Mike Ashley’s big, fat, St James’ Park lie?

Posted on February 18th, 2012 | 91 Comments |

St James' Park sign being removed.
Ashley's ninjas move in.
“All this was inspired by the principle – which is quite true within itself – that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”

Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf.

The more the Sports Directification of St James’ Park continues, the more I am reminded of those words by that infamous Austrian troublemaker. It is now over two years and three months since the Stadium renaming project was announced, with Mike Ashley finally removing the last vestige of what was once St James’ Park last Thursday. Despite the ever expanding amount of tacky Sports Direct signage around the stadium, quite a few Geordies still beleive that Mike Ashley is trying desperately to sell the naming right’s of St James’ Park to, as Derek Llambias said in in his own classy and inimitable way, “bring a big chunk o’ money” into the club. They still find it hard to believe that his “showcase” idea is an elaborate Trojan horse, a charade in a naming rights offer which was designed to fail from the start, leaving Sports Direct with full naming rights for the stadium indefinitely with no appreciable financial gain for the club itself.

If anyone had taken the trouble to read the views of virtually everyone in the sponsorship industry on this ludicrous project, some of which I collected in this story, they may well think again. They are the people Ashley will have to impress with his ludicrous offer as they are the ones who advise corporations on potential sponsorship opportunities, but they find it to be risible. Perhaps the most risible of all is the idea that “showcasing” the the renaming of Newcastle United’s home with the name of Sports Direct will actually enhance the offer rather than debase it.

On this, sports marketing journal “Sports marketing & sponsorship intelligence” had this to say:

“Arguably the most bizarre decision made by the club, however, is to brand the stadium as the Sports Direct Arena (named after Mike Ashley’s sports goods company) for a year to showcase the opportunity. What it has showcased to date is the sheer naivety of the club’s board. First, naming rights deals work over a long-term. They are not used for short-term tactical marketing or generating brand awareness but for long-term relationships and brand building.

“Look at naming rights deals around the globe and it is very rare to find any that run for less than five years and most significant examples run for 10 years at minimum. It’s difficult to see how the Sports Direct Arena name can be activated to create a ‘showcase’. There is little time to do anything significant to bring the new name to life, especially with such universal derision among the football, media and marketing communities.

“So what can the board prove to potential sponsors?

“Surely had they wished to demonstrate levels of stadium name awareness and positive resonance, they would have been a lot better basing the marketing on the existing name. What they are inviting now is a comparison between awareness and positive feelings that surround St James’ Park with the results from the change. There is only one way this can go and it won’t be appealing to sponsors.

“The type of major sponsor that the club is targeting will be represented by sophisticated marketing professionals. They already understand how naming rights work and they know how to research the value and potential; they don’t need an irrelevant and counter-productive exercise to help make their decision.”

Mike Ashley has certainly has the means to produce an offering which is much better and more realistic than the one he has, yet he has chosen not to. Instead, he has chosen to break virtually every single rule in the sponsorship book, perhaps deliberately. As every day passes, it seems to become more and more apparent that he simply doesn’t care because he is very happy with things the way they are. After all, his whole raison d’etre in buying the club was to use it as a vehicle to promote Sports Direct. So doesn’t it seem a little nonsensical that he would invest over £130 million in the club, only to let someone else use it as a vehicle to promote their company for £3-5 million per annum? Going on other examples, this is all he could reasonably hope to achieve from such a sale. The £8-10 million figure given by Derek Llambias was pure piffle, and mentioning a figure at all in public before a deal has been agreed flouted yet another cardinal rule of sponsorship.

“They’re unwise to raise expectations of £10 million incremental revenue and creating linkage with new signings – there’s already antagonism amongst fans to the sale of naming rights and Derek Llambias is now preparing a frosty welcome for any sponsor buying in ‘on the cheap’.” Shaun Whatling – Red Mandarin.

For those who would cite the exanple of Manchester City’s deal with Etihad Airways, worth £400 million over 10 years for both stadium and shirt sponsorship, forget about that. That was a family arrangement, a flagrant attempt to flout UEFA’s recent “financial fair play” regulations. A more relevant example would be that of Arsenal’s deal with another middle eastern carrier, Emirates airlines, for which the North London club receive the much smaller sum of around £2.8 million per annum for the right to rename what is perhaps the finest stadium in the Premiership, for a club who have made regular appearences in the Champion’s League for many years now to boot. Of course, this was also a new stadium with none of the associated controversy of desecrating the history of a club, something which will be undoubtedly be a huge turn off for prosepective sponsors in the case of St James’ Park.

This brings us to another argument which seemed to spring up mysteriously out of nowhere, the one which says that Ashley is using his “Sports Direct” company to “take the flak” for a future sponsor. It says that Mike Ashley is initially using the Sports Direct name for the stadium to burn out the opprobrium of we fans, so that when a new, less “gauche” sponsor comes in it would be something we would welcome with open arms as some kind of merciful release, something which would make us forget the erasing of over 120 years of history. Make no mistake, Sports Direct is far more important to Mike Ashley than Newcastle United ever will be. With this in mind, isn’t the idea that he should use his main and most profitable business interest to take “flak” for his secondary one somewhat far fetched? Besides, the very idea that a company such as Nike, Adidas, Virgin or whatever would think that having Sports Direct’s leftovers would actually enhance this dubious project is also far fetched to say the least. Indeed, one of those examples, “Virgin Money,” understandably wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole, despite taking the option of shirt sponsorship for the club. In a sentence, any potential sponsors would want to be associated with the brand of Newcastle United 100%, and the brand of Sports Direct 0%, Ashley’s canard of “showcasing” the sponsorship opportunity with his own cheap and nasty Sports Direct brand is indubitably a hindrance to the project, not a help.

And so we come to the latest chapter in this saga, with Mike Ashley once again cynically taking advantage of the break in fixtures to remove the main St James’ sign and finally replace it with the new name. This is a small but nontheless highly symbolic act which makes takeover of Sports Direct complete. Bearing in mind eveything above and much more, it his highly doubtful that this will change any time soon. The stadium will remain as the “S_____ D_____ A____” for quite some time, the club will receive little or nothing for it, we fans will pipe down eventually, and this will embolden Ashley into telling us even bigger lies in the future.

