Author Topic: St. James' Park  (Read 1198029 times)

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Offline reefatoon

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Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12300 on: Sunday 9 February 2020, 01:43:10 PM »
Is this Mike's way of hoying lipstick on a pig to try and make it look a little more attractive?

Offline sadnesstan

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Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12301 on: Sunday 9 February 2020, 01:59:08 PM »
Be funny when that team line-up is exactly the same in a few years time, when most of the players (and hopefully the head coach) have gone!

8 year contracts, all round.

Offline Paully

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Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12302 on: Friday 6 March 2020, 02:46:35 PM »

Offline Toon No9

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Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12303 on: Friday 6 March 2020, 02:57:58 PM »
Would've been great!
And for £65M aswell!!!😃😃

Offline Boo Boy

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Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12304 on: Friday 6 March 2020, 03:02:28 PM »
Would've been great!
And for £65M aswell!!!😃😃
it would be like all the modern stadiums. a souless meccano style bowl. it was rightly stopped. St James Park forever.

Take down the student flats and build them elsewhere to get round listed building regualtions. build over east stand and gallowgate to complete the current ground.
follow my patter on Twitter @BooBoy_1

Offline Colo's Short and Curlies

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Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12305 on: Friday 6 March 2020, 03:40:14 PM »
Would've been great!
And for £65M aswell!!!😃😃
it would be like all the modern stadiums. a souless meccano style bowl. it was rightly stopped. St James Park forever.

Take down the student flats and build them elsewhere to get round listed building regualtions. build over east stand and gallowgate to complete the current ground.

As long as MA is the owner there is no need to expand, if we get taken over by some mega rich bloke/country then we'll be building a new stadium in time rather than expanding SJP. The time to have a fully complete SJP has passed unfortunately
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Offline manorpark

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Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12306 on: Saturday 7 March 2020, 10:33:06 AM »
The new 1997 Stadium proposals were for the "Castle Leazes" area of the Town Moor NOT for Leazes Park !!!

Newcastle United FC : New Stadium Plans.
No. 1 - The 1997 Proposals . . .

There have been many proposals over the years (and over the centuries!) for Newcastle United Football Club to either build a new stadium at St James' Park, or to build a new stadium elsewhere.

These various proposals are clearly ideal "Newcastle as it might have been" articles, for inclusion on this thread.

Just to be different, this time I thought I would start with the most recent set of unrealised plans, and work my way backwards. 

So, here is No. 1 . . . the 1997 proposals to build a new stadium a few hundred yards away from St James' Park, on "Castle Leazes Moor".

To get a CLEAR idea of where this stadium was to be built. At the top of this aerial photo, Castle Leazes Moor and St James' Park, can both be seen . .

Here are the clubs plans (seen from above) for the new stadium on Castle Leazes Moor on the left, with the (St James' Park cut-in-half) St James' Centre, shown on the right . .

A view of the proposed new stadium, at the 'South East' corner, nearest to Leazes Park lake . .

Another view of the proposed 'Castle Leazes Moor' stadium . .

This sketch shows the proposed 'Leazes Way' walkway through the enlarged Leazes Park, that would have lead from the new "St James Centre" (proposed indoor stadium on site of St James Park) to the new stadium on Castle Leazes Moor . .

Another sketch of the proposed stadium, from Leazes park . .

The "ST JAMES' CENTRE" . . . was an important part of the overall plan.  This was to be an indoor stadium on the site of the current St James' Park. The South Stand and South West corner would remain as they were, the East and Milburn stands would be demolished, and the Sir John Hall stand and corners would be dismantled and re-erected closer to the remaining 'South Stand', to form the indoor stadium . . as shown, with the building over Strawberry Place linking to the 'new build' over St James' Park Metro Station . .

One of the envisaged advantages of the 'reduced size' St James' Park/Centre, to the immediate area, would be the extended Leazes Park, as shown here where it is overlooked by Leazes Terrace, at the point where the demolished 'East Stand' used to be . .

