Saturday, 21 November 2009
The past couple of weeks appear to have been a period of dust settling at SJP. It must have been at least two weeks since the press have been able to snigger in the direction of NE1... That said they had a damn good chortle prior to then.
Ashley has delivered his ultimate kick in the proverbials to the fans by trying to re-name the stadium. I've wondered this often in the past, but just who is advising Ashley? The re-naming has been positioned as 'temporary re-branding' until the end of the season. Now, I'm no marketing expert, but when has temporary re-branding ever worked before? The aim is that Ashley's firm sponsor the ground until the end of the season and then some other company will take over, oh and cough up the cash for a video screen at SJP. Apparently:
"Newcastle are currently targeting concerns including electronics giants and airlines, preferably with links to Far East and its attendant merchandising and marketing opportunities."
So that means that we can look forward to tales of Ashley and Llambias having another failed trip to some Far East hotspots [gawd, I'm even starting to write like a tabloid hack, as this is so predictable] along with the suitably embarrassing pictures. Doesn't Ashley make his money from retail? A quick Google search will show him that re-branding doesn't work. Pizza Hut to Pasta Hut, lasted no more than a few months and I'm of the generation that still looks for a Marathon bar or Opal Fruits (rather than Snickers or Starburst) when I wander into the newsagents. Just the same as when I walk up to watch a game of football, I'll be going to St James' Park.
The other problem is that it sounds like a crap email address: sportsdirect.com@stjames'park - its just utter pants. I can see Dave Whelan being the only one who would make even an offer for these "prestigious naming rights", JJB@stjames'park - has a ring to it, don't you think?
The only other thing that seems to have happened off the pitch is that Shola has decided that he is a Nigerian after all (odd, how he mentions this after Nigeria have qualified for the World Cup?). No doubt Hughton has his head in his hands, as if Shola makes the team, he'll be at the African Cup of Nations for all of January. But, in reality, when was the last time that Shola was fit for a whole month? Maybe it will give him some impetus to perform until then, so the team can only benefit from that.
Anyway, come Monday night I'm breaking my temporary leave of absence since the first game of the season - I'll be at Preston. The usual mixture of anticipation and fear are starting to descend.
Howay the lads...