November 4, 2009 / 4:27 PM / 10 years ago

Welcome to the James' Park stadium

A general view of Newcastle United's stadium, St James' Park, in Newcastle April 7, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

LONDON (Reuters) - Newcastle United have angered fans with plans to rename their ground the James’ Park Stadium until the end of the season.

The Championship (second division) English club said last month they were looking for offers for the naming rights to St James’ Park, their home for 117 years.

Sportswear retailer Sports Direct is controlled by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who has said he is committed to the club after failing to find anyone prepared to meet his 80 million pounds asking price.

“We will showcase Sports Direct until the end of the season,” managing director Derek Llambias told the BBC. “I’m sure we’re going to get a sponsor in for next season.”

He said, however, that the existing St James’ Park name would remain as part of any future renaming.

Supporters gave the announcement a frosty reception on the Newcastle Chronicle website (

“The idea of turning the history of St James’ Park into something that resembles an e-mail address absolutely beggars belief,” said Mark Jensen, editor of United fanzine The Mag.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin; editing by Ken Ferris

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