I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.


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

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91 Responses

  1. I reckon he’ll keep it as the same shitty name for years (or at least until he sells up) because nobody is stupid enough to buy the naming rights.

    Its a tax fiddle for company expenditure. Money , money, money, ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Couldn’t care less about it myself. I’m just trying to enjoy the football and forget about the fat ******* who pretends its his club.

    What a shame we have such a cretin associated with OUR club.

  2. GeordieDan says:
    February 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    “Its a tax fiddle for company expenditure”

    But there’s been no real expenditure GeordieDan, just around £40,000 reportedly, which could well be signage costs.

  3. Its an urban myth to rival the biggest fables in world history such as Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster and Roswell Alien.

    1. Tell the world that naming rights and shirt sponsorship could earn at least £20m a year for the club.
    2. Then sell the shirt sponsorship for allegedly £10m to Virgin Money.
    3. Rename the Stadium to S D A and then let all the poor sap supporters make the assumption that £10m has changed hands.

    Goebbels got nothing on this lot :)

  4. Newcastle united are in the best league and financial position we have been in for years with a bloody good team as well. Why do so many of these blogs frigging winge???? Why????

  5. Exactly. Assumptions immediately appeared around teh webz about 10M changing hands. These were, sadly, predictable.

  6. first things first, going to point out the obvious, anyone noticed Ashley and co always make the announcements when there is a break in football for newcastle? be it england or anything else. Secondly, nufc are in a great position agreed scotty, but i will ‘winge’ about the renaming becuase it will NEVER change while Ashley is in charge. The main reason for this, we might get into europe, the french already recognise us nationally because of our players, if we get into europe then more people will be even more familiar with newcastle, not that a lot arent already. So tv comes calling for the european games, and france, germany, belgium etc all watch matches happening at the s—–D—-A—- (st james’ park). Ashleys company of the same name decides to expand into europe, starting with france of course and lo and behold everyone ineurope knows the name already, easy business transition. That in my opinion is why the greasy fat b*****d is doing it and it will never change.

  7. It’s a fact he wants to push his own tatty brand. Sir John hall said as much in an interview, when he met ashley and his people they said they wanted to expand into new markets with SD and saw buying a club as a good way to do it. We are simply a marketing tool for him and anyone who can’t see it wants new eyes putting in their head. The only reason he’s started to show ambition for the team is he’s realised that getting the team to perform on pitch has benefits for him. First it gets his crappy tat shops more exposure due to his callous branding excercies, and second it keeps the fans quiet because they enjoy the team doing well.

  8. I for one would rather see Coloccini or Tiote in black and white, than care what’s on the walls of St James’s park. It’s nor going to be fir ever, and even if it’s only five quid and a bag of chips it is money for old rope in my eyes. As for the chump who got himself a criminal record over some plastic letters.. I’d rather have a job in the future please.

  9. Worky>

    If “Sports Direct” paid £10million to NUFC, business to business then that’s £10million less profit for “Sports Direct” to pay Corporation tax on.

    Since NUFC doesn’t make a profit, yet, then Fatman’s tax liability is massively reduced.

    Stuff like that is what makes very rich people even richer. Bas#ards. :D

    Hence the reason I think it’ll be the SDA until we’re rid of him.

  10. Wait until Ashley lets this die down as he moves onto the next step of his plan – putting us in red and blue stripes.
    You think it can’t or won’t be done?
    This bloke is capable of anything to get his cheap tatty image across and p**s off us supporters.
    Be afraid – be very afraid.

  11. Who cares? Everyone who matters does & always will call it St James.
    stop whinging and enjoy the fact we are playing well, high into the league, and financially stable (days from following Portsmouth, Rangers etc- we were, so get honest with yourselves). Asley may be a fat cockney bxxxxxd, but he’s our fcb, help owns the club, and bugger me if his plan for the club hasn’t actually worked!

  12. You know, I can find a great number of other things way more important to winge about that have been corrupted by blatent lies and shameless greed. I loved Bill Shankley, and used to be able to imitate his wonderful Scottish accent rather well, but he was wrong when he said football is more important than life and death. It isn’t. It’s a game played for entertainment and skill and which has now become (at the top level) horrifically polluted by the dirty claws of corporate international fat cats. If we wish to take up arms against a sea of troubles, the re-naming of a football stadium should not top our list. And as much as I can understand where Worky is coming from, and I genuinely appreciate his eloquence and intellect on the matter – this is my first introduction to mein kampf – at the end of the day, all that really matters is who plays well on the pitch no matter what they should name the stadium where the fans take their seats. The only way to change it is to take our money elsewhere. A worthwhile charity for example. Maybe the fat cats will then sponsor that.

  13. paul, you kinda just said that the issue is within the sport rather than the ownership i felt, and agree with.

    for me the greed isnt just one persons, the fans want everything. the glory and joy of success and to keep whats always been. i know i do, but openly admit it rather than call someone over weight. not many footy fans have great bmis after all

  14. look am as miffed with the stadium name change as much as any one but look at it this way wot would you rather have the stadium renamed and be in a good financial position with a cracking team and manager thats sitting sixth in the league or would you rather be in man u’s or chelsea’s position were you have some of the best players around but if the owners pull the plug the inland revenue winds the club up coz there crippled with debt honestly a nar he’s shat on our history but it be alot worse just be thankful and proud of the lads we got out on that pitch.

  15. I missed this one when I wrote the piece, but it’s more or less what everyone in the marketing industry is saying, apart from Ashley’s adviser:

    “I think the value of the sponsorship reflects the value of the team,”

    “We’re doing all right at the moment and I think the better you do, the more expensive you have to pitch yourself and the more you should be charging.”

    “I think having already put the Sports Direct brand up there as a sort of ‘to let’ sign makes it more difficult because if you become the sponsor that follows Sports Direct, in a sense you are associating yourself with the brand values of Sports Direct.”

