Newcastle United side set for new stadium amid St James's Park expansion plans
Newcastle United are looking to expand St James’s Park – but it won’t be easy.
Newcastle’s owners are exploring long-term plans that could see St James’s Park expanded, a new state-of-the-art training ground and a small-scale stadium built for the club’s under-23s and women’s sides in the coming years.
Newcastle’s competitive home matches have been sold out every week since the club was taken over last October, sparking talk of an expansion of St James’s Park. But the listed buildings on Leazes Terrace and St James’ Street make expanding the East Stand and Strawberry Corner areas of the ground difficult.
And Mike Ashley’s sale of the ‘Strawberry Place’ land adjacent to St James’s Park significantly hinders Newcastle's ability to expand the Gallowgate Stand. Plans for a £120million mixed use development on the land were controversially approved by city planners in 2019.
But work is still yet to begin on the site, offering some hope that the club’s owners could purchase the land back.
Further expanding the Leazes and Milburn Stands would also be difficult given the existing size of the stands and their proximity to the Leazes conservation area.
Key figures at Newcastle have already publicly stated their intention to remain at St James’s Park and will explore every possible avenue regarding how to expand the 52,000-seater stadium.
Newcastle CEO Darren Eales told reporters: “It’s one of the areas we’re looking at. It’s a champagne problem, because we’re sold out – and it’s not a situation like the past where you’re almost giving away season tickets to fill the stadium.
"It’s an amazing location. I love the fact we’re here in the city with 108 pubs within half a mile. It’s the best ground to come to for away supporters in my view because of its location and atmosphere.
“The reality is, we are in a situation where we’re limited in capacity. We’ll obviously be looking at if there are ways we can flex that. That’s one of the things we will be looking at over time.”
Newcastle co-owner Mehrdad Ghodoussi also previously confirmed that the club is working with Newcastle Council to see how expanding the ground would work.
“Are we going to build a new stadium? No. It would be like tearing your soul out,” he told The Athletic last year. "We’ll definitely look at expanding [St James’s Park]. We're working with the council to see what we can do. There are a lot of things that need to happen first, but that’s the way forward.
“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, and we’ll look at every possibility.”
i News have reported that stadium expansion plans are in a ‘preliminary stage’ while work improving the club’s Benton training ground continues. The players have been able to enjoy improved dining facilities and changing rooms already with hydrotherapy pool facilities due to be in use very soon.
The owners’ long-term plans are to relocate the first-team’s training base to a new state-of-the-art site which will also host the club’s academy and women's sides. It has also been reported that a small stadium will be constructed that would be used as a permanent home for the women's side.