St. James' Park
Address: Barrack Road,
Tyne and Wear,
Capacity: 52,305 (All-Seater)
In a city with one huge football club, it’s fitting that its home is one of the finest and most iconic across not just England, but the whole of Europe.
The site dates back to the early 19th century, but the first recorded football team to play here was Newcastle Rangers in 1880. 12 years later, two different teams, Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End, merged to form the current Newcastle United Football Club and have been at St. James’ Park ever since the club’s formation in 1892.
Location and Getting There
The ground is little more than 0.5 miles west of Newcastle City Centre. Leazes Park is to the north of the ground, Newcastle University is to the northeast, and the River Tyne is to the south.
I would refrain from travelling to St James’ Park by car if you can. The streets of Newcastle-upon-Tyne are extremely tight and finding parking, particularly for free, is pretty much impossible within close distance of the stadium itself.
The best method of reaching the ground is by rail.
Newcastle train station is just a 15 minute walk at most, though it is a fairly steep climb up to the ground from the station.
If you aren’t keen on the walk, you can take Tyne and Wear’s Metro system, and get off at the St. James stop which puts you right outside the Gallowgate End on the southern side of the stadium.
Outside the Stadium
The Gallowgate End is the stand most fans are likely to see first. Its name comes from its close proximity to the old Newcastle gallows.
The exterior is divided into two levels, and you can get to the upper level via staircases in the stadium's southeast and southwest corners. The lower level is made up mostly of glass, brickwork and large black panels, with the Nine Sports Bar and Lounge over towards the southwest corner, and the official Newcastle United Store over towards the southeast corner.
Next to the store entrance is a plaque dedicated to Joe Harvey.
Born in Doncaster on 11th June 1918, Harvey joined Newcastle United as a player in 1945, going on to play more than 200 times for the club in the Half-Back role that was common in football at the time. He retired as a player in 1953, and later became manager of Newcastle United between 1962 and 1975. His long time associated with the club included two FA Cups as a player, along with the Second Division Title Inter-Cities Fairs Cup as a manager.
Harvey passed away on 24th February 1989 at the age of 70. The plaque at St. James' Park has been in place since April 2014.
The upper level of the Gallowgate End holds the turnstiles leading to the stand's seating area and inner concourse.
Outside of the southwest corner are two statues, one of Sir Bobby Robson and the other of Alan Shearer.
Born in Sacriston on 18th February 1933, Sir Bobby Robson is well known for his illustrious managerial career which involved Newcastle United, Ipswich Town, Fulham, the England National Team, Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, Spanish club Barcelona and Portuguese clubs Sporting CP and FC Porto. Though he collected no major honours during his time with the Magpies, Robson did turn Newcastle from a team bottom of the Premier League to a team playing in European Competition.
Regarded as one of the most iconic managers in English football history, Sir Bobby Robson passed away on 31st July 2009 at the age of 76.
Alan Shearer carries truly legendary status in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Born in Gosforth in the northern part of the city on 13th August 1970, Shearer played for his beloved Newcastle United between 1996 and 2006, making over 400 appearances and scoring over 200 goals.
A prolific striker with Newcastle, Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and the England National Team, his total of 260 Premier League goals remains an all-time record that has yet to be broken. He also scored 30 goals in 63 caps for England.
Sir Bobby Robson's statue is based right outside the southwest corner of St. James' Park, whilst the Alan Shearer Statue is on a plinth next to Barrack Road (A189).
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the West Stand which is named after Jackie Milburn.
Born in Ashington on 11th May 1924, Milburn played almost 400 times for Newcastle United, scoring over 200 goals and winning the FA Cup in 1951, 1952 and 1955.
Capped 13 times by England, scoring 10 goals, Milburn passed away on 9th October 1988 at the age of 64 following lung cancer. A statue of him is in place outside of the stadium's southeast corner.