    “These are not necessarily the brand values that a sophisticated, global, aspiring football club would necessarily want.”

    “It is very difficult to inherit somebody else’s brand attributes and that is what happens when you follow somebody else down the partnership route like that.”

    “I think if it had been left as just St James’ Park that 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. You’re putting in great big letters above it the different associations that one has of Sports Direct as a brand.”

    Dr Joanna Berry – Newcastle University Business School

  16. Well well well yet another disaster from the fat odious cnut but nothing will get done about him.
    Spineless fans, 50,000 against 2 cockney Spivs and Spivs win because the Geordies these days have not got Bollocks!

    Yes Mike, anything Mike,Hiya Decka!

  17. ” After all, his whole raison d’etre in buying the club was to use it as a vehicle to promote Sports Direct. So doesn’t it seem a little nonsensical that he would invest over £130 million in the club, only to let someone else use it as a vehicle to promote their company for £3-5 million per annum?” WRONG!!!!!!

    It might well be that this is the ultimate objective – but the short term objective is most likely to find an asset that he could devalue and revalue in a tax efficient way!

    The devaluing of NUFC in 2009 to £60m (ie a sale advertised on the open market that failed – presumably due to the conditions of sale and ongong loan commitment to mike) will have provided some £100m+ in capital gains tax relief from his earlier sales of Sport Direct shares worth £900m (of which he is most likely to be clobberred for £360m by HMRC). He had 6 years from the sale of those Sports Direct shares to make an offsetting capital gains loss (he had 3 years to spare by the time NUFC had been devalued). There is no obligation under tax law on mike to revalue those share upward unless he sells them, no matter how high the rise. Good to know mike’s agenda is now somewhat aliged to us – ie value of the club is generated by performance on the pitch in the main!!

  18. AndyMac says:
    February 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm
    Its an urban myth to rival the biggest fables in world history such as Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster and Roswell Alien.

    for the record andy, roswell was a true story, i seen a moving a few years back proving it was factual. i must admit i thought ant and dec acted great as the main characters.

    paul in hollywood,

    i know there is more to life that football, what what ashley has done is equal to taking your wife out for lunch to talk about business and emblazon her body with tattoos, when you return you see the person you love with someone else name tattooed all over her, on her face, on her bosom and right where the sun doesn’t shine, so it doesn’t matter how much you try to see her in the same way, you never will. then whats worse he employs his evil twin brother to follow you every where saying “huh huh look at what did, huh huh you dont know how nasty we can be”

    St. James Park means everything to us, every rule book has been broken, even marketing marketers are advising to stay away, so it goes to show. mike wants to use this as an “example”, but he is only making us a bad example of how to not do marketing, or just simply making an example of us all, the fat cockney chubs chants are certainly being heard as well as his punishment for doing so. but i’m sure any brand wanting to buy the rights and return the name back will no doubt be worth a fortune.

    paul in Hollywood, can i ask you to do me a big favor???
    head down to Anaheim and tell all the people there how you feel about there baseball team, tell everyone that it doesnt matter that years of history has been changed because the new owner decided to drop the Anaheim name from the team and call them LA instead.

    you will probably be faced with an angry rooten tooten gun toting mob, so its ok hiding away in the USA giving an opinion of passion. but try doing the same there and tell me what the results are, if you are still alive to tell the tail.

    some of us dont have much is life, for some of us the only thing we have is Newcastle united, so for some who have nothing, Newcastle united and St. James Park are everything.

    and i for one appreciate what good ashley has done, but dont appreciate the antagonizing nature by which he has done it.

    dont fall for one second into his “plans” they are nothing more than a campaign for sports direct world domination.

    anyone thinking otherwise is a fool…..

    sports direct will be here until he bloody well dies.

  19. here is a link.

    although it isn’t about football, its is very much “dirty tricks of Hollywood”

    check out the accounting secret at number 6, rings a few bells don’t you think?

  20. Stephen C says:
    “i know there is more to life that football, what what ashley has done is equal to taking your wife out for lunch to talk about business and emblazon her body with tattoos…”
    No, it isn’t Stephen. I love my wife and I love NUFC but I don’t confuse the two.

    And secondly, Stephen C says: “some of us dont have much is life, for some of us the only thing we have is Newcastle united, so for some who have nothing, Newcastle united and St. James Park are everything.”
    Don’t limit yourself Stephen. You acknowledge that Roswell was a true story – Surely, if so, that is worthy of your greater attention. There’s more to life than meets the eye if only we are prepared to look for it. When we do, the naming of football stadiums just doesn’t really matter.

    Lastly, I acknowledge what you say about Anaheim but I pass their stadium every now and then and it’s still got a massive “A” outside for the Anaheim Angels.

    All the best mate.

  21. Paul, firstly you look slightly foolish picking on Stephen C for his Roswell theories as he quotes the Ant & Dec “moving” (sic) as evidence.

    Second, Stephen that movie was shite and shouldn’t

  22. The movie Alien Autopsy should be wiped from human memory in the name of decency.

    Lastly I find the stamping of feet, gnashing of teeth and “oh wally, wally me” over some bloody sign, as mortifying as bloody Geordie Shore.

    We really have very little to complain about compared to the days of Kinnear, Souness,and even Guillit. Grow up, SDA for a year then it’ll be SJP for ever.

  23. yes paul

    but even the A was moved……Why? because they could……

    just goes to show, tradition is nothing to corporate mongrels.

    ive actually been in it, very nice place. loved every minute of orange county.

    on a different note, what happened to those Fullerton police officers who killed that homeless guy?

    and what happened to those two men who battered the dodgers fan half to death?

    and more to the point??? are you looking forward to carmegedon 2: a bridge to far….?

