Newcastle United’s owners have stressed the development of St. James’ Park is a long-term project and not something which will happen soon.
What’s the latest?
Earlier this week, it was reported the Saudi Arabian-based owners had bought back the patch of land known as Strawberry Place opposite the stadium.
The site was initially sold by the previous owner, Mike Ashley, back in 2019 for a sum of money believed to be worth in the region of £9m.
However, the site is now back in possession of the club and it is believed it will be used in the hope of expanding the Gallowgate End in the years to come.
But, speaking on his YouTube channel, journalist Craig Hope has stressed the club are making it clear this is not a project which will happen over the coming months:
(3:10) “The word been stressed to me by the club is long-term, you know, we’re not going to buy this land and then all of a sudden, within the next sort of 12-18 months or even two years, turn St. James’ Park into a 60k/65k seater stadium, that just probably isn’t feasible for, for a variety of reasons.
“First and foremost, you know, they’ve got to explore all options from it from a structural point of view, could it be that modern technology means you don’t actually have to go out into Strawberry Place?”
Moving on up
Given the recent success of the club and the fact the previous owner is now well and truly out of the picture, there has naturally been a huge increase in demand for tickets.
It has been reported that over the summer there were around 30,000 fans aiming to snap up a season ticket and the 1,000 which were made available were bought almost instantaneously.
St. James’ Park currently holds just over 52,000 fans but there will be major issues for the club to overcome if they are to expand the stadium.
Could Newcastle sell 70k tickets each week?
The stadium backs onto building issues on basically every side of the ground with listed buildings, a conservation area (Leazes Park) and structural headaches all to consider.
And through buying back Strawberry Place, the club will have to navigate various structural issues if they are to expand out the Gallowgate End.
Below the site runs the local metro system which will likely require an awful lot of money and the best architects around to navigate a way to make this happen.
The club certainly have the financial power to do so, but this just shows how it is not going to be something which happens in the summer or even the summer after that.
This is going to be a huge project for the club and it seems they will be assessing all options of what modern technology can do before deciding to potentially build out onto Strawberry Place.