St James’ Park soul nearly destroyed

Image courtesy of
Well I guess I’d better get my apologising boots on and get in touch with Steve Wraith.

For those of you who don’t know, I was quite vocal about his claims that the signage above the East Stand was to be changed. I doubted it and laid into him a little over it and thought that he was just trying to stir up ill feeling. It appears that I was wrong.

Silly me for thinking that Mike Ashley wouldn’t go that far. I don’t even know why I even thought that in the first place but, as you can see from the picture, the wrecking job is nearly complete and we have the rather gaudy and incredibly tacky Sports Direct logo daubed on another part of our famous football stadium.

Now at this point I must stress that these images are as yet unconfirmed as nobody has seen them with the naked eye, but it really wouldn’t surprise me if they turned out to be genuine. A very large part of me wants it to be some clever sod with Photoshop, but I fear that I’d be pinning a lot of hope on a slim chance of that being the case.

When is it going to end though? It’s daubed all over the walls, the roof and just about everywhere else where you could imagine inside St James’ Park. I wouldn’t want to sit there and be faced with that and I wouldn’t be surprised if others felt the same. No wonder attendances are dropping.

A huge part of the problem is that we just don’t know if Sports Direct are paying for the privilege of having the name of their tat shop smeared all over St James’ Park. Knowing that there is cash coming into the club would at least add a bit of justification to the vast amount of different sized logos that are over the place. Not much, but a little.

We don’t know though, and that is what is irking me. Is this just a showcase to potential advertisers, still, or is this the way it’s going to be for a set specified amount of time? I’m honestly rather surprised that it wasn’t one of the questions put to the board last week.

At the end of the day it is Mike Ashley’s club and he can do what he likes with it. He has shown that dozens of times. We are just the once fortunate ones who have a severe emotional tie to the club. He needs to be careful though as with our emotional attachment comes financial commitment and if he pushes it too far he’ll start losing more of that.

I’ve said it before, but I’ve already ended my financial commitment to NUFC. As I type I sit here in old tatty Newcastle top and I simply refuse to buy another “official” one until something changes. The only cash I spend is what it costs to get me a match ticket away from home.

Some say that I’m cutting my nose off to spite my face by not going to St James’ Park and by not buying merchandise, but it makes me feel as though I’m doing something to register my displeasure. Words on the internet are pretty empty compared to cold, hard actions.

The problem is that it’s a pretty shallow protest when the man that you’re up against just doesn’t want to listen or communicate and, more importantly to him, has the money to not have to listen or communicate with little old me.

These signs may not have an impact on the players or our results. They may not be important to the manager as they set about trying to do their best by us and for themselves by getting it right on the pitch. They deserve our support, and they generally get out our support in fairness.

As for the man upstairs, I recognise he has done some good things at Newcastle, mainly because he had to, but I can’t back him. Not when he is showing a total disrespect to what is one of the largest, most committed and passionate fanbases there is.

Dastardly Derek said just a few days ago that Mike Ashley didn’t feel like backing the team as he didn’t like the abuse he gets. It’s a lack if respect from our fans sort of, I guess. But respect works two ways and needs to be earned.

And in that sense Ashley is hardly in credit is he?

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

157 thoughts on “St James’ Park soul nearly destroyed

  1. Troy – if its going pear shaped by xmas, I would expect to see a striker in by jan 1st. If not we will have to wait even longer.
    One thing for sure, he will spend just enough to protect his investment.
    So a disaster for us, but not for him.


  2. Big Dave there’s already far too many ****s out there like him they should be banished to wearside (if he isn’t already from there) and made to support the unwashed if he they ‘don’t care’ about what’s happening to our club. Absolute ****’s the lot of them!! N.M.E


  3. I don’t care who you are or how you support the toon but to me seeing Newcastle united on that stand stayed with me forever when I went to my first game.

    Would bring a tear to the eye if they brought it down.

    I am sorry but the heart of the club is being ripped out. I’m a proud toon but slowly but surely my pride is getting smaller and a sense of disatisfaction is creeping in


  4. You know how much publicity we would get if flirting with relegation, as compared to mid table mediocrity.
    And they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
    Just another angle on things is all.


  5. Hi all, been away quite a bit.

    this is exactly the kind of thread where I’m obliged pop up and say something like…

    “In a fan owned club, they couldn’t do this kind of crap without it getting through an ELECTED board of members/owners who would go over such an arrangement and hopefully vote it down if it’s tacky and not financially good for the club and then get voted off if folks are opposed.”

    But I’m too tired to type something like that. So I won’t say it.


