Newcastle eye St James’ Park expansion


Newcastle to expand St. James’ Park Image: Newcastle United

Newcastle United are looking to move ahead with ambitious plans to extend St James’ Park rather than moving to a new stadium.

The Telegraph said the Premier League club have sourced feedback from “world leading experts” during a six-month feasibility study to determine what is possible when it comes to improving and expanding the club’s city centre stadium.

The Magpies were seeking to find out what could be possible at St James’ Park, while at the same time prioritising the wishes of fans.

The ground currently has a seating capacity of 52,305 and is the eighth largest football stadium in England. It has been home to Newcastle United F.C. since 1892.

Staying at St James’ Park rather than moving to a new site was always the preference and, according to reports from the Telegraph, the Magpies are now close to being able to move ahead with modernising their current home.

The expansion, which the Telegraph say has been described as “one of the most ambitious stadium rebuilds seen in this country”, could see the capacity increased to more than 60,000 as well as improved facilities around the ground.

But before work, which wouldn’t be expected to start before the end of the year, gets underway, Newcastle will first want to extend their lease with the city council. The current lease has 70 years to run.

Newcastle’s chief executive Darren Eales told of his excitement late last year as the Magpies launched the feasibility study to discover the “art of the possible” with St James’ Park.

He said: “I’m really excited about it, excited because there’s been a lot of talk for 30 years or more about how we create more supply to our supporters. And this is our way of getting the best in the world to tell us what the answer is.

“We’re doing a stadium feasibility study. We have one of the world leading agencies looking at it.

“The whole concept of that feasibility is thinking about the art of the possible. We know we have this fantastic location here on the top of the hill, the cathedral on the hill but we know we have some boundary issues. It’s not as simple as if we had a lot of space. So what can be done? That’s one of the things we have to look at.

“If there’s a way that we can expand St James’ Park, then all things being equal, that would be the route that we would like to take.”

Head coach Eddie Howe has always made clear his desire to stay at the stadium.

He said in December: “The stadium is iconic and where it’s situated in the city, there is nothing else like it. It’s the heartbeat of the city.

“It’s the thing you can see more than any other. Personally, I wouldn’t want that to change.”

Newcastle are set to open their new St James’ STACK fan zone this summer. Work has been ongoing over recent months, with repurposed shipping containers now in place.

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