By Steve
Friday 11 Nov 2011 16:07:00
Browse all Brian Hall articles



Dear Mr Ashley


Weh, that is it, eh? The wonderful world of brands being King has finally crashed into a rather special place in the history, culture, heritage, of a very, very big North East institution, as a result of your latest Big Idea. As a 6 year old, I made my first visit to St James Park, home of more than just a football club. A place which held so, so many memories and associations for generations upon generations of people. A venue which was simply part of peoples' lives up here, and not just for those who actually had been in the ground called St James Park. My Mam, for example, never, ever did - but it was an essential part of her life.


Now. This is an emotional and angry letter, and I make no apologies for that. Without passion, people are nothing. And yet yesterday, you, or rather your would-be spokesman came along to tell us of your latest scheme. It seems that you are a capitalist, rather large Londoner cad - how is that for restraint - who seemingly feels he can simply wipe out a name for commercial reasons, themselves rather dubious and risky ones, I might add.


Branding used to be associated a long time ago with ranches, cattle, sheep, that kind of thing. Time to take the restraining glove off now. Apologies to you, by the way. I can think of a brand which should be placed on your rather large arse, Mr Mike Ashley - greedy fat cockney bastard at And I believe the time is imminent when we in this remote part of your world, will unite to say..........enough is enough, Mr Cash. You are not ganna take away our culture at the drop of your very expensive hat, old son.


Many things have been stripped away from this city and region.You probably know little of that, of course. Yet we tried, and often succeeded to adapt to change, some misguided.  Shipbuilding, coal, steel, engineering, manufacturing, were stripped away. The list is endless. But believe you me, Mr A and your oh so ineffective Voice, Mr Llambias, this one is not going to be easy for you. Call us backward in our thinking, call us too sentimental, call us unable to look into the Brand New World, if you like. We dont care. We know that we are right. That there is SOMETHING in a name.


And that SOMETHING is special here. We like our Tyne Bridge, for example, and woe betide any company who wants to rename it Flash Brand Bridge Over Equally, Mr Ashley, we happen to be very proud of our football stadium called St James Park. Maybe we do not live in your world, Thank God. We live in a very different world to you. A world that values such things as heritage, culture, memories, and history. That partly explains our traditional resilence, and certainly should indicate to you that you have just crossed a Very Big Line.


If , and it is an if, you can get some decent advice from your Lackeys like Mr Llambias, you may just have to rethink, eh? We not only have that tradition of resilience, but we also are not quite as daft as you might think. Alongside our emotions, we tend to have a capacity of being able to work out ways of resistance. True, we have finally had to face failure on some fronts, to say the least. But do not underestimate our ability to coordinate all our talents, our community, to try to defend a culture of which we are so proud.


Yours, emotionally, determined, and not daft, marra





PS        Keep your empty, vacuous world of posh meals and casinos. We will keep ours - which includes, amongst many things, a stadium............called St James Park. 


PPS             I have just spoken to the Committee who run the Annual Blaydon Races event which first took place in 1862. They confirmed that they are not prepared to rename the occasion as RacesOver

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