  6. NUFC is a vehicle for the fat mans 1st love Sports Direct, we all know that.. The next thing he’ll have Dunlop or Slazenger strips. But hey that’s ok as long as he keeps us mid table year In year out. we’ve already been primed for that by PRdew. Hail the big fella for saving us?


  7. The only way I could see fan ownership ever working, is if we got relegated 2 or 3 seasons on the bounce and were declared insolvent/bankrupt.
    The club could then start again from scratch with fan ownership, like (everyone???) wants.

    Chances of that happening tho? remote to non existant.


  8. the reason why the fatman does all this **** is because 90% of fans dont really give a **** what he does, and he knows he can do whatever he wants because they will still turn up and support the club financially.
    Its the same in general Life people now just take whatever is dished out to them because its easier to do nowt


  9. Ashley is the only person who could buy one of the jewels in the premier league (his words) and turn it into a lump of coal, and still hoodwink most while polishing his very own diamond in the retail world.


  10. yeah, it’s hard to fathom, but I also feel obliged to insert some cliche about “every journey begins with the first step” and all that. But, again, I’m too tired for that, so **** it.

    We were pretty inert on Monday, huh? Many people saying we need 4-5-1 or something like that? Haven’t looked at many comments, but that was my impression.

    Did anyone ever confirm if Ba was fasting for Ramadan and if that affected him at all?


  11. Troy @ 7,

    What a difference a few weeks makes. I remember us saying the exact same thing recently and getting largely shouted down.

    How can the pro-Ashley brigade condone this? We will make no money in sponsorship deals in the future, meaning player transfer fees will actually be used in the day to day running in the club, instead of that sort of revenue.

    If sportsdirect want to sponsor us and advertise in the ground, they should pay the going rate. They are two seperate entities regardless of ownership.


  12. @FSOTC 87

    If by ‘fasting for ramadan’ you actually mean ‘total ****’ then yes he was. And the rest of the team were ‘fasting for ramadan’ as well.


  13. 4 players observed Ramadan, ben arfa, ba, marvaux and abeid.

    as for effecting any one not eating food during day light hours is ludacris.

    how would anyone feel getting out of bed in the morning and having to go to work all day without food.ofcourse it would effect you.

    the thing with Ramadan it does not have to be observed by people in physically demanding jobs, but its seems like footballers hardly break a sweat nowa days so it doesnt look like they are in the category.

    a few players in the NFL have died in recent years becasue they have had heart attacks due to the fact the are doing way to much exercise with lack of fluids in hot sun.

    so not effecting a person isn’t the question its more like how much. in my opinion if you are going to observe Ramadan then you should sit out the start of the season. come back in September and make up the time in the league cup. no body wants to see a player die of a heart attack on the pitch.
    although i would take a jest at Shola.

    a jest only i may add.


  14. Toonsy – Did you write this article? Whoever did is spot on. This is one of the best articles I’ve read on here. It might fall short of a polemic, but its careful craft conjures a strong resonance.

    Just as Henry VIII ransacked the monasteries, Ashley has despoiled his own fiefdom. The natives are stirred. Although Ashley has bought control of a plc, he is only one member of a club. He should understand that, as a club member, he can quite easily be blackballed. He should not underestimate the power of the blackball. Certainly not in this Kingdom. Learn from the Romans, Mike. DO NOT UPSET THE NATIVES!


  15. Moreno @88. If we’re two separate entities, do you want NUFC to start paying interest on our interest free loans?


  16. I’ve just dipped in tonight, mainly to see what Troy has been up to. I’m just going to dip out shortly. One thing, however. Has Stardy got any credibilty left? When I dipped in briefly earlier, he was slagging Saylor for bringing Jelly to the party. Sorry, but after a verdict like that son, you will be known forevermore as simply DUST.


  17. “And as for the comparisons with other clubs stadiums….. That may be fair enough but the difference is that they get an income from it. As yet there is nothing to suggest that we are.”

    Exactly Toonsy.
    If he chucks a large sum of money at the team for improving the squad in return for all this sponsorship (in the same vein as Man City used to circumvent the new financing rules which everyone will no doubt ignore anyway) then the constant bombardment of vile sponsorship might at least be tolerable.

    If Jabba the C@nt wants to put a picture of himself shafting Stardust’s bum on the shirts, he can for me – providing he provides the team with a decent chunk of money for investing in improving the squad.


  18. “Would bring a tear to the eye if they brought it down.

