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Stadium Name Blame Game

Stadium Name Blame Game

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley might have unwittingly found the best way to create total unity amongst Toon fans.

St James' Park is the third largest club stadium in England. It's the largest ground in the Championship. It has the largest cantilever roof in Europe. The top corner of the Milburn Stand is the vertiginous peak of all the stadiums of England.. you can get no further away from any football pitch and still stay seated, unless you own a helicopter. Opened in 1892, it has a glorious history. It's iconic.

And yet, as we all know, Ashley has ignored the history and substantial local strength of feeling (you'd think he's have learnt his lesson by now) and re-named it'Park. The unity he's created unfortunately means that everyone hates that name, and him for changing it.

Is it really modern and forward thinking, incorporating both tradition and commercial considerations?

Or is it crass, insensitive, lowest-common-denominator scum-sucking greed? That may be your view, and I'm guessing that would be the majority of Wednesday fans' feelings on first hearing the news.

It's the re-naming we have a problem with, isn't it? If you're going to build a new stadium, you are casting aside years of past history but you're boldly going forward into a new era, so it's less of a problem. I don't think there was a tenth the amount of fuss over, say, the Emirates Stadium (there may be some who call it Ashburton Grove, I dunno) because it was new. Highbury is a fond memory for Arsenal fans. The Emirates was the future, and is well established now in hearts and minds.

And looking around the world at similar deals, Newcastle fans got off lightly. York City play at the rather chocolatey KitKat Crescent. The University of San Diego men's basketball team plays at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, sponsored by Kirstie Alley's favourite weight loss guru. MLS soccer team FC Dallas play at Pizza Hut Park. The NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers play at the saucily named Heinz Field. FC Nuremberg from the Bundesliga play at EasyCredit-Stadion (at least until 2011 when the deal is up for renewal).

But that news won't make a St. James' Park name change any easier to bear for the Toon Army. They're livid, and rightly so.

But hang on a minute, let's not get indignant, let's pause a moment for reflection. Here's a thought. We know the coffers at Sheffield Wednesday are in need of replenishment. Investment in the club is on the far distant horizon, no matter how hard Lee Strafford, Nick Parker and the club are working to attract it.

So if Wednesday re-named Hillsborough, and it meant that Brian Laws could pay for an extra season-long loan of a Premiership player (another Franck Songo'o, for example) would you throw away your principles and be happy that the Owls grabbed the cash from stadium naming rights? Or would you be up in arms, picketing the club, waving your placards and protesting at the sacrilege?

Scroll down to the bottom right corner of this page, and cast your vote. We'd like to know what you think.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Auckland Owl
Date:Tuesday November 10 2009
Time: 12:00PM


No, it should always be hillsborough, i dont like how all these other clubs whore themselves for the next pay day. Besides, knowing wednesdays luck, it would probably be something stupid like the tampon stadium.
10/11/2009 12:42:00
To be honest I find all this renaming malarkey a bit stupid. james park? Ashley is having a laugh, however the only traditional stadium I believe should be renamed should be hillsborough. My reason is that the hillsborough name will always be associated with the tragic events 20 years ago. I'm not proposing anything as daft as pizza hut park, but I for one wouldn't be too upset to be going to a corporately named stadium. I will still be watching the game from the same seat in the same stadium. Who knows, getting rid of the hillsborough name may attract other investors, and if nothing else, the club will have some money.
10/11/2009 16:25:00
id accept Hillsborough Fifa stadium, or some other football game related names
10/11/2009 19:02:00
has anyone noticed the sign that's says ' sheffield united fc academy' - this way out side swillsborough? or as for renaming your ***** hole..swillsborough would be very fitting!!!
11/11/2009 00:27:00
can someone explain how pigs have convinced everyone they have an injury crisis to excuse being crap? only 2 players from Barnsley game prob wouldnt be first XI, and thug Morgan was banned, having a few squad players and loanees out with niggles and they act like nobodies ever had as many injuries
11/11/2009 01:13:00
Has Blackwell noticed the sign that says 'This way to the Job Centre' yet, bfl?
Auckland Owl
11/11/2009 01:14:00
hope your right auckland but with 21 injuries what do you expect him to do? funny thing is all said and done and taking into account our shocking injury list we are still above you sorry lot which is so amusing and must really hit home how crap you lot really are? as for the sign im not pulling your plonker here, its a fact go and have a look - its awsome - well done sheffield city council!!
11/11/2009 11:34:00
whats that sign got to do with owt bfl personally i couldnt care less im a fan of all acadamies i for one would be very proud if my kids got to play for one even the blunts so re read the thread and then make reasonable comments or feck off
11/11/2009 12:27:00
A point above us with a worse goal difference, bfl? Oh that's definitely something to be proud of.
Auckland Owl
11/11/2009 18:46:00
21 injuries?????????????
11/11/2009 20:10:00
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