Newcastle consider stadium change amid internal refurbishment

Newcastle United will consider introducing safe standing at St James’s Park.

Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 5:03 pm

The Government this week revealed that all clubs in the top two tiers of English football can now apply to operate licensed safe standing areas next season.

Premier League sides Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur took part in a safe standing pilot last season, and Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers will now join them in offering designated areas for home and away fans from the start of the 2022-23 season.

Dated concourses and hospitality areas at St James’s Park are being refurbished this summer ahead of the new campaign.

Fans at St James's Park last October.

And the club’s new owners – who have a longer-term aim of expanding St James’s Park – are looking at making other changes to the fabric of the stadium to improve the matchday experience for fans.

A safe standing area is under consideration, as is an expanded family section.

The club had a relatively low spend on infrastructure during Mike Ashey’s time as owner.

United spent just £200,000 on infrastructure in 2019/20. The club spent just £11million on infrastructure under Ashley up to July 2020, according to analysis from Swiss Ramble.

Meanwhile, sports Minister Nigel Huddleston had said in May he was “minded” to offer the option to all Premier League and Championship clubs on the back of interim findings from independent research on the pilot.

The pilot marked the end of a blanket ban on standing in the top two tiers of English football, which had been in place for more than 25 years, with those clubs having been required to provide all-seated accommodation since August 1994 in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

It is understood Liverpool are not considering introducing safe standing for next season, but may extend or increase their existing rail seating provision having run a separate club pilot last season.

Huddleston told the PA news agency: “We’re confident now that we can roll out safe standing.

“We’ve engaged with lots of stakeholders, including, importantly, with Hillsborough families, because it’s really important that we do take everybody’s views and opinions on board.

“Fans want it, we can do it safely, and I think it’s a good day for football.”