How Newcastle United unveiled plans for a new Moor stadium 25yrs ago
Back in 1997 Newcastle United unveiled plans for a new Moor stadium which was set to take effect immediately but later things changed according to the owners then.
Now, As Newcastle United’s new owners pledge to keep the team at St James’ Park, we remember how, in March 1997, the club announced intentions to move to a new stadium on the Town Moor.
The acquisition of Newcastle United and Eddie Howe’s team’s recent outstanding run has instilled hope in the club’s long-suffering supporters.
Finally, there is cause to be optimistic about the club’s future.
But, if we do witness a resurgent United in the future years, one crucial topic revolves around St James’ Park.
Can the stadium be expanded to accommodate more supporters in the event of hopefully better days ahead – or does the club need to consider moving home?
If 52,000 have packed the stadium to the rafters during the previous owner’s long and usually dismal stewardship, can it be further extended to accommodate more supporters in the event of hopefully better days ahead – or does the club need to consider moving home?
The answer came a few days ago from the new proprietors, according to Mehrdad Ghodoussi, who told the Athletic: “We will certainly consider extending it.
“We’re trying to figure out what we can do with the city and council.
“There are many things that must occur first, but that is the path to take.
“If we can get it to 60 or 65,000 thousand, that would be fantastic, and we will investigate every option.
Are we, however, going to construct a new stadium? No. It’d be like ripping your heart out.”
It has some resemblance to Newcastle United’s scenario 25 years ago.
Magpies were riding high in the mid-1990s, a football club with ambition, purpose, and a burning desire to compete against the best. However, there was a snag.
Even though St James’ Park had recently undergone significant reconstruction in the mid-1990s, it was still too tiny to accommodate everyone who wanted to see the team.
There were still upwards of 20,000 spectators on the waiting list, despite the fact that the stadium had a capacity of 36,000, virtually entirely made up of season ticket holders.
However, additional expansion of the stadium would be fraught with practical and legal challenges.
Instead, for the second time in the club’s existence, Newcastle United sought for a new home elsewhere.
At least ten potential places were investigated throughout Newcastle, but it rapidly became evident that Castle Leazes on the Town Moor was the only suitable alternative, which the club, city council, and Freemen of the City all agreed on.
Inquisitive supporters rushed to St James’ Park in early March 1997 to see blueprints for a new mega stadium that the club proposed to build at Castle Leazes.
The new 55,000-seater stadium (with a capacity of 70,000) would compete with Milan’s San Siro and Barcelona’s Nou Camp, while the £90 million project would help the region’s economy and raise the city’s worldwide prestige.
The new state-of-the-art stadium, topped off with steel and glass, would be excavated eight metres below Castle Leazes at Spital Tongues on a location that was formerly used for cattle grazing.
It would feature a three-tiered bowl with unobstructed views for all spectators.
The roof’s construction would also include two massive arches, echoing the city’s most recognized feature, the Tyne Bridge.
“The Chronicle reported: ” according to The Chronicle.
“To create a bowl for the centre part of the stadium and underground car parking, the ground level would have to be lowered by up to eight metres.”
What about the now-vacant St James’ Park?
As we previously stated: “The East and Milburn stands would be destroyed, leaving the Gallowgate End as a prominent part of the city skyline.
The Sir John Hall stand and northern corners would be demolished and rebuilt to create a 12,500-seat stadium and sports complex with an ice rink and track.”
It was estimated that the project would take three years to complete.
In the end, as we all know, local pressure groups, residents, and environmentalists were outraged by the plans, and the new stadium was never built.
The club ultimately dropped their ideas in late 1997 after a continuous campaign of marches, rallies, letters, and petitions opposing the stadium, as well as the threat of a lengthy and costly public inquiry.
Instead, three years later, Newcastle United began their 2000-2001 season in front of 51,327 people at a freshly enlarged St James’ Park, and it has remained that way ever since.
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