'Next few months' - Newcastle United CEO provides St James' Park expansion update

A feasibility study is underway to determine what Newcastle United can and can't do with St James' Park as they look to extend its 52,000 capacity.
St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Newcastle United CEO Darren Eales hopes the feasibility study into the possible expansion of St James' Park will be concluded in the next few months, where the findings will be discussed with supporters.

Ever since the club's £305million takeover in October 2021, there has been an unprecedented demand for tickets, leaving thousands of supporters locked out of St James'. That has led to suggestions a new state-of-the-art stadium could be built elsewhere but Eales has reiterated the hope is to remain on the current site.

'We should be hearing in the next few months...'

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"We're very much going through the process now," Eales told reporters. "But it didn't really surprise me that the level of engagement was incredible with the people feeding back, which just speaks for the volume of passion and interest there is for Newcastle United from our supporters.

St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

"That's encouraging that we have got such levels of passion and commitment but now it comes to the nuts and bolts of what is the art of the possible.

"We should be hearing in the next few months in terms of that report and getting it back, and that will be exciting to see because we will take it to the next level of, 'OK, what's possible in the next level of consultation with the supporters?'"

St James' Park has been the home of Newcastle since its birth in 1892. But with ambitions higher than ever, Eales wants to maximise matchday revenue and by the same token get more fans into the ground.

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Newcastle are currently restricted by the Grade II listed building behind the East Stand. However last year the club re-purchased the leasehold land at Strawberry Place - which will initially host a fan zone - renewing hope of expanding the Gallowgate End.

Eales hopes the feasibility study can highlight ways to increase the 52,000 capacity rather than have to entertain the possibility of moving away.

'St James’ Park is amazing, the location'

"St James’ Park is amazing, the location," Eales said. "We have all spoken about that on the record. It is part of what makes Newcastle United special. We are that cathedral on the hill. It is why we are doing the stadium feasibility to see what is possible.

"Genuinely, if we have got that ability to be able to stay in this location and to drive the revenues, and to drive capacity and to give what we’d love to, which is to give more fans the ability to watch Newcastle United that’s what we’d like to do.

Newcastle United fans ahead of the memorable win over PSG at St James' ParkNewcastle United fans ahead of the memorable win over PSG at St James' Park
Newcastle United fans ahead of the memorable win over PSG at St James' Park
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"That’s why we’re doing the feasibility study. It’s not to second guess the process. We need to see what we can do and once we get that, we’ll be able to consult with fans and say okay, here’s are the options we’ve got, is this something we are all joined together and makes sense and the hope would be to stay at St James’ Park, if that’s possible.

"We have to be cognisant, we need to drive revenues and increase capacity and is that possible is the question we have put to the experts.”

'World leaders looking at it'

Eales added: "I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me what we can and can’t do at St James’ Park, that aren’t architects. Everyone seems to be an architect!

"St James’ Park is a great location at the heart of the community, up on the hill, and if we can expand St James’ Park, then clearly that would make sense. But we have to know what’s possible. That is our number one approach, and that’s what our experts are doing now.

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"We’ve got world leaders looking at it in terms of what is architecturally possible and what that would mean from a capacity and revenue perspective.

"To look beyond that is to be second guessing, but at the moment, if there’s a way that we can expand St James’ Park, then all things being equal, that would be the route that we’d like to take."

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