by Nathan Critchlow
This week Newcastle United became the latest club to transform their hallowed St. James Park into a rather large, noisy advertising hoarding. No longer will the name St. James Park be synonymous with the great memories of Alan Shearer or Les Ferdinand but more with the oversized mugs you seem to get free with every order. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen that’s right welcome to ‘The Sports Direct Arena’.
However Newcastle United are not in bad company, joining the name selling elites of Arsenal (The Emirates) or Manchester City (The Etihad Stadium), whilst others clubs like Chelsea have openly discussed such deals. Seemingly it won’t be long before the guide to Premier League grounds resembles the FTSE 100 more than one of Europe’s top footballing leagues.
Naturally the move has been met with uproar from the Newcastle United faithful. However the staunch North-Easterners should rejoice, safe in the notion they don’t belong to one of these unlucky ten.
1) Pizza-Hut Park: Home to Major League Soccer team FC Dallas, the Pizza-Hut Stadium (see top of page) has been rather brilliantly nick named ‘The Oven’ by the club’s own fans. It is rumoured if the fans have to wait more than 30 minutes for a goal they get their money back.
2) Wankdorf Stadium: An utter classic. Even more brilliantly the Wankdorf stadium is home to Swiss side Young Boys. Young Boys? Wankdorf? You couldn’t make it up.
3) KitKat Crescent: Home to Conference side York City. It’s ridiculous. Give us a break?
4) Dick’s Sporting Goods Park: Another wonder from our transatlantic cousins, also affectionately nick-named ‘The Dick’. Brilliantly ‘The Dick’ is home to equally daft named Colorado Rapids football team.
5) Mitsubishi Forklift Stadion: Dutch minnows Almere City FC probably thought nobody would notice when they called their 3,000 capacity ground after a piece of warehouse machinery. Unfortunately, everybody did. Not a great move from a club nicknamed the ‘The Sheepheads’ (seriously). Perhaps the stadium name will help elevate them up the Dutch footballing ladder.
6) Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium: Although now known as the UPC Arena, between 1997-2005 this stadium, home of Struz Graz, paid homage to one of Austria’s finest export. Funnily enough it was Schwarzenegger himself who asked for the name to be changed, after as governor of California he offended the majority of Austria in a political incident in 2005. Bizarrely if that hadn’t happened it would still be called that today.
7) Gay Meadow: Home to Shrewsbury Town. Let the child in you laugh. Nobody will judge.
8) Middelfart Stadium: Home to Dannish Minnows Middelfart G&BK, it is said the atmosphere can sometimes be a bit stale.
9) Hunky Dorys Park: After winning the Irish League title in 2007 Drogheda United decided to treat themselves to a ridiculous stadium name.
10) Cash Point Arena: Another pearler from the Austrians and home to 2nd division team SCR Rheindorf Altach. To use text speak they aren’t terribly good ATM.
You can follow Nathan on Twitter @critch_89