Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Stadium name row reaches Commons

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley bought the club for 134m in 2007

A Tyneside MP has tabled a Commons motion calling for Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley to reconsider selling the naming rights to St James' Park.

The plans, designed to maximise the club's commercial revenues, were announced last week.

But David Clelland, MP for Tyne Bridge, said the name had been "an integral part of the city since 1892".

Mr Clelland, a fan for 40 years, urged Mr Ashley to "think again." The club has declined to comment.

Mr Ashley's ownership of Newcastle, which he bought for £134m in 2007, has proved a turbulent period.

His popular decision to hire Kevin Keegan for a second spell as manager ended badly when Keegan walked out after eight months in a disagreement over transfers.

He was later awarded £2m damages at a constructive dismissal hearing.

Mr Clelland said he expected support from MPs at the House of Commons.

David Clelland
Mr Clelland has been a Newcastle supporter for 40 years

He added: "I've been a Newcastle fan for 40 years and this is about the very culture of the club and of the city.

"I would like to think Mr Ashley would think again about doing away with the heritage of the club and find another way to raise the money he needs.

"No-one would fault him in trying to put cash into the club, but this is not the way to do it.

"Mr Ashley has not been particularly good for the club. He's had his day."

The 2008 season finished with the Magpies being relegated from the Premier League.

Last week, Mr Ashley ended his attempt to sell the club when a deal with businessman Barry Moat fell through.

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