Amanda Staveley's ambitious Newcastle United move

When Newcastle United was taken over late last year, the priority was investment on the pitch.

Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 10:49 am

But the club’s new owners were determined not to neglect the work done by the club in the community.

And co-owners Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi met Steve Beharall, head of the Newcastle United Foundation, soon after October’s £305million takeover.

The Foundation this week celebrated the opening of NUCASTLE, it’s £8million new home close to St James’s Park. The sports and education hub, which has a rooftop 4G pitch, will be home to more than 30 community programmes – and aims to welcome at least 100,000 visitors in its first 12 months.

Former United striker Shola Ameobi, a Foundation trustee, said: "One of the first things they (the club’s new owners) did when they came, they had a meeting with Steve Beharall, just to understand what the Foundation was and what it did, because they wanted to make sure the club had that connection and had an impact (in the community).

“Every time I’ve met with Amanda and Mehrdad, they’ve been nothing short of amazing in terms of what they want to do now, their plans moving forward.

"It only bodes well for us as a club and a Foundation with the vision they have. I’m sure they’ll talk about it more as we move forward. They’ve been fantastic throughout this whole process.”

Staveley and Ghodoussi are “benchmarking” against top Premier League clubs, according to Ameobi.

Newcastle United co-owners Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi at St James's Park.

And this show of ambition, following years of under-investment under previous owner Mike Ashley, has brought clarity to the club’s vision following what Ameobi describes as a “murky” period in the club’s long history.

“As an ex-sportsman now, the one thing that you want is to know that you’re moving forward, building something,” said Ameobi, the club’s loan coordinator.

“It’s been very frustrating these past few years not really knowing where we’re going as a club and what the vision was. It was very murky.

"To have owners who are doing their due diligence as we speak in terms of where the club’s at, but really want to benchmark against other top Premier League clubs.

Shola Ameobi at the opening of NUCASTLE, the Newcastle United Foundation's £8million new home.

"That’s where they want to be. That’s where the fans want to be. For me as a fan as well, it’s really exciting.”

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