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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Llambias reaffirms stadium plan

Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias has re-affirmed the club's intention to sell the naming rights for St James' Park.

Llambias and owner Mike Ashley sparked fury in the city when they changed the name of the stadium to the Sports Direct Arena in an attempt to demonstrate the benefits to potential buyers.

Despite the furore, and an admission that they still refer to the ground by its old name, they insist they need to maximise all possible revenue streams if they are to maintain the club's progress.

Writing in his programme notes ahead of the Premier League clash with leaders Manchester City, Llambias said: "As a club, we have made some bold decisions this season, perhaps none bigger or more emotive that our plan to sell the stadium's naming rights, but every single decision is aimed at making this football club as successful and competitive as possible.

"Naming rights is clearly an emotional subject, and as I said in a recent interview, both myself and Mike Ashley still call the stadium St James' Park and we will continue to do so.

"Whilst we are not from the North East, we respect and understand the passion, the history and the tradition that surrounds this football club, but it is crucial that we make the most of this commercial opportunity because while we have matched the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea on the pitch this season, they are in a different league when it comes to their sponsorship deals.

"Last season, we brought in £15.7 million in commercial revenue. This sounds like a lot of money, but when you compare it to the £50 million that Tottenham Hotspur generated, you can begin to see where I am coming from.

"This is not about trampling on people's feelings for the club. It's about generating the kind of money that could bring in another Papiss Cisse, another Yohan Cabaye or another Cheick Tiote."

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