  24. the fat lad will milk this out for as long as possible, using the history of the club and the ground as essentially free advertising for his car-boot sale sports operation.

    he knows fine and well that nobody will pay him £10m to “name” the ground, but he will weave the story that they wont accept any less than that, so he can continue to use it for his own gains F.O.C.

    also remember – there is no such thing as bad publicity to people like this…

  25. I’m sorry but has a ‘Sports Direct Arena’ sign been put up at the ground yet???

    The reason I’m asking is, if it has then all we’re doing here is whinging about something we have no control over…

    If it hasn’t, how the frak do you know that is the reason why the old sign was removed or is it you have crystal balls or summit because for all you or anyone else knows, the SJP sign may have been removed to make room for a new stadium sponsor, someone like ‘Nike Arena’ or ‘O2 Stadium’ etc etc…

    My point is, we’re all jumping the gun yet again, just because something happened that all knew was going to happen back in November when they told us the stadium was being renamed SDA… it’s just another excuse/reason for those who hate Ashley & co with a vengeance to have a go because naff all else has gone wrong for a while…. shame on yous… ;)

    Like some have already said, the team is playing well (in some games), we’re sitting 6th, just 1 pt behind 4th with 2 winnable home games coming up…


  26. Q) how do you stop a billionaire dead in his tracks?

    a) everyone stop going to st james’ park.

  27. Yeah like thats ever gonna happen fella… don’t forget, loads have already paid for their ST’s, he’ll still get the TV revenue & fans will still buy mercs.. so what are the chances every fan in the Toon would not go to watch the team they’ve supported since birth just cause the owner removes a SJP sign????

    Answer: never!!!

  28. Toon69>

    They are 2 very seperate issues:

    1) yes we are doing fantastically well and deserve to be where we are in the league. Even better when we take 6 pts from the next 2 games.


    2) Ashley is a complete bas#ard. He’s been exceptionally lucky to get the success he’s had in such a short time and that all goes down to Pardew/Hughton and the players.(And no it wasn’t shrewd judgement to pick Hughton to get us back here, it was luck, Hughton was the cheapest solution and did what he was told, he just happened to be a far better coach than any of us expected)

    Stop defending someone who has ABSOLUTELY no reason to be defended. He could and would have NUFC playing in the Red and White of Sports Direct anytime he chooses but people like you would think that’s OK would you, just because it gets us a couple more quid?

    Never mind tradition, never mind the image and respect for our club and the world’s best supporters.

    Just let him milk the lot and sell up eh?

    Its staggering how short some people’s memories are. We have had some great recent success and all of a sudden Ashley’s great in some people’s eyes!?!

    Make no mistake he’s laughing at single everyone of you-paying for St James’ park signs in his shops and his £23 hotdogs at the SDA.

    Pathetic man, open your eyes and don’t impose your short-sighted views on the rest of us!

  29. Geordie Dan at 26
    Couldn’t have put it better myself.
    The gullibility of some fans on here and their acceptance of this greedy, uncaring megalomaniac is absolutely unbelievable.
    Do we HAVE to sell our soul for a space in the top 6 of the Premiership?

  30. and NUFC is the only team in the world…
    the only one with complaints…
    the only one with whingers…
    – try trawling round a few big team blog sites lads!

    — you find the same (or worse) old gripes, manager useless, tactics cr@p, players inadequate, owners inept, traditions trampled on, best supporters in the world treated like rubbish, and the future looks grim —

    stop navel gazing lads, we have less to complain about than most, we are haveing a good season for a change – but we are probably too exuberant when we win and too violent when we loose – but that’s football!

    There are things some dislike both on and off the pitch but we are having a good season, better than we dreamed we would, 6th for gowd’s sake! Ending the season with a better team than we started with!

    Do I like Pardew & his tactics? – no, but each week it gets harder to complain about them – he is paid to do it his way (not mine) and its working!
    Do I like Ashley & his methods? – no, but there’s nowt I can do about it (or any other owner in the last 50 years) –

    just think of this

    owners come and owners go
    managers come and managers go
    players come and players go
    but NUFC lasts for ever !


  31. What is perhaps most surprising is that some Geordies just don’t seem to mind being lied to and humiliated any more. So much for this “Geordie pride” thing rhat people keep talking about.

  32. Supermac says:
    February 19, 2012 at 10:54 am

    “but NUFC lasts for ever !”

    Supermac, if you’re in the profession that I think you’re in, then I’m surprised to see you writing that.

    You should know that nothing lasts forever ;-)

  33. michael82 says:
    February 19, 2012 at 2:33 am

    michael82 says:
    February 19, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Michael, I’m sorry that your comments were held in amoderation queue there, I have fixed the problem now.

  34. Worky – I’m an archaeologist – “my career is in ruins” – you’re right of course, nothing lasts for ever, but every generation needs to relearn it anew, but we need the traditions of our roots to shape of dreams of the future.
    Can you imagine not having a coal industry in the NE?
    Can you imagine kids in a museum asking “Dad, what did they do at SJP?”
    But soon enough makem kids will ask “Grand Dad, did we realy build ships here. And what happened at Roker Park?”

    Look upon these works ye mighty and dispair …. nothing remains

  35. Supermac>

    Well there’s a queue of the suckers 20 deep every half-time.

    The £23 was of course a slight exaggeration. They’re really only about a tenner each. :/


    Unfortunately the soul of our club is a liquid asset in Ashley’s greedy eyes. He could use the money in his back pocket alone to cover kind of money we’re talking about in extra sponsorship but he won’t because he’s a greedy ****** who could not care less about any of us or what we think of him.

    The fools who just put up with it as we’ve both said mate only help his cause.

    My Dad took me to St James’s Park when I was a kid 30 years ago. My bairn now is only 2 years old and sadly my Dad is no longer here. I WANT to take my kid to see his 1st match at ST JAMES’S PARK not the @wotsitsportsdirectbullshit.@direct stadium or whatever hell it is!

    It’s about pride of OUR tradition not that morons’ greedy profit margin.

  36. If the bloke has his way you will be watching Lord Ashely’s SportsDirect United at SportsDirect Arena in the city of????

    Yes you guessed it the city of SportsDirect!

    Oh yes, and the city where Ashleys live (formaly Geordies!)

    Gotta Laugh…..

