Newcastle unveil ambition to boost St James Park capacity to 65,000

October 10 – Newcastle United’s owners have teased plans to expand St James Park to more than 65,000 seats in a development that would make it the second biggest stadium in the Premier League behind Manchester United’s Old Trafford.

The club announced it had begun a feasibility study on how to develop their current stands, rather than build a new stadium. The need for increased capacity goes hand-in-hand with the demand for tickets, which has rocketed over the past three seasons with the team’s upturn in league form and return to European competition.

Currently the stadium features two huge stands that dwarf their adjacent counterparts. As part of the development, Newcastle wants to raise the level of the Gallowgate, front, and East Stand, right, to match the level of the Leazes and Jackie Milburn stand.

However, an expansion to the ground is not straightforward. St James Park is surrounded by protected land making stadium development a delicate task.

The historic buildings on Leazes Terrace and residents’ right-to-light, limit major expansion of the East Stand, the smallest of the four stands. Solutions like a translucent expansion have reportedly been considered to increase the stand’s height and capacity, while maintaining light access to the street below.

There was also a historical hurdle over the expansion of the Gallowgate Stand due to the sale of Strawberry Place Land by former owner Mike Ashley to developers. The club has since regained control of the land and has made new plans for it.

If the plans to expand go ahead in their entirety, the capacity of the ground, which currently sits at 52,305, will rise by over 10,000. It is currently the seventh biggest stadium in the Premier League.

“I’d love to see it expanded,” Newcastle boss Eddie Howe said in a press conference. “If it can be done, I’m sure the club will do it at some point.

“That’s very much the club’s philosophy. If we can push things forward and improve things for the supporters, for everybody, the club will do it.

“It’s not a simple process, but we would love to get more supporters inside the stadium.”

Newcastle United will hope to carry their momentum through the international break, after picking up four wins in five, including a 4-1 thumping of a star-studded PSG. They continue their Premier League campaign on October 21, hosting Crystal Palace at St James Park.

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1718600498labto1718600498ofdlr1718600498owedi1718600498sni@g1718600498niwe.1718600498yrrah1718600498