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Mike, Derek And The Sports Direct Arena

Friday 11th November 2011
They say that diamonds are a girls best friend and you can say the same about London born and bred businessmen with their money, for what Derek Llambias (DL) and Mike Ashley (MA) have done is not just rob a city of a piece of it's proud history and heritage but also show that money talks, especially in football. In the era of foreign owners and unimaginable amounts of money you wouldn't be crazy to assume that this was the work of a middle eastern billionaire who thinks football is played by 11 men wearing shoulder pads chasing an egg shaped ball. But no, MA and DL were both born in London, which makes this act unforgivable.

So now as a lifelong Newcastle United fan I have the horrible thought in my head that the iconic symbol of our home (see left) is going to be replaced with a hideous branded logo like sports direct (see right) but I don't think there will be a shortage of potential buyers for the stadium and what MA and DL have done by changing the name now is to take pressure off potential investors who wouldn't want the bad press of their company changing the name of one of the most recognisable stadiums in British football, if not the world.

But whatever may be said about Mike and co. in the press in the coming days and weeks, you have to admire their business sense and their timing which is brilliant, journalists will have you believe otherwise with Newcastle unbeaten in the league and lying in 3rd place, but if you look at the fixture list you will see that the next 3 games are against the other teams currently in the top 4. Now granted that might seem hardly ideal but when you consider that the next two games are being played on the 19th and 26th of November away from home at the Etihad Stadium and Old Trafford. The first time that Newcastle will play at the sports direct arena is against Chelsea on December 3rd which means that there is over 3 weeks for this story to die down and for the fans to vent the frustration in other ways other than chanting at the game and inadvertently  affect the players performance, and for that reason I have to give credit to MA.

Recently the club released their mission statement for the year in which they outlined a plan to become a profit making club once again which is a prospect that should excite every single Newcastle fan, and they have already made it clear that there is money to spend in January and they have also said that the supposed 10 million a year they will get from the stadium will go towards developing the team. I would even go as far to say that the way MA is now running Newcastle is something that other Premier League and Championship chairmen and owners should look at because is shows that you don't need to throw cash about to build a good team, you only need a group of spirited and skilled players and a manager who in my biased opinion has been the best in the league so far this season by a country mile. I see teams like QPR and Leicester who have thrown millions at buying success and where are they in their respective leagues? Team spirit conquers all.

Reading the fan forums and reaction on twitter over the last 24 hours I have seen a general trend of people complaining that MA is going to take money out of the club for himself, now I personally do not see the problem in this, the Glazers at Manchester United have taken money from the club for their own private bank accounts, and their club is in hundreds of millions worth of debt. For all the money that MA has invested which is more than many Newcastle fans will have you believe I think he deserves to take something back! Gone are the days of downing pints and hopefully stripping at work parties, i think we can all agree that we don't want to see scenes like this again.

In summary I am annoyed about the name change, but I can see that the positives outweigh the negatives as it brings in more money for the club and that can only be a good thing! The most important thing that Newcastle fans should do now is realise that nothing you can do is going to change the name back to St James Park and get on with it, get behind the team and the management and continue to take this club forward as a unified group and continue to climb up the table, for if we beat Man City in our next game we will be the only unbeaten team left in the league, for me the sky really is the limit.



Vincent Cluitt

Total articles: 2

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