Newcastle City Council has appealed to the media to continue referring to Newcastle football stadium as St James Park, after fans reacted badly to its new name.
“At a recent meeting of Newcastle City Council there was overwhelming criticism of the decision by Newcastle United Football Club to rename St James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena.
As you will recall, the club’s announcement in November was met with widespread opposition from fans who felt it was a change too far. A notice of motion that was debated, amended and carried unanimously at full council is enclosed.
The motion requests that the City Council write to the media and asks that they continue to use the name of St James’ Park in all reporting and refuse to use the name Sports Direct Arena. We respectfully request that you take this approach.
For its part, the City Council has taken the decision not to change any wayfinding signs which bear the name St James’ Park, and calls on the club to reconsider their decision.
We would ask that you acknowledge the strength of opposition among Newcastle fans against changing the name of the stadium and continue to call it St James’ Park in all reporting.”
In a statement that responds to the council’s request, the BBC stated: “It is not the BBC’s place, as an impartial public broadcaster to decide or debate on whether this is correct or not, rather to report on the matches which take place on the field. Changing the way we display the graphics or refer to the ground on our programmes ensures consistency with every other ground which has a sponsor, be it new grounds that came with a sponsor like the Emirates, or old grounds that have changed their names like Bradford City’s Coral Windows Stadium (formerly Valley Parade).”
But are councils right to request that the stadium is not to be referred to by its official name? Or should fans respect the club’s wishes? After all, the move was designed to ‘secure a new global sponsor’.
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