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Stadium gates returned to St James' Park
WROUGHT iron gates which adorned St James’ Park between 1989 and 1999 have been officially unveiled as a monument at the stadium.
Newcastle United sponsors Wonga.com has donated funding so the gates can be lifted from secluded farmland, fully restored and reintroduced to a new site on Barrack Road.
They were removed when the ground was expanded to a capacity of 52,000 at the turn of the millennium.
The gates were originally taken down and transported to farmland at Woolsington Hall in Northumberland by former Newcastle United owner Sir John Hall, with the intention of erecting them at a proposed new club training centre on the property’s estate.
When planning permission was denied and the club eventually changed hands, the gates remained hidden away beneath dense undergrowth until almost two years ago, when a project involving supporters group NUFC Fans United and Sir John’s Magpie Group led to discussions with club officials.
Steve Hastie of NUFC Fans United, said: “From the moment the historic ground name St James' Park was removed, we made it our aim to do something that preserved the name in the city.
“This monument does exactly that and we are delighted that our perseverance paid off.”
After Wonga stepped in to provide the funding required to resurrect the gates in June 2013, the gates were lifted and refurbished by Tyneside firm Just Signs and Lighting Limited and will now stand in front of the Milburn Stand as a symbol of the strong bond between the club and its supporters.
The gates were unveiled at 11am on Saturday ahead of Newcastle’s first game of the season against West Ham United by Sir John Hall and eight year-old Junior Magpies supporters’ club member Finley McGhie, who won a competition to take part in the ceremony.
They will be joined by supporters and representatives from NUFC Fans United, the Magpie Group, Newcastle United and Wonga, as well as James Douglas Lumley, who designed the gates for M Aynsley & Sons at the firm’s Heber Street works, which operated near the stadium until 1994.
Malcolm Dix, on behalf of Sir John Hall and the Magpie Group, added: “It is wonderful that after almost two years, the gates have returned to St James' Park.”
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