[SIZE="3"]Now, the above plans and proposals, in the clubs own words at the time, from their "Newcastle United Football Club VISION STATEMENT" . . .[/SIZE]

« Last Edit: Saturday 7 March 2020, 12:14:43 PM by manorpark »

Offline manorpark

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Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12307 on: Saturday 7 March 2020, 12:13:08 PM »
Here are the earlier plans for St James' Park, from 1972 . . .

Newcastle United FC : New Stadium Plans.
No. 2 - The 1972 Proposals . . .

NB - Part 1, 1997, can be seen HERE : 
and also HERE :

In 1972 we were presented with a detailed and comprehensive set of proposals to demolish the entire ground, and rebuild a 'uniform stand' (seats upstairs with standing in front) all the way around the ground.

Effectively, what was being proposed in 1972, was to build (what became the following year) the new East Stand all the way around St James Park, looking the same architecturally from outside as well as in, with some possible differences in the 'West Stand' area.

Here is the full set of "as it might have been" proposals, from 1972 . . .

Then, when we all assembled for the start of the 72/73 season on 12th August 1972, this was the front cover of our "new style" Match Programme . .

Inside the programme, the state of play with the development was explained . .

AS history shows, it was only the 'East Stand' of these proposals, that was ever built, and it didn't even cover the full length of the old Popular Side.

The rest of these proposals were quietly dropped, which was later said to be because of lack of money.

Offline manorpark

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Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12308 on: Saturday 7 March 2020, 12:17:25 PM »
HERE is the THIRD of my Skyscraper City posts on this subject, covering ALL THE OTHER different "plans and proposals" for St James' Park, over the years . . . 

Newcastle United FC : New Stadium Plans.
No. 3  -  Various Proposals 1921 to 1997 . . .

This is the THIRD in the series on Newcastle United's "Newcastle as it might have been" proposals.  The first two in the series covered (in detail) the 1997 proposals (Part One) and the 1972 Proposals (Part Two).

This third (and final) part, covers "all the other plans" that were proposed (but did NOT happen) starting in 1921 (29 years after Newcastle "United" first played at St James' Park) right up until 1997.

So, off we go . . .

1  -  1921.

Some reports state these plans come from '1929', but the majority state 1921.  The first item (below) is a newspaper article from the Evening Chronicle of September 8th 1982, and actually (also) contains some details of some 'later' plans for the ground, from 1967.  These plans are covered in detail later in this post . .

2  -  1964.

T Dan Smith and Newcastle City Council, were the instigators of this next set of proposals.  His vision was of a "multi-sports complex', with Newcastle United Football Club at its centre.  The club never really bought into this idea, and the below designs (though sometimes said to be the multi-sports' plans) were produced at the clubs behest in 1964, ignoring the councils 'multi-sports' ideas . .

3  -  1967.

Only a few years later in 1967, the 'multi-sports' idea again raised its head. A £2.6M scheme was devised that would have provided a football ground with a capacity of 63,000 spectators. The cost (though to be shared between the club, the City and the University) was seen by the club as too high, and amid disputes and talk of the club re-locating to Gosforth Park, the whole thing fell through . .

4  -  1972.

Full details of the "1972" proposals, were given in PART TWO of this series.

See the below post . .

POST 280  -

5  -  1976.

The 1972 proposals (as shown on the above post 280) eventually came to nothing, apart from the construction of the 'East Stand' in 1973.  In 1976 it was again proposed to 'extend the East Stand' around the corner into the (then) Leazes End.  The old Leazes End roof and the back part of the standing area ('kop') were demolished to facilitate the below plans.  Despite the demolition, none of the below extension was ever built . .

6  -  1989.

These are the first set of plans prepared by John Hall, as part of his plans to 'take over' the club.  He produced three different options in 1989 . .

The next diagram (below) appears to be 'a slightly different version' of the cross-section in Option Three (as shown above) but now sporting the Magpie Group Logo (top centre) . .

