Newcastle’s stadium to be renamed St James’ Park
Newcastle’s stadium will once again be called St. James’ Park
from the start of next season after the Premier League club signed
a four-year deal with a new sponsor on Tuesday.
Supporters were left furious last November when Newcastle
renamed its 119-year ground ”Sports Direct Arena” – after the
sports retail company belonging to owner Mike Ashley – in a bid to
showcase the potential for a new stadium sponsor.
However, as part of an agreement with Wonga, the club’s new
shirt sponsor, the traditional title of the stadium will be
Wonga, an online loan lender, will invest at least 1.5 million
pounds ($2.4 million) in the club’s academy and local enterprise
scheme helping teenagers find employment. Fans will also have
bigger say in club initiatives, Newcastle said in a statement.
Wonga has many critics, however, because it charges interest
rates of more than 4,000 percent on its loans.
”Throughout our discussions, Wonga’s desire to help us invest
in our young playing talent, the local community and new fan
initiatives really impressed us and stood them apart from other
candidates,” Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias said.
Virgin Money will remain as shirt sponsor of the team until the
end of this season, when Wonga takes over.