Newcastle United

Newcastle United: Steve Wraith discusses Sports Direct advertising at St. James’ Park

Image for Newcastle United: Steve Wraith discusses Sports Direct advertising at St. James’ Park

Newcastle United presenter Steve Wraith has discussed the future of the Sports Direct branding at St. James’ Park following the departure of Mike Ashley.

Ashley and Newcastle United fans certainly had a strained relationship during his tenure, with some of his decisions not going down especially well with the supporters. Arguably one of the most controversial decisions that he made was when he renamed the club’s stadium from St. James’ Park to the Sports Direct Arena in 2011.

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Despite the name being dropped eventually, the branding around the stadium has remained as Ashley continued to push his sportswear brand.

However, despite Ashley no longer being a part of the club following the club’s takeover last week, according to Wraith, who was speaking on the latest edition of NUFC Matters, it appears as though the Sports Direct branding will remain for some time:

“I believe it will be a gradual decline of that, that’s what I’ve been told. I feel that there will just be a removal of it, but it won’t be quite as sudden. But I don’t think there’s any long-term plans for Sports Direct to remain in the stadium.”

TIF Thoughts on Steve Wraith’s comments about Sports Direct and Newcastle United…

Do you think there were positives from Mike Ashley's reign?

No, not a single one

No, not a single one

Yes, there have been a few

Yes, there have been a few

Whilst it isn’t a big change in the grand scheme of things, it’s not as if Ashley is still going to be having a say in how the club is being run. It does make sense that the club try to get rid of as much Ashley-related paraphernalia as they possibly can.

It is very much a case of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ up on Tyneside, and given the toxicity that existed between the club and the previous owner, there shouldn’t really be anything to even suggest that Ashley was there in the first place.

It’s all about a ‘new era’ at St. James’ Park, and that should mean that the club shouldn’t be holding onto any sort of remnants of the Ashley ownership, with the club down putting their own marker on how the stadium looks.

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Freelance sports journalist & broadcaster.