Newcastle United @ St James’ Park


Newcastle United @ St James’ Park with thanks to Above All Images/Ian Hay

Newcastle has a fierce local rivalry with Sunderland, and the two clubs have engaged in the Tyne-Wear derby since 1898. The club's traditional kit colours are black and white striped shirts, black shorts and black socks.  Until 1894 Newcastle played in red shirts and white shorts. Their traditional crest takes elements of the city coat of arms, which features two grey seahorses.

The following text is taken from the book, Football Grounds, and was written by Cassandra Wells.

Newcastle United began life as East End FC.  The club formed in 1881 and first played at Chillingham Road in Heaton before moving to St James’ Park in 1892.  Early facilities were very basic and the pitch had a distinctive slant.  Following the club’s promotion in 1898, the ground’s capacity of 15,000 was severely stretched.  The next year an extra four acres were leased to the club, so they relocated the pitch and moved tons of soil to even out the surface.  They cut terracing into the banks of the Leazes Park End and Leazes Terrace.  In 1905, after losing the FA Cup final but winning the League, Newcastle drew the largest crowds in the League, so they began revamping the stadium.  The wooden stands were cleared, three sides of banking were expanded, terraced and wire barriers added.  The West Stand was built with seating for 4,680, beneath which was a swimming pool for the players.  The ground opened in November 1905 with a new capacity of 65,000.  The 1920s saw more improvements, with yet another pitch laid.  A new cover was put on the Leazes Park End in 1930 and plans were drawn up to extend the other sides, although the council rejected these.  The same year a record crowd of 68,386 fans saw Newcastle take on Chelsea; at this time the average gate was over 56,000.  The Magpies had three FA Cup victories between 1951 and 1955, which sent profits soaring. However, every attempt to expand the ground was rejected and a feud developed between the club and the council.  In 1971, the club were finally granted a 99-year lease on the ground and permission to build a new 3,400-seater stand backing onto Leazes Terrace.  The next major development came in 1987 when the 6,607 seater Jackie Milburn Stand was built.  Sir John Hall joined the board in 1992 and he took full control of the club in 1994.  He spent £23.5 million on completely redeveloping St James’ Park, with all-seater stands at each end and corner, and additional tiers on the north and west sides and the north-west corner, raising capacity to 52,327.

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