Some United supporters it has to be said were fairly laid back about the attempt by the current “southern-based tenants” to consign the name St James’ Park to history. The geordies amongst us, who were brought up the correct way, refused to give up our history without a fight. The name means a lot to us. It did to our fathers and grandfathers. There’s too much of our lives, our memories, our passion and our families histories tied up in the cathedral on the hill. It will always be St James’ Park.
Some people wondered about Newcastle City Council’s support for the fans’ view – in refusing to change any of the signage in the city – all signs still point to St James’ Park. A publicity stunt? No – an acceptance of reality? yes. The southern tenants squatting in St James’ Park have even muttered about taking legal action against the City Council – now that would be a popular move Mr Ashley – NOT!
The point is that the naming of the ground after a T-shirt shop is transitory, temporary. Even the current tenants admit it, and claim to be actively seeking another sponsor, another name to plaster all over St James’ Park and point at the TV cameras, in return for a fast buck. So why should the city council spend ratepayers money changing the signs, just to have to spend even more ratepayers money changing them again when a new sponsor is found? And all of this when the country is allegedly skint, and the London Government is taking money away from our council (and the NHS, the schools etc) to pay for their 6-week Olympic extravaganza?
One of the benefits of the City Council’s stance on signage, it has emerged, is that St James’ Park is to remain on Ordnance Survey maps. That’s right folks – St James’ Park – it’s official – it says so on this here map!
In a letter to a local Newcastle MP, Government Mapping Overlord-ess Vanessa Lawrence has confirmed that they will side with public opinion on this matter – and St James’ Park will continue to be shown on Ordnance Survey Maps.
“Wor Vanessa” told the Shields Gazette:
“If the new name is adopted by the owners of the stadium but this does not lead to a change in direction signage by the local authority, then the Ordnance Survey would not change its mapping because the new name lacked evidence of longevity and extensiveness of usage.”
“Ordnance Survey takes the view that the change of name is temporary, and it will not change the published name of St James’s Park at this time.”
Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah said: “I am very happy that Ordnance Survey recognise the importance of St James’s Park, and that they will be joining fans in keeping that name alive.”
“I will now be writing to Google and others organisations to seek to ensure that whenever people see Newcastle on a map, they see St James’s Park. It is an important part of our city’s heritage, and should be recognised as such.”
If you bump into “Wor Vanessa” before I do, tell her from me there’s a drink waiting on the bar for her any time she’s passing this way. Well done lass.