    I am sorry but the heart of the club is being ripped out. I’m a proud toon but slowly but surely my pride is getting smaller and a sense of disatisfaction is creeping in”

    Well I would feel sorry for you but I’m sure you are one of the ones who used to pillory us as doom mongers and whingers when we told you this sort of thing was the new future for the club weeks ago.


  19. Maybe he should call the stadium Jabba’s Palace and he could call the team bus Jabba’s Sailbarge?

    That’s gotta be worth an extra Β£5 a year towards transfers.


  20. I think you’ve used the wrong word. Soul is not the word you are looking for. Facade, perhaps. Soul is a word for something that goes far deeper, and is far more intrinsic to a living entity. The soul of St James’ is the fans. It is the fans that animate the ground and the club.

    But reading comments on blogs lately I suppose you might be right – the soul of the club is nearly destroyed. When we start giving reasons for our success this season as being opposition incompetence and Lady Luck then I despair for us. And of course this can’t possibly be our own fault. Shudder to think that the fans might do some self analysis, some soul-searching. Far easier to blame somebody else.

    There was a time when Newcastle United supporters had a soul. There were times when we had heart. There were times when we made each little scrap of success sustain us for weeks. Now we’re just a bunch of drama queens waiting for another instalment of That’s Entertainment and afraid of being positive in case we are branded ‘deluded’. Enter: the knee jerk conservatives and their magic train set. Is it a surprise that they use the same sort of argument strategy as the neo-cons? Just like the real world innit?

    So sad. So sad.


  21. Are you in Australia and lecturing people in the North East about how they are the cause of problems because they lack soul and dont care about the club enough?

    Is that the situation?


  22. My goolies are fine. They are less than a mile from St James’ right now with the rest of me.
    Your legs couldn’t reach the thousands of miles necessary to kick me in them.


  23. I’m not particularly ‘conservative’ or ‘neo-con’ in any of my views by the way.
    You are miles out.

    “You use Evian skin cream, and sometimes you wear L’Air du Temps”
    Keep trying the Dr Lecter/Cracker routine though, by all means.
    It’s endlessly entertaining.



  24. The Emerates, Etihad Stadium, The Reebok. This is the future and we have to get used to it, Blackburn have Venkies on there strips, are they complaining about there owners getting free advertising? Football and footballers have become greedy and unfortunately us the fans suffer for this.

    All summer ive read of fans complaining about investment but are unwilling to accept that we have to move with the times to achieve this.

    Grow up, bite the bullet and support the lads on the pitch. Does the sign really bother you that much or are you just using it aa another excuse to do a bit of Ashley bashing? HWTL


  25. Johnny, we could have been the Etihad stadium if they hadnt tried to rip off the Abu Dhabi Royal family, so yes your right, by a horrible quirk of fate we are cheap tat and Citeh the opposite and we have to live with it.


  26. @johnym

    The big issue is we are getting sweet FA for the fact it looks cheap and nasty.

    Howay, do you actually visit the ground?


  27. JohnyM…yes mate, the sign bothers me alot. its not the same as other sponsors at other stadiums as our sponsor does not give any money for the team to move ahead. We are all kidding ourselves with our league position… we have scored three goals, thats it. Thats less than a goal a game.. its very clear that unless we keep a clean sheet then we will loose that game. by xmas we will be 15th and fighting for our lives.
    As to the actual sign toonsy… i think that itys clearly going to be sportsdirect@newcastle united…. the main thing that pisses me off is the colour.. its red and blue.. sunderlands old colours ffs… its tacky and looks ****. A great way to have pleased both sides would have been for the sportsdirect to have been in same colour as the newcastle united bit and the @ bit to have been in silver. That would have at least looked like Ashley was trying his best to keep some form of geordieness going.


  28. @Troy Stavers

    Sweet FA, what exactly do you want? Yes for you onfo i am a season ticket holder


    Unfortunately your right mate, the bar was a better option for ashley than the meeting unfortunately. Do you think we would of sold out last night against napoli in CL unlike the so called great citeh fans?


  29. signs are temporary, the St James building is permanent.

    I’m not too fussed, it looks tacky, it’s wrong if we’re not receiving income but its Mikes club so he can do what he likes.

    Bigger picture for me is as long as his debts are paid off quickly, he’ll be off so this might generate him cash quicker.


  30. Mark, thats just it though, Dekka has just said we owe knackers 140 million interst free loan still so debt not going down… also even though we have sold all our players and big earners, our wage bill is 2.5% higher now than when FF had club. All in all, if you are to belive what Dekka has just this week said.. we are in same debt with bigger outgoings.. go figure.
    It reminds me of the Humber Bridge thing… they charge a fortune to cross it, it makes **** loads of money for the government but the government loan to pay back is still the same as it always was , it never goes down and it never goes up. it just sits there.. always the same, while being nothing more than a cash cow for the government/ashley.


