Newcastle United tap experts over venue expansion



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St. James’ Park update November 2023 Image: St. James' Park, yellow book ltd, CC BY 2.0

Premier League Newcastle United are working with some of the world’s leading experts as they consider options for a potential expansion of their St James’ Park home.

The Northern Echo said the Magpies are 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.

Newcastle United CEO Darren Eales spoke directly to fans at a special supporter engagement event, which was attended by 1,000 people both online and in person, at St James’ Park.

Eales was joined on stage by sporting director Dan Ashworth and chief commercial officer Peter Silverstone, with head coach Eddie Howe, women’s boss Becky Langley and loan manager Shola Ameobi also speaking at the event.

The Northern Echo further stated that one of the final questions of the evening put to Eales was about the future of St James’ Park, which came on the back of discussions about current ticketing, waiting lists and membership.

Eales revealed Newcastle are in the process of nailing down “what can be done” with the stadium as they consider their options for the future, both in terms of a potential expansion and when it comes to improved facilities.

Eales said, “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.

“But also, and we have a survey going out in the next couple of weeks, we really want that feedback. There will be a series of questions about everything facilities-wise in terms of what you’d like to see at the stadium, because we need to understand demand and priorities and what people want. That helps when you are shaping the theoretical feasibility study.

“They’re hypotheticals, it will ask questions like ‘imagine if there was a brand-new stadium built on this site, what would you think?’ It’s all about trying to get the information from the fans to help inform with the architectural possibility what we can do and what is the best way forward.”

Earlier this year, Newcastle United unveiled designs for the fan zone made from shipping containers that is set to be built on Strawberry Place behind the stadium.

The two-story site would feature a central plaza, stage and a big screen. Several food and drink outlets would surround a large seating area.

Plans for temporary planning permission over three-years were submitted to Newcastle City Council in July with a decision yet to be made.

Fans have long hoped that the stadium could be expanded on to Strawberry Place, which prompted controversy when it was sold off by the club’s former owner Mike Ashley.

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