Mike Ashley Proposes Rebranding St.James’s Park

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has deepened his bond with Newcastle fans by proposing to rebrand St.James’s Park. They were enraged at his intention to welcome offers for the naming rights of the ground. Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd admitted that the club rejected on principle a similar approach from ‘branding specialists’ in 1997. ‘We we were offered something like £3m for a five year deal,’ Shepherd recalled. ‘But the money could have been ten times that and I would not have been interested.’ Ashley’s decision to withdraw Newcastle United from sale came even though Tyneside businessman Barry Moat came close to matching Ashley’s £80m price. It has been claimed that much of the further £20m that Ashley has promised to invest in the club will go towards an overdraft that Barclays insists should be kept at £10m, the maximum the bank allows for Football League clubs. Newcastle’s overdraft recently stood at £22m.

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