  37. workyticket says:
    “What is perhaps most surprising is that some Geordies just don’t seem to mind being lied to and humiliated any more. So much for this “Geordie pride” thing rhat people keep talking about.”

    Worky, as I was saying before, if we want to show indignation there are far greater global outrages than the (temporary?) renaming of a football stadium. A billionaire outsider has come in and laughs at our sense of tradition when it was sliding into oblivion and he came along and turned it around. He did so in the tough, ruthless world of coroporate finance which has been utterly shredded of any sense of honesty and decency. It’s a corrupt world that goes much deeper than football. You quote Mein Kampf. Try the Bhagavad Gita; at the end of the day, it’s all “maya”, or illusion. There is far more to this experience of life than the entertainment of football, let alone the names of stadiums. But, if we are so attached to St. James’ Park, make Exeter City our second favourite team!

  38. Paul in Hollywood says:
    February 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    “Worky, as I was saying before, if we want to show indignation there are far greater global outrages than the (temporary?) renaming of a football stadium. A billionaire outsider has come in and laughs at our sense of tradition when it was sliding into oblivion and he came along and turned it around.”

    Paul, I really hate that kind of fallacious reasoning and I’m disappointed in you.

    On the finances, You’re obviously just repeating parrot fashion what Ashley’s propaganda machine has been disseminating ever since he took over. As I’ve mentioned many times on these pages, we have actually been in more debt under Ashley than we were when he took over from the previous incumbents. Try subscribing to the club’s annual accounts as I do if you would like a more informed opinion on the club’s finances.

    I once spent several years of my life working full time unpaid raising funds for organisations so that they could “show indignation” about the most serious injustices in society so please don’t try to give me that crap about how I shoud be complaining about things which are more important such as dying bairns and wars, that is one of the lowest kinds of fallacious argument there is, you could use it to justify virtually anything!

    If things such as tradition and the genuine and deeply held feelings of your fellow fans are as unimportant to you as they are to Ashley, what is it that makes you support Newcastle United rather than a more successful team such as Manchester United? Without it’s traditions, a club has no identity.

  39. I can’t think of one off the top of my head, but what we probably need is a fans chant that blatantly includes the words “St James’ Park” in it’s lines (like “The Blaydon Races”).
    That would be something that MA or any other daft new sponsor could never wrestle away from fans and could be used as a powerful lift for the team during games.
    A timely two fingers back at those trying to re-brand our history?

  40. I just wonder if the Fat Controller coulndnt have waited until night time before the signs for St James were ripped down but I guess it got more press coverage more publicity for him too.Thought maybe he was winning some of us over then he pulls this everyone having a good laugh at the toon again.Still like a lot of folks on here being going to games since 76-77 season will ALWAYS be ST JAMES Park no matter what.

  41. estechco says:
    February 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    “Just been sent a picture (albeit blurry) that suggests the SJP banksy has been at it again!”

    Estecho, Is there any chance you could send it in? You could just send a message via our “contact” page and I could send you a reply straight away where you could enclose it as an attachment.

    It quite a while since you’ve been commenting on here, good to hear from you again.

  42. If you all this name change stuff is bad wait until newcastle are playing in the colours of the sports direct blue and red stripes. No more St James’ No more Magpies.

  43. workyticket says:
    February 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    “If things such as tradition and the genuine and deeply held feelings of your fellow fans are as unimportant to you as they are to Ashley, what is it that makes you support Newcastle United rather than a more successful team such as Manchester United? Without it’s traditions, a club has no identity.”

    Worky, if traditions are so important to you, everyone in the team should be a local boy working the rest of the week down the mine. Times change and with them their demands. My simple, sole point has been that football has been taken over, and I use the word “corrupted”, by the global world of corporate finance. Mike Ashley is a part of it and we are foolish to pretend otherwise. For myself, I am learning to detach from it. I have other things more important to concern myself with than what he calls St. James’ Park.

    I am sorry you are disappointed in me for saying as much, but there you go, I am honest. Perhaps it is that which makes me a Toon fan.

  44. What’s in a name-a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
    Anyone who really matters (meaning everyone who supports the team – the important words being “the team”) will always refer to it as SJP and it would take at least one or more likely two generations of supporters to refer to it by any other title, by which time there will have been countless other name changes, so it will never become the SDA on a permanent basis.
    We need to wake up & smell the coffee I’m afraid and whilst we may not approve of some things he has done and no doubt in future will do, the reality is that MA owns Newcastle United, MA owns the players (or at least their contracts), MA owns the facilities, the sooner that is accepted the better I’m afraid, they are his to use in whatever way he and his advisors feel best supports his business interests and it must be realised that Sports Direct will always be more important to him than NUFC. It is his major source of income and you would be hard pressed to find a Sports Direct employee who views MA negatively as he is reknowned in the business world as an employee who “looks after” those who work for him.
    He is a suprememly successful businessman who while he may well “pile em high & sell em cheap”, it makes him a shedload of money and he is to be applauded for building an extremely successful business empire from a beginning of little more than market trade. Were it not for the perceived misdeeds at NUFC, he is the type of entrepreneur that Britain would normally sing the praises of – and whether you like him or not that is a simple fact!
    Wheter we approve or not football (and particularly successful football) is no longer the “property” of the man in the street, while we may still think of NUFC as “our club” that is quite simply not true any more, just as it is no longer true at Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool (even Sunderland) etc, and the sooner that fact is accepted the better.
    Does anyone really think that it would be any different were the club owned by some Russian oligarch or Arab prince? of course it wouldn’t, they would likewise look at every possible means to increase revenue.
    The fact of the matter is that were it not for Mike Ashley NUFC would not be in the position it is now, well run off the field, more healthy financially than for many a year (surely no one cannot see that the previous regime had us heading in only one direction!)and for those who feel that is not important – rubbish – of course it is important, just look at Rangers, at Portsmouth – would blinkered supporters prefer us to be in their places?
    We are better placed on the field than we have been for some time, and that is due to personnel put in place by MA- fact!(albeit after learning from past mistakes). Maybe we are not in a position to compete at the very top.. YET, but I for one believe it is coming.
    It’s time people came to terms with the fact that Mike Ashley owns NUFC, time they stopped getting tied up with off field matters over which they have no control and get back to doing what matters-supporting the TEAM, because at the end of the day is that not waht really matters?