7  -  1990.

In the face of John Halls re-development plans, the old Gordon McKeag led board (still very much in control of the club at that point) came up with their own SJP re-development proposals.  Their plans (shown below) had an estimated cost of £16.5M and a planned capacity of 40,000 - yet they knew that they couldn't afford it!  The planned 'Share Issue' had flopped, but they still published their plans . .

8  -  1991.

While John Hall (Magpie Group) and Gordon McKeag (the old Board) vied with eachother to produce re-development plans for the ground, the City Council suddenly got involved again, with some VERY expensive and dramatic proposals, costing in the region of £100M and eating into part of Leazes Park. City Architect, Trevor Skemptons design was in fact a 'giant amphitheatre', incorporating a shopping mall, office complex, car parking and a theatre. 

A huge 'hydraulic' sliding screen would separate the football ground area from the theatre area at the Leazes End (projecting outwards into Leazes Park) producing a flexible football ground capacity of between 30,000 and 80,000 and 'indoor' concerts, stage plays and sports like 'boxing' would have an audience of as low as 20,000.

A spectacular and expensive (but perhaps impractical) addition to the list of proposed SJP developments . .

9  -  1996.

Designed by architect Michael Gilfillan, this proposal shows a design for a new ground for NUFC away from St James' Park, and (more importantly) on the 'Gateshead' side of the river.  These plans are likely to have been part of the overall tactics by the club to get the City Council on their side for their imminent (1997) proposals to build a new stadium on Castle Leazes Moor . .

10  -  1997.

Full details of the "1997" proposals, were given in PART ONE of this series.

See the below two posts . .

POST 218  -

POST 272  -

So, there we have it . . .  TEN different sets of Newcastle United Stadium Plans, that NEVER happened!

I wonder if the above is now the "definitive" collection of ALL of the 'abandoned proposals' for major revamps of SJP or moves to new grounds, that NUFC have ever made over the years?

It may well be . . . UNLESS you know different??

Offline Kanji

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  • Orlando FL
Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12309 on: Tuesday 10 March 2020, 12:22:36 PM »
Thanks Paully for posting that video - I was always wondering what the inside would look like.
"We are not a stepping stone, we are Newcastle United." - Rafa Benitez

Offline Disco

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  • Newcastle
Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12310 on: Tuesday 10 March 2020, 05:52:26 PM »
Given hiw s*** the atmosphere is these days, NUFC might be at an advantage if/when games go behind closed doors.

Offline Boo Boy

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Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12311 on: Thursday 12 March 2020, 10:23:34 AM »
Would've been great!
And for £65M aswell!!!😃😃
it would be like all the modern stadiums. a souless meccano style bowl. it was rightly stopped. St James Park forever.

Take down the student flats and build them elsewhere to get round listed building regualtions. build over east stand and gallowgate to complete the current ground.

As long as MA is the owner there is no need to expand, if we get taken over by some mega rich bloke/country then we'll be building a new stadium in time rather than expanding SJP. The time to have a fully complete SJP has passed unfortunately

I agree with that. probably take over the arena site when that closes and build it there. loads of room
follow my patter on Twitter @BooBoy_1

Offline Paully

  • General Member
Re: St. James' Park
« Reply #12312 on: Friday 27 March 2020, 09:38:19 AM »

Unwritten: How Newcastle United tried and failed to build their own San Siro

By Chris Waugh Mar 25, 2020 37
Between 1992 and 1997, Newcastle United found themselves sliding towards the third tier, then were galvanised by Kevin Keegan, promoted to the Premier League, played a swashbuckling brand of football but agonisingly missed out on the title, brought Alan Shearer home to Tyneside for a world-record £15 million and played in the Champions League.

But, that elusive major trophy aside, there was still one crucial aspect missing from their exponential upsurge come the 1996-97 season, according to the man whose millions made it all possible.

