What Exactly is a Sportsdirect.com@St. James' Park Stadium?
Newcastle United vs. Peterborough United, 7 Nov 8:30pm at sportsdirect.com@St.James' Park Stadium
Don't panic, its not the return of the 'shown-exclusively-on-the-internet' monster. It's the other scary new-age phenomenon of selling naming rights of stadiums!
From this weekend onwards, Newcastle United's Stadium, where many generations of fans have gathered week after week to show their love, support and belief in the club which boasts of the most loyal fans, will be known as the sportsdirect.com@St. James' Park Stadium. Whoever thought that being relegated from the Premier League was mortifying enough surely underestimated the ever-annoying owner of Newcastle United Mike Ashley. What is even worst news I guess for the Geordies is that last week Mike Ashley took the club off the market by rejecting Tyneside businessman Barry Moat's attempted takeover. So, he is here to stay!
Mike Ashley just doesn't understand football fans and has no clue as to what owning a football club entails. How can a football club owner not know that fans' allegiance definitely doesn't lie with the chairman, owner, manager of the club or even with players (or else no player returning to his old club would ever be booed)? What connects fans to a club is the sense of community and fellowship, the place in which the club is situated, the camaraderie in the stands and not the name of the principle sponsor!
The club's history and continuity are sacrosanct and just something you can't mess with if you want to keep your client base (which for you Mr. Mike Ashley would mean the fans). Renaming a stadium, which is a sort of a cathedral to fans to something that sounds like a website is ridiculous.
Football fans aren't rational, they are crazy, hopeless romantics and if Mike Ashley is really planning to stay long-term as the owner of the club, it would do him a world of good to learn a bit about football fans, understand them and work with them to make the club he owns and the club they love, great once again.