  31. The trouble is, it enables Ashley to cheap advertising. Agree that Sports Direct will be on our shirts soon for a pittence of sponsorship money in comparison to the big boys. Probably a pittence in comparison to the little boys as well. Ashley will get his money out of the club one day with a nice profit on top. At the same time, his sports empire will have expanded massively greatly assisted by the branding of his products using our club name. Agree with Toonsy, I also dont spend my money at the home games but do go to some of the away games and cant remember the last time I bought some. The only way to hurt Ashley is in the pocket


  32. @johnym

    What exactly do I want?

    Well, to cheapen the look of the stand and the ground by putting a cheap looking sign on the east stand and to cover the gallowgate roof making it look like an industrial warehouse, I would expect a worthwhile sum of money.

    At this moment in time we are receiving sweet FA.

    You can see by the reaction of some of the bloggers that’s it’s disliked. The amount of
    fans this club are losing on match day should be their main concern. Β£10k short of capacity against fulham equates to several million pound.

    You may be oblivious to what is going on around you but the sensible people have seen it coming a long time ago and this signage is just another kick in the nads and counter productive.

    You name several stadiums which are named after companies. My god that is a naive thing to do.
    Those stadiums were built with the money from those companies. Not a poxy little sign which at best might get 2 or 3million.

    If you want to turn SJP into a warehouse that generates no cash then so be it.

    I don’t.


  33. Troy – not good. Cheapens the stadium for me and that sign represented more than a stadium.

    IT does look awful though typical dross from sports direct


  34. It is sickening!

    you see our old boy oneill managing shamrock rovers now troy?
    Hes taken them to europe!


  35. Madrid United

    Would they accept that for potentially Β£2 or Β£3m?

    They would tell Ashley to take his poxy little signs and hoy them in the Tyne!!

    Fill the ******* stadium you fat little tw@t by treating the fans with respect and concentrate on building within your means instead of trying to recoup your losses as fast as you can!

    He’s bought into a north east institution and is treating it like one of his warehouses.


  36. Although the sign will look cheap and tatty, if the club was to receive substantial sponsorship monies in line with other sponsorship deals, it would be easier to accept, however, Ashley is abusing his position at the financial detriment of Newcastle United FC.


  37. hey troy.. talk like that will get stardust taking his **** out of ashleys arse and start sticking up for him again on here.


  38. I can see the next Advertising prank by the fat man will be to get his SD staff in their tracksuits holding the circular banner in the centre of the pitch but instead of Champions League is will display SportsDirect. They could replace the CL theme tune to a sports direct ditty!

    This would go nicely alongside the signage, the flags on the east stand, the barrage balloon, the seats with sportsdirect lettering and the shirt sponsoring.

    I can’t ******* wait!


  39. @Liam

    Have you tried Google Earth Live! ? I’m howling!
    They’ve just dropped the @ sign! Woo hoo hoo hoo


  40. @stardust

    You say;

    Who cares? Its his – he owns the whole shabang. He can do as he pleases as I would as anyone would.

    You just don’t get it do you? Everyone has their limits. Many of ours have been reached because we get The NUFC thing.

    So if he decided to change the home strip to red and White to suit his SD advertising, is that ok? As you say;
    It’s his and he could do as he pleases . Who cares?

    Please answer, though I won’t hold my breathe as I know you wil hide under your mushroom.


  41. Alright lads and passes.

    Just a quickie to make you all aware that tge new article will be the last one until the afternoon when I get in from work.

    Sorry for that but I’m trying my best whilst working 15 hour days and I’ve just run short of time. With little help from others im kind of struggling with it all to be honest.

    Bear with me, I’ll get it sorted one way or another πŸ™‚


  42. @Liam Southern Toon

    dnt believe everything ppl tell you πŸ™‚

    If this was owned by David Whelan, a man of integrity, honesty and seems fair to the fans, would ppl complain in the same way?


  43. @toonsy

    shame on you, get grafting ****! we want more!, there’ll be protests next

    Toonsy out Toonsy out!!

    just imaging when the nipper arrives πŸ™‚

    Get Troy to write an article about the new promising signings πŸ™‚


  44. @troy

    “So if he decided to change the home strip to red and White to suit his SD advertising, is that ok?”

    you should work as a brain-stormer for SD, you’ve given him some great ideas πŸ™‚


  45. Mark im sorry mate but if it was sheik mansour I would still grumble.
    I think a good owner would understand the meaning of it and not do it altogether.

