Tyne & Wear

Newcastle United reject St James' Park sign bid

A bid from Alnwick Town AFC to house the St James' Park lettering has been rejected by Newcastle United.

The non-league club said it wanted to display the letters at its ground, also called St James' Park, to pay tribute to the history of the name.

In November the Magpies announced their ground's name would be changed to the Sports Direct Arena.

Newcastle said Alnwick's request was "a nice idea but not possible" at present and the letters would stay at the club.

However, Alnwick chairman Tom McKie said he had not given up hope.

He said: "It's a shame, but I'm just going to make my own sign.

"It will look exactly the same and keep the tradition of having a St James' Park in the North East."

'Iconic sign'

The non-league club, which also plays its home games in a black and white kit like Newcastle, plays in the Northern League.

Mr McKie said even if he was offered money to change the name of the ground, he would decline.

"I could never change the name of our football ground," he said.

"I wouldn't go through the hassle that Mike Ashley's going through.

Image caption The letters were removed from the ground on 16 February

"The Newcastle fans are the best in the whole country, it is an iconic sign and I feel for them."

Mr McKie said his club had a good relationship with their Premier League counterparts.

"They've been great to us, they've brought their reserve teams up for friendly games and we hope to play them again," he said.

The last visual embellishment of Newcastle United's ground being called St James' Park was removed from the ground on 16 February.

Twelve MPs are appealing for Newcastle United to reconsider its decision to change the name of St James' Park, calling it "corporate vandalism".

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites