Inside Premier League giants' abandoned plans for new 70,000-seat stadium dubbed 'San Siro of the north' | The Sun

NEWCASTLE planned to build a new 70,000-capacity stadium before abandoning the idea.

The venue was dubbed the "San Siro of the north" by former chairman Sir John Hall but construction never began.

Instead, the club chose to upgrade St. James' Park following opposition from pressure groups and local residents.

Newcastle unveiled plans to build their new ground in 1997, with the proposed stadium set to be one of the biggest in Europe.

With a capacity of 70,000, it would have been bigger than Anfield, the Emirates Stadium and the London Stadium.

The new stadium was to be built at Castle Leazes Moor with an estimated cost of £90million.



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Meanwhile, St. James' Park would be converted into a leisure complex with an indoor arena and running track.

Fresh off a second place finish in the Premier League, Newcastle hoped to establish themselves amongst the elite with their new home.

The design for the proposed stadium included a three-tiered bowl shape, similar to that of the San Siro in Milan.

However, various groups opposed the plans and teamed up with local residents to shut down the plans.

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Newcastle planned to spend £90million on the projectCredit: Taylor Tulip & Hunter Architects
Local residents opposed the plans to build a stadium at Castle Leazes MoorCredit: Taylor Tulip & Hunter Architects

A petition against the new stadium gained 36,000 signatures thanks to support from the Friends of the Earth group and campaigners No Business on the Moor.

Their work caused the need for a public enquiry before the plans could be approved, forcing the club to rethink amid concerns over the cost and length of the process.

By November 1997, Newcastle had submitted alternative plans to upgrade and extend St. James' Park, increasing the capacity from 35,000 to 52,000.

Reflecting on the ordeal, former executive director Russell Jones said in 2020: "It was certainly going to be state of the art. There was a problem with English heritage.

"We ended up going to the Fine Arts commission and while it was backed by the Council everyone else was against it so we ended up expanding the current stadium and the idea for a bigger stadium just disappeared."

Following their takeover of the club in 2021, Newcastle's Saudi owners have reportedly been keen to further extend St. James' Park.

Their rumoured plans include adding 13,000 seats to increase the stadium's capacity to 65,000.

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