    I am with prem and up though that fans make the club but we also need tradition and the stadium features are that.


  46. @Liam Southern Toon

    thats fair enough m8. we all have our own/different views..

    just dont look up next time youre there πŸ™‚

    I don’t agree with it but you can see any businessman doing the same thing, afterall, advertising is massive.


  47. Liam – Aye I got it mate. Got plenty of articles, just not enough time to apply the finishing touches to all of them.

    Mark – Its cos of the baby that I’m on the grab. Money money money 😈

    I actually work two jobs to be fair, plus this. Not many people know that but I guess they do now πŸ˜†


  48. It could be worse…SV Austria Salzburg

    The Red Bull takeover
    After the takeover, Red Bull changed the club’s name, management, and staff, declaring “this is a new club with no history.” Red Bull initially claimed on the club website that the club was founded in 2005, but was ordered to remove this claim by the Austrian F.A. The new authority removed all trace of violet from the club logo and the team now play in the colours of red and white, to the consternation of much of the club’s traditional support.[1] A small pair of wings form the motif of the new club crest, displayed on the team jersey, in accordance with Red Bull’s commercial slogan at the time: “It gives you wings.” This complete rebranding of the team proved very similar to Red Bull’s treatment of its two Formula One racing teams, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso. However, Red Bull would not completely follow this precedent when it acquired the MetroStars club in Major League Soccer in the United States; while it rebranded the team as the New York Red Bulls, it chose to recognise the MetroStars’ history.

    EM-Stadion Wals-Siezenheim homeground of FC Red Bull Salzburg
    Red Bull Salzburg, October 2005The traditional supporters tried to resist the radical changes and formed their own movement in order to regain some of the tradition. Several fan-clubs throughout Europe voiced their support in what they saw as a fight against the growing commercialisation of football. However, after five months of protests and talks between the club owners and traditional fans, no compromise was reached. On 15 September 2005, the “violet” supporters stated that the talks had irreversibly broken down and efforts to reach an agreement would be terminated.

    This gave rise to two separate fan groups: the “Red-Whites”, who support “Red Bull Salzburg” and the “Violet-Whites”, who want to preserve the 72-year-old tradition and refuse to support the rebranded club. The Violet-Whites ultimately formed a new club, SV Austria Salzburg.


  49. @toonsy

    aye, you’ll have a drip-feed cash dispenser to the bairn once she/he arrives, but its worth it.

    good on you m8, everyone appreciates the stirling work u put into this site, apart from your lass..probably πŸ™‚


  50. Cheap and tacky looking, But the soul destroying started when fat mick was selling gola trainers off a barrow.

    Could be plenty worse look at Blackburn FFS… πŸ™„


  51. @toonsy have you never thought about adverts on to help with server cost etc?

    or even a paypal link for donations to help with running cost etc, don’t want to upset the posters but i think ppl would donate from time to time.

    Ive got a box of pampers in the loft I could send πŸ™‚

    but seriously, its worth having a link somewhere.


  52. @hitman

    Interesting that.

    I see nothing wrong in it if it results in top players arriving here.

    Ultimately tho, you get what you pay for and nothing I’ve seen so far has changed my mind.


  53. There seems to be a growing concern that Tiote is losing his way this season.

    Could that have anything to do with him missing Nolan or Barton playing alongside.

    It appears this season he’s doing exactly the same in terms of tackling but is holding onto the ball and losing it.
    Is it because Cabaye is hiding?

    Me thinks so.


  54. @Ultimately tho, you get what you pay for..

    joe Cole free to l’pool
    Barton free to QPR , to name two

    πŸ™‚ sometimes contracts dictate the price..


  55. yeah – the good old days – walking back to Worswick St Bus Station stinking of piss after having to walk past the overflowing toilets at the back of the Gallowgate end and the ancient wooden stand opposite the Popular end that was a death trap if anyone dropped a fag.
    We have a modern stadium now that can compete with the best in the world and if MA wants to take advantage and put some of his Sports Direct signs up then what’s the problem ?
    He owns the club and in my opinion saved it from bankruptcy – if he wants to increase his company’s exposure (which is very sensible) then why shouldn’t he ?
    And yes – I’m also an admirer of what AP has done so far and I’m also glad to be shot of Barton and Nolan (and Enrique too if he wanted to go that badly).
    I think the club is finally on a sound footing and WILL go forward


  56. troy @ 146 – it might have something to do with the oppostion sussing him out – at the rate he’s going the fatman would be doing very well if he managed getting the money back he payed for him.


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