Virgin Group, which ranges from mobile telephony to transportation, travel, financial services, media, music and fitness.. it has more than 300 branded companies worldwide, employing approximately 50,000 people, in 30 countries, global branded revenues in 2009 exceeded £11.5 billion :) –

  15. Toon69 @ 17

    Virgin Group is not one the club’s sponsors.

    I think you will find that Virgin Money like many of the other Virgin companies are not wholly owned by Virgin Group. Virgin Group own the brand but are not sole owners of the companies.

  16. Kamar – No Virgin Group don’t sponsor the club, it’s Virgin Money who’re one of 300+ companies setup by the Virgin group world wide… check out this link it tell you all about them & I think you’ll find that ‘Virgin Money’ comes under the umbrella of ‘Financial Services’ provided by the Virgin Group ;)

  17. Kamar – check out this link, it tells you all about the company –

    I think you’ll find that Virgin money, who sponsors the club are a subsidiary branch of Virgin Group, which as I pointed out in my previous post is a global company with a global revenue of over £11b…

    Worky, my last post didn’t show up, don’t know why??

  18. Kamar – check out this link, it tells you all about the company –

    I think you’ll find that Virgin money, who sponsors the club are a subsidiary financial branch of Virgin Group, which as I pointed out in my previous post is a global company with a global revenue of over £11b in 2009…

  19. Toon69 says:
    January 21, 2012 at 11:32 am

    “Worky, I’ve tried posting 2 replies to Kamar & neither have shown up, why????”

    I’m just looking now Toon69.

  20. Sorted now Toon.

    Don’t know what happened there exactly but if you do one which doesn’t go through, then you do another one that’s almost the same, sometimes it can be intepreted as spam.

  21. Sports Direct disgusts me.
    Just hope while he is here he spends as much money as possible to sweeten the blow.
    He won’t be here forever and hopefully future owners will give the ground back its real name.

    3 points today please…I have predicted a 1-1.

    BBC impartial haha Big Brother Corporation.

  22. I didn’t realise that The ground was still City Council owned. Nice to think that no matter what the Clubs owners intentions were, that St James Park will probably endure as a football stadium. It would take a massive political armegeddon type political cataclysm to see the end of football there.

    Not that I am one of the doomsayers who think Ashley is hell bent on ruining the club but even if he was just an assett stripper it is unlikely that the club would ever just fold under any owner.

    3-1 to us today, I feel a confidence in the team I haven’t felt for decades. Hope thats not a hex type thing I have just done. :)

  23. For gods sake every body, when will you realise that the renaming and finances were a ploy by Ashley simply to change the name to his own company and nowt else. We will NOT get a penny of ANY income as it will go straight to Ashley-every penny! He’s a greedy liar and that will never change. He couldn’t give a damn about our feelings or about nufc as its only a cash cow for him towards sd and nowt else.
    I’m glad the council have taken that stance as it shows how they’ve listened to the public opinion and how they themselves feel about our heritage getting thrown down the gutter yet again by Ashley.
    We hate that man with a passion and the only way he might start redeeming himself is if he renounced the free advertising he’s getting (OUR stadiums covered!) and reverted back to the name of St James’ Park. There’s not one company out there who will take the renaming on as they all know it’s a poison chalice and Ashley knows this-hence yet more free advertising!

  24. puretoon says:
    January 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    “For gods sake every body, when will you realise that the renaming and finances were a ploy by Ashley simply to change the name to his own company and nowt else.”

    That’s more or less what I wrote in my stories at the time it happened puretoon. Everything in my research, including talking to someone I know who works in marketing seem to confirm it. Have you ever seen a Mel Brooks film called “The Producers” where they stage a Broadway musical about Hitler which was designed to fail from the start? That’s what this awful rename reminded me of!

    “It’s springtime for Hitler and Germany…”

  25. sandybaz says:
    January 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    “Everyone who has ever supported NUFC it will ALWAYS be ST JAMES PARK end of.”

    You’d be surprised sandybaz.

  26. I can’t remember them calling it @ ST JAMES PARK, so I wonder what’s changed?

  27. Just a thought. Why not get the bbc to call it TAFKASP. It worked so well for Prince when he went off on one.

    The Area Formally Known As St james’ Park…