Fri 6 Oct 2023, 10:44 · NUFCFEED

"I'd love to see it expanded": Eddie Howe has big dreams for St. James' Park

"I'd love to see it expanded": Eddie Howe has big dreams for St. James' Park
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Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe has publicly endorsed the idea of expanding St. James’ Park for the first time in a move that aligns with the club's ambition to magnify its stature in world football.

St. James' Park just isn't big enough these days

The famous old stadium, which currently accommodates around 52,000 spectators, last saw development in the late 1990s when the "Level 7" expansion of the Leazes End and Milburn Stand increased the capacity by around 16,000.

Earlier this year, the club acquired Strawberry Place, hinting at the potential broadening of the Gallowgate End. The southernmost stand was previously the subject of grand expansion plans under the stewardship of Freddy Shepherd before Mike Ashley's fated takeover of Newcastle in 2007.

The East Stand has recently been under consideration for improvement too, but the listed buildings immediately behind it pose significant challenges to the renovation blueprint.

The club will have to speculate to accumulate

Increasing the stadium's capacity would also serve a strategic purpose. In light of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, all clubs are meticulously exploring avenues to augment their income.

While ticket sales are no longer the primary source of income in the game, NUFC could still significantly boost its bottom-line revenue by getting more people through the gates on a matchday. Anything that the club brings in helps in terms of fostering financial health and complying with FFP.

Away from the business side of things, it would be fantastic to give more supporters, especially young Magpies, more regular opportunities to watch the lads, too. Tickets are incredibly hard to come by at the moment.

It's been two years since the takeover

Howe was speaking at his pre-West Ham United press conference this morning when he made the comments, saying:

"I'd love to see it (St. James') expanded. If feasible, I trust the club to make it happen. The current philosophy is clear—to advance for the collective good, whether it's the fans or the broader community.”

He did go on to highlight the intricacies associated with such large development projects, however, and also discussed the necessity of undertaking the proper due diligence, which the club is doing with the feasibility study it has actioned.

The question came up in the context of the two-year anniversary of PIF, RB Sports & Media, and PCP's takeover of the football club. The new ownership has consistently pledged comprehensive investment, encompassing the stadium, the wider urban community, and the team.

An expansion of St. James' would underscore their commitment to rejuvenating both the club and the city. We sincerely hope it happens and the sooner, the better.