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.