“We needed a world-class stadium to offer us the best chance of sustained success,” former owner Sir John Hall tells The Athletic.

The capacity of St James’ Park at the time was only 36,610. With almost 20,000 names on the season-ticket waiting list, demand massively outstripped supply.

“St James’ Park simply wasn’t big enough to cope with demand and the site itself had severe limitations,” Sir John says. “We had to consider relocating. By the winter of 1996, we thought we had found the ideal solution.”

In February 1997, a planning application for a £90 million, 55,000-seater stadium – which boasted a retractable roof and could later be expanded to 70,000 – on Castle Leazes, half a mile from St James’ Park, was submitted to Newcastle City Council. What’s more, the historic stadium would not have been demolished entirely; rather, it would have been converted into a 12,500-seater indoor arena as part of Sir John’s vision for a “Newcastle Sporting Club”.

Describing it as a sporting complex “fit for the 21st Century”, Sir John proclaimed in December 1996 that the development would make Newcastle United the “envy of Europe”.

Yet, within nine months, the application to build Britain’s biggest new stadium since the original Wembley had been withdrawn and the ambitious plan scrapped.

This is the inside story of Newcastle’s vision for a “San Siro of the North” and why it never became a reality…

By the mid-1990s, it was obvious that Newcastle simply had to upscale. But the issue was: How?

The need for Newcastle to consider relocation can, according to former Newcastle city architect Trevor Skempton, be traced back to their promotion into the Premiership in 1993.

“Newcastle carried out several parallel explorations for expansion at the time, including relocation,” Skempton says. “But all my focus was on demonstrating the viability of expanding St James’ Park. As difficult as it would have been, I outlined how a phased rebuild could eventually lead to an 80,000 capacity.”

Sir John Hall instead opted for a £25 million reconstruction of St James’ Park into a 36,610-seater stadium. But, as Newcastle’s second-tier success swiftly translated into the top flight, it became evident the decision to limit capacity had been a mistake. “If we had extended St James’ Park by more sooner, then subsequent expansion may have been easier,” Sir John admits now. “But time was critical and it would have been difficult and expensive.”

John Waugh, a member of The Magpie Group who helped Sir John acquire the club, is adamant greater expansion should have come sooner. “Sir John bitterly regretted not being bolder,” Waugh tells The Athletic. “I remember during the 1996-97 season, as plans for the new stadium were being drawn up, he would come to me regularly and say, ‘We should have done Skempton’s scheme.’ But it was too late.”

By 1996, Russell Jones, a property developer who was on Newcastle’s board, got tasked with finding a way to increase capacity. “At the time I didn’t think we could do anything with St James’,” he recalls. “What we really wanted was a retractable roof because the weather did affect matches up here back then. That was impossible at St James’, so we had to look elsewhere.”

The decision was taken to build a new stadium from scratch. “One way to accommodate more people, particularly kids who’ll be the next generation of fans, is to build a new stadium,” Sir John says. “So that’s what we tried to do.”

Over six months, a task group comprising Jones, Sir John and directors Freddy Shepherd and Douglas Hall considered 14 different sites. According to club historian Paul Joannou in his book “Fortress St James'”, those included plots at Little Benton (which now houses the club’s academy), Byker (the historic birthplace of the club), Gosforth Park, Newburn Haugh, Woolsington Park and Gateshead Quays.

But only two serious contenders emerged: Castle Leazes, and a proposed 75,000-seater ground near the Gateshead International Stadium used for athletics. “We did look at other sites, including holding advanced discussions with Gateshead Council,” Jones admits. “But we wanted to stick to the city centre if we could. We call St James’ ‘The Cathedral on the Hill’ and we wanted to stay as close as possible.”

As much as Sir John values progress, he also recognises the importance of identity, and negotiations with Gateshead Council were primarily used as leverage for talks with Newcastle Council. “The position of Newcastle’s stadium is unique in football,” Sir John says. “Ideally we wanted to keep the club at the heart of the city.”