The Milburn Stand's exterior is made up mostly of brickwork and panelling, with the cantilever roof creating a maze of poles which run all the way down the back of it. The stand is so large in fact that it hangs over the path underneath, which fans can walk along as they make their way to other parts of the stadium.
Newcastle's Main Reception and Stadium Tour Entrances are based in the centre of the stand, with turnstiles spread across the brickwork base.
The northwest corner of St. James' Park follows the same large, overhanging design of the Milburn Stand, and continuing round from there brings you to the Leazes Stand, which gets its name from the large park out beyond it.
The stand's exterior once again hangs over the path that fans walk along, and turnstiles are spread across the brickwork base.
Emerging from the Leazes Stand brings you to the northeast corner, East Stand and southeast corner, which are all the same height.
The exterior has a very nice brickwork base, with a cantilever roof coming down from the top.
Along the outer wall of the East Stand are large concrete pillars, and the turnstiles into the stand are spread evenly in the gaps between them.
Inside the Stadium
The Gallowgate End is divided into two tiers.
The lower level is much larger than the one above and divided into three sections, though you can freely get between each of them. The seats down towards the front are light grey in colour, whilst the seats at the back and in the top tier are dark grey in colour. Executive boxes are in place at the back of the southwest corner.
The Gallowgate End's cantilever roof means that there are no supporting pillars coming down from above and so your view from anywhere inside is perfectly clear and well protected.
The Milburn Stand is the largest of the four at St. James' Park.
It follows a similar design to the adjacent Gallowgate End, but has an additional tier of dark grey seating up above a row of executive boxes. Directors' seating blocks are based in the centre of the middle tier, with the changing rooms, tunnel and dugouts based down and near the front.
The Milburn Stand's cantilever roof means that there are no supporting pillars coming down from above and so your view from anywhere inside is perfectly clear. A large transparent windshield is in place above the southwest corner that protects all those inside the upper tier.
The northwest corner and Leazes Stand follow a very similar design to the adjacent Milburn Stand. The top tier is fully connected and so forms a continuous strip of seats that runs along the western and northern sides of the stadium.
Much like the Gallowgate End and Milburn Stand, both the northwest corner and Leazes Stand have no supporting pillars coming down from them, and so your view from inside is perfectly clear. A windshield is in place above the northeast corner that protects every row in the upper tier, and attached to this windshield is a giant electronic screen that shows action replays and a live scoreboard during the match.
The East Stand, northeast and southeast corners are similar in height to the adjacent Gallowgate End. Seats are split evenly between light grey in colour at the bottom and dark grey in colour at the top.
Like the rest of the stadium, your view is perfectly clear from anywhere inside because of the stand's cantilever roof, and the whole seating area is very well protected from the elements.
Away fans are housed in the very top tier of the Leazes Stand. They take up the blocks nearest to the northeast corner, with either more or less seats made available depending on the size of the travelling crowd.
The location of the away section makes St. James' Park infamous amongst supporters. Getting from the ground outside the Leazes Stand turnstiles to the very back row for example requires you to go up 199 individual steps (I've counted). By the time you're done with an away game here, you are going to have given a seriously good workout to your calves!
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The Hancock (2A Hancock Street, NE2 4PU) (Popular with Students and Away Supporters)
-The Head of Steam (2 Neville Street, NE1 5EN) (Popular with Away Supporters)
-The Newcastle Tap (4 Neville Street, NE1 5EN) (Popular with Away Supporters)
-Nine Sports Bar and Lounge (St. James' Park, NE1 4ST) (Within the Gallowgate End's exterior)
-Okana Newcastle (48 Westgate Road, NE1 1TT) (Home and Away Supporters)
-The Percy Arms (Percy Street, NE1 7RW) (Home and Away Supporters)
One of the biggest and most famous grounds in the whole United Kingdom, everyone who knows football knows about St James’ Park and how magnificent it is. The stadium looks great from every angle and the views inside are truly spectacular, especially if you can make it all the way to the very top.
If you are ever thinking of putting a football stadium bucket list together, this has to be right up there at the top.