Interesting to see today that Mike Ashley has sent the heavies round to St James’ Park armed with crowbars to rip down any remaining signage that pointed towards well over 100 years of footballing and local history.
You really couldn’t get any more stereotypical if you tried. Perhaps they should have had capes and a swag bag, or be dressed like the Hamburgler for added effect. It fits, as they’ve effectively robbed the ground of everything it stood for.
Understandably many people are angry with this move. Seemingly not intent with “officially” changing the name, we now have signs to reflect the new name hanging on the outside of the Gallowgate and a great big empty space on the wall where St James’ Park was once emblazoned proud and true.
You have to ask why? To me it’s pretty simple. Once dubbed as a showcase to potential new sponsors I think it’s fair to say that these latest moves have gone well beyond that. There is a reason why naming rights have been toyed with for three years, and there is a reason why nobody has decided to touch them. Because it just isn’t worth the poor reception it will get!
Suffice to say I would imagine that the St James’ Park will be replaced by yet more Sports Direct signage and will probably be dressed up as some form of “showcase” in the event that interested companies can’t envisage their logo in the place of St James’ Park.
Unlike the majority, I’m not actually dead set against the renaming of St James’ Park. To me it will always be St James’ Park and I suspect that will be the case with many fans also. The occasional opposing fan may have a laugh about but so what?
I do think however it could have been done more, well, professionally. For a start there are the reasons behind it. Showcase my backside! I think it’s fairly apparent that it will stay emblazoned with the charver crest of his tat shop (which coincidentally I’ve still never set foot inside of) so why not man up and say it’s going to stay like that?
Also, and this is my main complaint, is the justification for selling naming rights was to bring in funds to the club. We don’t know if it is although I have a suspicion it isn’t. I might be wrong though. Maybe it’s some elaborate way of circumventing our debt and paying it off? Again I have a suspicion it isn’t, but it’s the not knowing that will add fuel to the fire.
So what is the answer? Roll with it? Ignore it? Get angry about it? Well Mike Ashley has shown that he won’t listen to the concerns of fans so it’s pointless protesting or doing anything like that, plus I’m not sure I’d like the team to feel any negative effect that such protests would create. They need our support, and they deserve it after this season.
That leaves rolling with it, which just won’t happen for a lot of people, or ignoring it, which just won’t happen for a lot of people.
How about a whip round instead?