With Gateshead ruled out, it became “a straight choice between expanding St James’ and moving to Castle Leazes”, according to Waugh.

“Castle Leazes seemed like the perfect solution,” Sir John says. “The plans were quite spectacular.”

In December 1996, Sir John held a press conference at St James’ Park, outlining the club’s plans to relocate a 10-minute walk away to Castle Leazes.

COMPETING: Designs for a new stadium on Leazes Park, 1997. #NUFC

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Despite part of the plot being on the historic Town Moor — common land dating back to the 12th century used for cattle grazing and allotments — the Freemen of Newcastle, who had those grazing rights, welcomed the proposals. Their chairman Len Fenwick described Castle Leazes as an “ideal site” – partly because, in exchange, they would assume control of the council-owned Exhibition Park.

“The location was perfect because we could have built a uniform stadium from scratch,” Jones says. “But the development was about so much more than a new football ground.”

Interestingly, Sir John had already seen plans for an £8.8 million ice-hockey arena rejected in 1995 following objections from conservationists. But the council welcomed the club’s state-of-the-art proposals, primarily because they included extensive regeneration of Leazes Park, as well as the redevelopment of St James’ Park into a multi-sports venue.

“Building new, rather than redeveloping, is always better,” Sir John says. “If you can build new then you can put fresh ideas into it without restrictions. That’s why we came up with as detailed and ambitious a plan as possible. We wanted to set standards off the pitch as well as on it. We had a fantastic football team, now we needed fantastic facilities to match.”

An initial £65 million would be spent building a two-tiered, 55,000-seater bowl stadium with a retractable roof which reached international standards required to stage FIFA and UEFA events. The ground was designed so a third tier could be added further down the line, elevating the roof – which featured two metal arches, intended to echo the iconic Tyne Bridge – and increasing capacity to 70,000. A retractable pitch, allowing for concerts, was also proposed.

“We came up with a design which sunk the stadium five metres into the ground so that it wasn’t obtrusive for the area,” Jones says. “We’d travelled around Europe and the USA, taking inspiration from lots of stadiums. We wanted it to be ultra-modern, with a retractable roof and pitch, like many in the US.

“It’s partly reminiscent of the San Siro but really we took inspiration from lots of grounds. We wanted a complete end-to-end oval where there’d be no restricted views and a real amphitheatre atmosphere.”

Rather than raze St James’ Park, it would be repurposed into a 12,500-seater indoor arena. While the East and Milburn Stands would be demolished, the Sir John Hall Stand would be dismantled, re-erected and attached to the Gallowgate.

The £25 million St James’ Centre, as it was to be called, was part of Sir John’s vision to create a “Newcastle Sporting Club”, inspired by Barcelona’s multi-sport teams. It would also house Newcastle’s “School of Excellence” and double as a first-team training venue. There were even proposals to build another full-size pitch on Strawberry Place for the reserves, although those never became concrete plans.

“It was the St James’ Centre which excited me,” Waugh admits. “I preferred Skempton’s initial vision for St James’ Park over a new stadium but the scale of the proposals were impressive.”

Featuring a running track, ice-hockey facilities, gyms and courts for basketball, tennis and other sports, the arena would also host concerts and exhibitions. The club’s offices would still be based at St James’, as would the shop, museum and box office.

“It was all part of the Newcastle Sporting Club,” Sir John, who also owned the city’s rugby union, basketball and ice-hockey teams, explains. “I’ve always believed that a successful sports club can have a positive effect on a region. It would give the North East much-needed positive publicity across a range of sports and then attract business investment. That’s always been my philosophy and we tried to realise it.”

As well as create two world-class sporting venues, the scheme would also lead to an extensive upgrade of Leazes Park.

Opened in 1873, the park had become rundown and significant renovations were proposed ,while a new boulevard connecting Castle Leazes with the St James’ Centre would also be built.