  45. Paul in Hollywood says:
    February 20, 2012 at 4:26 am

    “Worky, if traditions are so important to you, everyone in the team should be a local boy working the rest of the week down the mine.”

    With all due respect that’s just being ridiculous Paul. When people have to resort to fallacies and ridiculous examples such as that, it’s a sure sign that their argument is bankrupt.

    It’s because of people’s apathy that lowlifes like Ashley thrive, and I’m not just saying that over the name of a stadium.

  46. Worky, if you find my argument bankrupt, then please see what Kev H says at 49. He is making the same point that I was trying to make. We can all join you in saying Mike Ashley is a liar and demand he either change his ways or at least change the name of SDA back to SJP, or we can accept that leopards do not change their spots and acknowledge the good things that he has done at NUFC. Personally I take the latter course. “What can’t be helped must be endured” and all that.

  47. I have no desire to get involved in an argument no one can win, we will always all have our own thoughts and opinions, indeed it would be a very sad boring world if we all agreed with each other! How pathetic would Friday night discussions in the pub be if that were the case?
    I was only and will continue to state the simple fact that MA owns NUFC and for now that needs to be accepted and people need to channel their energies into something they can influence by which I mean offering their support to the team on the pitch!
    No amount of complaining, name calling or graffiti daubling is going to change the fact that MA will do whatever he feels is right in a business sense, and the sooner that is accepted the sooner we can move on and concentrate on what really matters – the TEAM and the product they produce when they run over that white line.
    All of this hand wringing and suchlike over name changes etc is never going to hold any sway with MA, indeed it is more likely to make him more determined to do things his way!
    We need to bite the bullet I’m afraid and accept that for the foreseeable future MA is “the man” as far as NUFC is concerned and stop futile attempts at influencing what happens off the pitch, running the risk of antagonising him even further.
    Lambias said something like “you have no idea how horrible we can be”!- so why do people feel that they constantly have to try to find out? a practice that will inevitably be to their own detriment, which in turn gives even more cause for complaint – it’s simply a viscious circle that needs to be broken out of!
    Is it not time to move on and concentrate our efforts on what happens on the pitch! If we put in some real effort here, we have a genuine chance of Europe, so let’s not get distracted by things we cannot control or indeed exert any influence!

  48. Paul in Hollywood says:
    February 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    “Worky, if you find my argument bankrupt, then please see what Kev H says at 49. He is making the same point that I was trying to make.

    Really Paul?! That one was far worse than your own. There have been hundreds of thousands of comments on this ‘blog since it started, and to be honest that one has to be amongst the most ill informed pieces of piffle I’ve ever read on here. As I pointed out in the comment and the link below that, all that crap about happy Sports Direct employees was a completely and utterly wrong for a start exept for his “Kapos” who are on different contracts and who receive share incentives do drive the opressed underlings ever harder, and with no overtime pay. Everything about Ashley is a lie. He is a huckster, a charlatan, a wrong’un and he needs to be taught a lesson.

  49. Worky, your extreme angst seems like you are trying to teach us all a lesson, not just Mike Ashley.

    Was there something in your “Mein Kampf” posting that we missed?

  50. Paul in Hollywood says:
    February 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    “Worky, your extreme angst”

    Paul “angst” means “fear” and that is a a condition I’ve never really been afflicted by in the outer world. It’s within my inner world where I face my demons. ;-)

  51. Worky, good on you!
    In answer to your earlier question, why do I support NUFC? As you know, I am not a Geordie but for over 40 years I have been passionately drawn to everything about the Toon and I think that what draws that support from myself is the robust cheerfulness and good nature of the Geordie people.

  52. Talking about trashing traditions to make a rich man’s toy more suitable – It’s a good job someone already bought Wimbledon & moved them to Milton Keynes – Isn’t that close to Ashley’s neck of the woods ? – we might have be faced with the posibility of an MK Magpies !

  53. You said “Everything about Ashley is a lie. He is a huckster, a charlatan, a wrong’un and he needs to be taught a lesson.” I don’t take issue or disagree with any of that.
    The fact of the matter is that neither you nor I nor indeed any of the 48,000 REGULAR match attendees or any number of bloggers, ex players, ex chairmen, former owners, readers of the Evening Chronicle, John Gibson or supporters across the globe are in a position to teach him that lesson I’m afraid whether we like it or not!
    Whether you think my posted comments are “ill informed” or “piffle” as you put it, I couldn’t care less to be honest, the point I am trying to make is simply that none of the ranting or name calling or any of the insults will make one jot of difference to what happens at SJP (yes, I will always refer to it as SJP)off the field, and until such time as the club changes hands (if it changes hands), the sooner that is accepted the better!
    I will never tire of telling people to forget trying to change things over which we have (and never will have) no control or influence and turn all of that wasted energy and emotion into positive energy and emotion directed where it matters in support and encouragement of the players on the pitch.

  54. “things over which we have (and never will have) no control or influence”
    – so we should have just shut up about slavery, apartite, gadaffi, genital mutalation, blood diamonds, genocide, bosnia, hitler (yes, back to hitler) Prague Spring uprising, terrorism (anywhere), 911 etc, – had a pint & gone to the match ! Thank christ there are some with more guts!

  55. Kev H says:

    “The fact of the matter is that neither you nor I nor indeed any of the 48,000 REGULAR match attendees or any number of bloggers, ex players, ex chairmen, former owners, readers of the Evening Chronicle, John Gibson or supporters across the globe are in a position to teach him that lesson I’m afraid whether we like it or not!”

    Kev H, I appreciate both sides of this discussion but we used say the same thing about Shepherd and Hall – and they only fecked off when they couldnt screw any more money out of both your and my club.

