Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias has revealed that he and owner Mike Ashley still refer to the clubs stadium as St James’ Park despite changing it’s name last year.
In November Ashley took the extraordinary and controversial step to rename the Magpies’ famous ground the ‘Sports Direct Arena’ in an effort to showcase the marketing potential to prospective investors.
The decision caused uproar within the Geordie fan base with several supporters staging a mock funeral before the game against Wolves a fortnight ago after the official St James’ Park sign was removed.
Llambias denied unpopular Ashley is out to to aggravate the fans claiming it will assist the clubs growth both on and off the pitch also letting slip that they both still use the stadiums traditional name.
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He told the Mirror: “Do you think me and Mike call it the Sports Direct Arena? We call it St James’ Park, because it is St James’ Park.
“The naming rights is such a passionate thing. It’s not about being disrespectful or taking away the tradition or the history of the club – it’s about trying to get another Yohan Cabaye out there on the pitch. That’s how we see it.
“To optimise our commercial side, we needed to get that in there – other clubs do it.” He added.
“We’ve had to take the criticism on the nose. We’re not riding roughshod over people’s love. People come to see our players on the pitch. It’s about us, the fans, the manager, the players and the region – it’s an emotional thing.
“If we wanted to ride roughshod, we’d just put the ticket prices up. That’s not happening.”