Newcastle fans have long mocked Sunderland's pink seats, but does St James's Park need a facelift?
Newcastle United fans have long poked fun at the pink seats at the Stadium of Light.
But does St James’s Park need a facelift?
Some fans think so, and photographs have been circulated online of a damp toilet and peeling paint.
The club, however, has responded robustly to suggestions the stadium, the seventh-biggest in the Premier League, has been neglected under Mike Ashley’s ownership.
United insist that the stadium is well maintained.
Year by year, facilities are being improved, according to the club.
The facelift at Sunderland’s home stadium, meanwhile, is well underway.
Next week, 4,000 new seats will be installed in the North Stand of the Stadium of Light. The last pink seat should be gone by the end of the club’s League One campaign.
Sunderland supporters are helping to replace the old, faded seats.
Speaking in the summer, chairman Stewart Donald said: “Replacing the seats, and making the Stadium of Light somewhere we can all be proud of again, is just part of our project to work to restore this great club to what it should be.”
Newcastle fans have long been proud of their home, and rightly so.
The stadium was expanded to a capacity of more than 52,000 in 2000.
Since then, shiny new stands and new stadiums have been built elsewhere.
The newest is Tottenham Hotspur’s new 62,000-seat home, which is nearing completion.
Does St James’s Park need to be made great again?
The stadium, which dominates the city’s skyline, is an iconic landmark. It always will be.
United have acknowledged that there are some issues that still need to be addressed at St James’s Park, and they stress work is ongoing.
However, the club, which has a dedicated facilities team at the stadium, insist that there was “significant” investment in the ground – and the pitch – over the summer months.
The club put in new raised seating decks, and changing places facilities, for disabled fans. A sensory room was also completed.
A number of toilet blocks have been refurbished at the stadium, which has the equivalent pipework to 10,000 homes.
Remedial work has been carried out elsewhere, while the East Stand roof has been repainted.
The club also say the mouldy toilet pictured on social media has been repaired, and the damaged ceiling tiles replaced.
United have also asked fans to report any issues with the stadium to stewards. Every report, they say, will be logged and investigated.
The upkeep of St James’s ark is a sensitive issue for fans – and the club, which had an average attendance of 51,992 last season.
The stadium, an imposing citadel, means so much to so many people.