St. James’ Park was built in 1880 and is now the home of Newcastle United. The ground is located in Newcastle upon Tyne in England and is one of the oldest association football grounds in the country.
Being the largest stadium in the North-East, St. James’ Park has a capacity of 52,338 and a pitch that measures 110m by 73m with a hybrid turf covering it.
The record attendance of 68,386 spectators was set in 1930 for a clash against Chelsea.
Even though Newcastle have used it as their safe haven since 1892, football was played at St. James’ Park as early as 1880 when it housed Newcastle Rangers. The next tenants were Newcastle West End and following their merger with Newcastle East End, Newcastle United were born, settling at St. James’ Park in 1892.
Interestingly enough, the Magpies are now known for their black-and-white colours but Newcastle United actually played in red and white until as late as 1904 when they finally switched to their iconic outfits. As for the stadium’s layout, the first developments were made when the initial stands were introduced with an all-standing area that comprised 30,000 places at Gallowgate End.
In 1905, it doubled in capacity with the addition of a Main Stand along with other stands, making it a state-of-the-art stadium that even included a swimming pool. In the decade between 1920 and 1930, there were huge plans for redevelopment but following some planning disputes, Newcastle would only erect a small roof over the Leazes Terrace side, now known as the Sir John Hall Stand.
In 1950s, they got floodlights but nothing of note was done at St. James’ Park in the following years due to more planning disputes and financial reasons, culminating in an idea to relocate to a different ground altogether. Still, that was also shelved and in 1971, an agreement to develop was finally reached. This would result in an improvement to the existing stands, some of which were demolished, replaced and renamed as well.
The major improvements, however, arrived with the club’s takeover by Sir John Hall, who invested heavily in the stadium with the first expansion coming in 1993 as the Sir John Hall stand was erected, the Gallowgate End was rebuilt, the Milburn Stand refurbished and a new pitch, drainage and floodlights also installed.
In the late 1990s, the club almost vacated St. James’ Park and moved into Leazes Park to the north. Everything was already in place but the protests and some political bickering resulted in Newcastle redeveloping their current home instead. Some years later, the expansion started with the capacity booming once again as the stands were demolished and replaced. The construction finished in 2000 after an investment of £42m, resulting in a new capacity of 52,143.
In 2005 the Gallowgate was redeveloped and the club added a bar named Shearer’s after club icon Alan Shearer. There were further expansion plans in 2007 and once Mike Ashley took over the club, new works on St. James’ Park were started. Interestingly, the stadium’s name was also changed on multiple occasions due to naming rights.
The ground was modernised over the years with little improvements here and there and it will be interesting to see what the reported new owners decide is best for St. James’ Park in the near future.
All tickets to watch Newcastle United at St. James’ Park can be found on the club’s official website. The prices do vary depending on multiple factors but the adult ticket costs around £30.
The Magpies also offer memberships and a season ticket scheme to their fans as well.
https://www.nufc.co.uk/ – Official website of Newcastle United
https://www.nufc.co.uk/tickets/ – Newcastle United Ticket Office
https://www.nufc.co.uk/club/history/history-of-our-home/ – The history of St. James’ Park