    It is possible (dictionary definition : considered capable of happening, existing, being done, or being true, but not very likely) that all 48,000 could unite, with the rest of us who dont go any more because of the Fatman, and instruct him that enough is enough. It is possible, but probably highly unlikely.

    Yet however the club works, despite the fact that Fatman has legal control of it, it would be nothing without those 48,000+ fans. What message would it send to Fatman with NUFC playing in front of an empty SJP ?

    Someone or some organisation needs to work on that, it just depends how much we all want it to happen !

  56. In response to Supermac @ 60 –
    Get a grip, surely not even the most ardent supporter can class the shenanigans at SJP in the same group as slavery, apartheid and unspeakable acts of terrorism and genocide – goodness me you forgot to include the holocaust!
    Not gutless not apathetic, simply a realist I’m afraid.
    MA will not listen, he has no affinity with the region, nor with the supporter, so whether we like it or not; whilst he is in place the energy and the emotion however earnestly felt is wasted and surely you must agree that it would be better put behind the team?

  57. Kev H says:
    February 20, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    “the point I am trying to make is simply that none of the ranting or name calling or any of the insults will make one jot of difference to what happens at SJP”

    I’ve been told that many times by people like yourself Kevin over several causes I’ve been involved with in the past, issues such as the Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign, anti racism campaigns in general, Starbucks’ exploitation of Ethiopian coffee growers, infringement of civil liberties and the like, and they’ve always been wrong in the end. If you go back through history it was the same too, there were people like yourself in the past who thought the Quakers were wasting their time trying to abolish slavery and so on. Even partial victories make a difference and you just have to keep at it because life is a constant battle. If everyone was like you, the world would be an even more vile place than it is already.

  58. WT syas:

    “I’ve been told that many times by people like yourself Kevin over several causes I’ve been involved with in the past, issues such as……………..Starbucks’ exploitation of Ethiopian coffee growers, infringement of civil liberties”

    Right on WT :) What about the workers ?

  59. AndyMac says:
    February 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    “Right on WT What about the workers ?”

    Andy, did you know that Starbucks once tried to copyright regions of Ethiopia?

    In my experience, the best solution for dealing with bastards usually involves close observation, getting the best lawyers (on a “pro bono” basis) and taking things to law.

  60. to be honest i’ve seen the results of fatcats first hand.

    the way these people live and the things they have to do because the wage the receive isn’t enough.

    it seems like mike is used to treating people like dirt. if you don’t like him and you don’t want to die for him then he will skin you and walk over over you.

    mike is a fraud, an exploiter, a liar and a sinister evil man who needs stopped and people need to be aware of how he runs his business.

    people need to know the tiny details of how he works and we need to know how he gets away with it time and time again.

    he doesn’t need to be stopped, he needs to be brought down. and everyone needs to see him for the man he actually is.

  61. Stephen C says:
    February 20, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    “oh and worky ive sent you an email”

    Aye, I’ve got it thanks Steven. Did you get the money I sent?

  62. yes worky i got the cash.

    i just didnt know what the extra 5 was for.

    a calender or recorded delivery.

    you mentioned another contributer wanted a calender so i didnt know what it was for. you didnt say who it was or at what stage he was at in purchasing one.

    my mother has invested the cash from some of the calender into some gear already.

    ill take a photo later of the things they buy for the boxes. and send it

  63. workyticket says:

    “I also seem to recall that most people thought Rupert Murdoch was invincible too”

    and dont forget Maxwell !!! God bless the fat crooked phucker, he’s probably now in Argentina with all the other crooks – even if he is Jewish !

  64. Worky, what are you asking of us? Do you simply want us to agree with you on this blog that MA is a despicable human being or do you want us to take some kind of action and “bring him down”? How can we, or should we, bring him down? And if we should succeed in this task, who should we replace him with, bearing in mind that “the devil we know is better than the one we don’t”?

  65. Oh aye Andy, the yeti! Still no freedom for Tooting, alas. :-(

    I used to have a bisexual bird in Tooting. No prizes for guessing what I used to think about for much of the time in those days.

  66. damn right. no matter what people say, too many doctors are taking bribes.

    i diagnosis takes nowt these days, to a millionaire anything is possible.

    i think he is either in Argentina with hitlers family or in Cuba waiting for those two people he met a few year back to return that canoe they borrowed a few year back.

    don’t you just hate it what people borrow things and don’t return them.

  67. What are the chances of Hitler. Maxwell, Aribert Heim and Ratko Mladic all turning up on Sky’s new reality TV show – “It was just a joke” !

  68. andy

    come off it mate, we all know where you are sat,

    we all know you believe.

    hitler, maxwell, phillipe alberts harem, roland rat all riding off on shurgar is all a possibility when cash and corruption take their toll.

    as for skys new reality show. i think the official secrets act might put a stop to that one mate.

  69. a thought for those who would prefer to just watch the match –

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    rage, mate, rage

  70. I find it difficult to comprehend how quickly the postings here take us into some surreal world or parallel universe where Hitler and Osama Bin Laden occupy the same space as he who should not be named – what starts off as a recognisable picture turns with haste into something by Salvador Dali!

  71. Kilgore_D_Sprout says: Blimey, now Dylan is quoted on the blog – yes mate, but Thomas, not Bob!

    However Bob Dylan was right when he said “now’s the time for your tears” –

    In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
    To show that all’s equal and that the courts are on the level
    And that the strings in the books ain’t pulled and persuaded
    And that even the nobles get properly handled
    Once that the cops have chased after and caught ’em
    And that ladder of law has no top and no bottom
    Stared at the person who killed for no reason
    Who just happened to be feelin’ that way without warnin’
    And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished
    And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance
    William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence
    Ah, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
    Bury the rag deep in your face
    For now’s the time for your tears.

  72. Kev H says: “the postings here take us into some surreal world or parallel universe where Hitler and Osama Bin Laden occupy the same space as he who should not be named – what starts off as a recognisable picture turns with haste into something by Salvador Dali”

    you have to face facts mate – the UFOs and makem pods have not gone away!

    as for this Salvador Dali lad, I havn’t seen him play and doubt a spanish player would come to NUFC unless we qualified for europe!

