Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe reacts to potential St James's Park change for fans
Co-owner Mehrdad Ghodoussi last week floated the idea of a 60,000 or 65,000-capacity stadium for Newcastle United.
"We’ll definitely look at expanding it,” Ghodoussi told The Athletic. “We're working with the city and council to see what we can do. There are a lot of things that need to happen first, but that’s the way forward.
"If we can get it to 60 or 65,000 thousand, amazing, and we’ll look at every possibility.”
Such a project would be costly, and it would also face massive challenges given that St James’s Park is hemmed in on one side. Also, former owner Mike Ashley controversially sold a parcel of land behind the Gallowgate End to developers, though work is yet to begin on the site.
As the club looks into the feasibility of adding seats, it could make a less dramatic change to the fabric of the stadium by allowing fans to stand safely.
A number of Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, have introduced safe standing areas as part of a trial this season, and rail seating has been championed by the Newcastle United Supporters Trust.
Officials from Newcastle looked at the safe standing area at Celtic Park in the 2016/17 season – and this was reported back to supporters at a Fans Forum meeting in February 2017.
The minutes of the meeting read: "The club explained that members of the senior team had paid a productive visit to Celtic Park to explore the merits of safe standing, but that it will await the outcome of current pilots and legislative discussions before further investigating viability.”
Eddie Howe, United’s head coach, would welcome the introduction of safe standing, having stood himself when he started attending matches.
“Look, if it was safe, and that sounds a bit of a cliche, and it’s wanted and desired by the supporters, I’m sure the club will look to try and make that a reality,” said Hwe.
"I’m all for it. Going back to when I first watched football in the stands, I loved standing and watching a game.
"I think it helped me feel a bit more involved in the game.”