Derek Llambias has been speaking to BBC Radio Newcastle this morning as he attempts to justify the reasoning behind renaming St James’ Park.
Llambias said that he is hopeful of bringing in £8-10 million a year which, in his own words, will give us another player.
The sounds coming out of the boardroom are that this is purely a commercial move although a large section of fans are obviously going to feel aggrieved by it. What I will say, and it probably won’t be the last time I say it, is that the ground will always be St James’ Park to those who it matters most to and we must never let the name die.
Moving onto Llambias, let’s have a look at what he had to say:
“I would hope to generate between £8-10m a year, that will give us another player,” he told BBC Newcastle.
“To compete we need to go further, we’ve had a fantastic start. The fans want us to buy more players, we need a new striker in January, we’ll need replacements in the summer. We need to give ourselves as much of a chance as possible.”
St James’ Park has been home to Newcastle United for 119 years and has hosted football for 131 years. There is an awful lot of history sewn into the ground and a name change isn’t going to alter that, for me at least. Llambias continued:
“The history is always going to be there, we need to become part of the history.”
“Chelsea have come out to say they’re going to rename their present stadium. They have a lot of history as well but they actually have an owner who has more money than God. We can’t compare ourselves with Abramovich, we haven’t got that sort of money. If we want to compete with the big boys we have to bring more revenue in.”
The parallel at the moment is indeed Chelsea. I know other grounds have sponsored names, but it’s important to remember that those grounds are all NEW grounds who don’t have a history to speak of.
The decision was made as the club seeks to increase its revenue and will offer a complete sponsorship package that could include shirt branding to replace Northern Rock. A replacement needs to be found quickly according to Llambias.
“I need to find a new shirt sponsor by the end of December – and that’s the latest,” he said before adding: “Puma need to put the shirt sponsor on, they’re manufacturing, and they would like it last month.”
“I’ve got a very small window to sell the shirt and naming rights and, if I have to sell them separately, then I have to sell them separately. But we must give ourselves the opportunity, this is inviting people to come in.”
I don’t think the fans have anything against increasing the revenue at the club. Instead the problem is that we rarely see any signs of increased revenue on the pitch which leads to suspicion and perpetuates fear that we’re having to go through this just to plug Sports Direct. Time will tell.
If you want to listen to what Llambias had to say you can do so by clicking here although I’ll pre-warn you that it’s from the BBC so if you’re overseas you may not get to be able to listen to it.
Interestingly another avenue that is being explored is the possibility of using the ground over the summer for different events such as concerts as another way to boost revenues for the club.
More reaction to follow no doubt…