In total, the 55-acre, two-year development was estimated to cost upwards of £115 million, the largest single investment in the region since Sir John built the MetroCentre shopping mall in Gateshead a decade previously. Finance was to be raised by a flotation of Newcastle’s share capital on the Stock Exchange.

When plans were submitted in February 1997, Sir John said: “We believe in this plan and we believe in the centre. If we get planning permission, this stadium will be one of the best in Europe.”

“And it would have been,” Sir John says now, reflecting on those words. “We wanted to put Newcastle on the map permanently. But huge developments are never straightforward.”

Having fought against the 1993 redevelopment of St James’ Park and lost, pressure groups were determined not to see such a significant scheme pass four years later.

Even though the council, the Freemen and 69 per cent of supporters in poll by local paper the Evening Chronicle favoured the scheme, a small but influential “No Business on the Moor” campaign formed, achieving 36,000 petition signatures.

Dolly Potter, of the Friends of Leazes Park, led the objections but green protesters from a wide variety of groups joined in, while the council’s own Conservation Advisory Subcommittee did not support the plans.

“The opposition was fierce from a few small but well-connected groups,” Sir John recalls. “We spent hundreds of thousands on the proposals but faced delay after delay.”

Once English Heritage was alerted to the situation it became evident that, if Newcastle wanted to build their new stadium, they would have to navigate a public enquiry because of the pressure applied to environment secretary John Prescott. The council could not grant planning permission before such an enquiry, a process that would take years and could end up costing millions.

“We didn’t have the time to spare nor did we want to waste money fighting a battle we may end up losing,” Sir John says. “We came to the conclusion we had to think again about St James’ Park itself.”

But, upon reflection, Waugh believes there was a secondary factor in the withdrawal of the proposals.

“I would say at one stage the development actually got 75 per cent of the way there,” Waugh explains. “But on-field form affected the plans. At the end of 1996 we still had Keegan and we were all swept along on that wave. But, by November 1997, Kenny Dalglish had become manager and the enthusiasm waned. That seemed to suck the momentum out of the project.”

Sir John himself, meanwhile, also decided to step back from running of the club. He resigned as chairman in December 1997, a month after Newcastle withdrew their plans and issued this statement: “The company has listened very carefully to the issues raised locally. In light of these issues, the company has redoubled its efforts to find an alternative stadium plan.”

Shepherd and Douglas Hall, Sir John’s son, opted to revisit the potential redevelopment of St James’ Park. Radical and costly proposals to extend the stadium to its current capacity of 52,405 were drawn up by Jones, adding another tier to both the Sir John Hall and Milburn Stands. Planning permission was obtained in July 1998 and work completed two years later at a cost of £42 million – an extremely expensive way to add 16,000 seats when compared to what it would have taken to build a new higher-capacity stadium.

The lease on the land at Strawberry Place was also acquired by the club in 1998 and earmarked for future development, including the potential expansion of the Gallowgate.

“We couldn’t afford to lose any capacity so the stadium had to remain fully operational as we rebuilt, which made it more expensive,” Jones says. “We pushed St James’ to its limits expansion-wise and the stadium is now as big as it can be on that site, realistically.”

In theory, St James’ Park could still be expanded to up to 80,000. While it is technically still possible to extend the East Stand, the Grade I-listed buildings on Leazes Terrace directly behind it make that highly unlikely. As for expanding the Gallowgate, Mike Ashley’s decision to sell the Strawberry Place lease last year has made that increasingly difficult.

St James’ remains one of the most iconic venues in English football but, although it is the seventh-largest in the Premier League, other clubs are looking to move into higher-capacity stadia and Newcastle’s ground cannot be easily expanded further. The ambition of a super stadium on Tyneside to match Europe’s best now appears a distant fantasy.

“We have a good stadium but not quite what it could have been had we seized the moment,” Sir John concludes. “Castle Leazes was a dream of its time that sadly never came off.”

(Photo: Tim McGuinness/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

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