  73. Paul in Hollywood says:
    February 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    “Worky, what are you asking of us?”

    Paul, I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you before. I went out for what I thought was half an hour or so yesterday evening and ended up having a little adventure.

    All I ask is that you actually examine the veracity of Ashley’s propaganda before you turn on your fellow fans over it. If you did, you may just find that much of it is actually completely untrue. In the style of Goebbels, the same untruths have been repeated over and over until people come to accept them as fact. Ashley is a lying divisive bastard who is quite happy to divide fans whilst he gets on with the job of turning us into Sports Direct United. It’s pure PR manipulation.

  74. Hi Worky, thanks for getting back to me. I trust your little adventure was not a return visit to Tooting after reminding yourself of your past.
    I think anyone who can hire Derek Llambias as their chief executive is displaying their true colours but I literally cannot see what we can do about it other than either not showing up at SJP, which is not going to happen, or lumping it. I am unable to attend SJP so I lump it. Despite my own previous protestations, I also believe that NUFC is on the up and since Sports Direct signs do not stare me in the face every other week, it is not such a big deal in my mind. I also acknowledge that the game has been spoiled by money. It is unethical to me that young lads skilled at kicking a ball should earn obscene amounts of money when so many others in our world are struggling to even survive, so that also tunes me out somewhat. I love the skill and the entertainment of the game but seen from more of a distance, I just find myself putting the whole thing in a broader perspective. Ashley and Llambias are not moralists and I do not expect them to change; nor do I expect them to give two hoots about the fans, and even less so when we are sitting pretty in the table.

  75. Hi Paul, No, a tiny, arthritic old lady asked if I could help her to carry her shopping home. She seemed to be very lonely so I stayed and chatted with her for a while once I got her bags home. This is my life now! :-)

    Why do so many people rail about footballers earning so much when they provide entertainment for millions, but not others who make far more by fleecing people through fake reductions, taking established brands right downmarket and using third world sweatshops to make huge margins on their products like Ashley? Or through indentured servitude, family privilege and abuse of human rights like the owners of Man City? Or through share extortion of his own workers like Abramovich? That’s what I call “unethical.” That’s not to say I have a thing against all billionaire football club owners by any means, as there are examples such as Dietmar Hopp (Hoffenheim) at the other end of the scale.

    Quite a few players from places like Africa come from very poor backgrounds and send money back to their extended families, to their villages for infastructure and whatnot, and without top players, their teams would not make the huge amounts that they do through competing at the highest levels. They’re the ones who do more than anyone else to generate all the billions that are made from the sport, so they are fully entitled to their share of it.

    Getting back to Ashley once again though – He may not change but he can be emboldened when people just automatically swallow all of his dishonest huckster crap and just roll over without examining it first. He is getting carte blanche to ruin a 120 year institution on the back of 11 good results at the beginning of one season, and a handful of lies about how the club would not exist without him and how he has supposedly reduced the club’s debt since he took over, which is not actually true if you scratch beneth the surface. As I noted in Hugh’s blog from today, take that little run out of the equation and we have been more or less exactly the same as we were last season.

  76. Worky, I used to watch Leeds (local team supported by my brother) and can remember the day Allan Clarke topped 100,000 pounds for a transfer, breaking the record. That was an era, not so long ago, when retired players might settle down by opening a pub. We were all still entertained and they were no doubt quite happy with what they earned. Since then it’s gone crazy and only billionaire owners can afford to buy success. Complaining solely about Ashley is a bit like fiddling while Rome burns. We’re all on an economic juggernaut heading for the cliff. On which note, talk about shenanigans: google Lord James of Blackheath on economic bollox going on behind the scenes.

  77. wanovic says:
    February 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    “i like st jmes park .it is magic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Exactly wanovich, it IS magic! “S_____ D_____ A____” isn’t.

    Paul in Hollywood says:
    February 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    “only billionaire owners can afford to buy success. Complaining solely about Ashley is a bit like fiddling while Rome burns.”

    I must be mistaken Paul. I was led to beleive that the most successful club in Europe ATM is owned by it’s fans, along with several other monster clubs such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich which are owned either entirely, or by a a huge majority (around 85% in the case of Munich by their fans too.

    Coming back to the English Premiership though, none of the clubs which play at older venues have renamed their stadiums, and the Mackems’ billionaire owner has a relitively new stadium but that’s still called the “Stadium of Blight.”

  78. Whilst still believing that supporter remonstrations will cut no sway with MA, I read with interest the article below :—

    Early day Motion 2743, tabled on February 21st.

    Primary sponsor: Ian Mearns

    Supported by: Dave Anderson, Nick Brown, Alex Cunningham, Pat Glass, Mary Glindon, Stephen Hepburn, Ian Lavery, Catherine McKinnell, Alan Meale, Chi Onwurah, Dennis Skinner:

    Newcastle United and the renaming of St James’ Park

    That this House deeply regrets the decision to rebrand the historic home of Newcastle United Football Club, St James’ Park; condemns the corporate vandalism perpetrated by the clubs owners in removing the name “St James’ Park” from the stadium; warmly endorses the now famous front page banner headline of the local Evening Chronicle ‘St James’ Park and Always Will Be’; notes that the Chief Executive of Newcastle’s new shirt sponsor, Virgin Money has added her concerns about the rebranding and hopes that others will follow her example; notes that Newcastle City Council have debated and agreed a motion stating that the Council have no plans to change any way-finding signs which bear the name St James’ Park, rather than the name of Mike Ashley’s business; and urges Mike Ashley the owner of Newcastle United to reconsider his decision.

    Mention in the House of Commons, supported by local and some not so local MP’s no less – now that might strike a cord somewhere in the corridors of power at SJP!
    One can but hope.

  79. Thanks for that commons note.
    Enjoyed your postings mate, I salute a supporter whose heart is in the right place and tells it the way he sees it!