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Newcastle United regains control of St James’ Park land

Featured image credit: Rob Ridley

Newcastle United has reacquired land south of St James’ Park, amid ongoing efforts to improve the home of the English Premier League football club.

The land at Strawberry Place, behind the Gallowgate End stand, was sold off by United’s previous owner, Mike Ashley, back in 2019. Local newspaper The Chronicle said the club’s Saudi-backed ownership has been in talks to regain the land from the early days following its takeover.

Developers Helios Real Estate and Marrico acquired the site from Ashley’s MASH Holdings before selling it on to property developers High Street Group, who were then taken over by lenders Reditum Capital.

United is yet to officially comment on its plans for the land, but the Daily Mail said the immediate plan is to transform the area into a fan zone, with the longer-term goal being a development that co-exists with the stadium.

With the Milburn and Sir John Hall stands currently at capacity and the East Stand backing on to Leazes Terrace, a road featuring Grade 1-listed buildings, the Gallowgate End has been viewed as the stand most able to accommodate any potential stadium expansion of the 52,300-capacity venue.

St James’ Park has sold out for every game this season, but The Chronicle notes that redevelopment of the Gallowgate End has always been described as a structural challenge due to the foundations of the Metro station located beneath it.

In November, it was revealed that United’s ownership group, which comprises Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media, had invested a further £70.4m (€79.2m/$84.9m) of equity into the club, with infrastructure improvements among the priorities.

The new injection of funds brought the ownership group’s investment to over £450m and followed previous investments to improve the stadium, upgrade the club’s training facilities and recruit senior executives to build out its commercial operations.

An investment consortium led by the PIF, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, completed its acquisition of Newcastle in October 2021 in a deal worth a reported £305m. The Premier League approved the takeover after receiving assurances from the new owners that the Saudi Arabian state would not be directly involved in running the club.