Man charged after painting 'St James' at Newcastle United's stadium


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The Independent Online

A 29-year-old man has been charged with criminal damage at Newcastle United's stadium after its old name was painted on a wall.

There was outrage yesterday when workmen were filmed removing the St James' Park lettering from the famous ground, which has been renamed the Sports Direct Arena.

Overnight the old name was daubed in white paint close to where the lettering had been removed.

More workmen were seen this morning removing the paint.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "At 1.57am today a man was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage after a wall was vandalised at the Newcastle United ground.

"Michael Atkinson, 29, of Hareydene, Newbiggin Hall, Newcastle, has been charged with criminal damage and is due to appear before Newcastle Magistrates on March 7."

Newcastle United announced the name change in November, ending almost 120 years of history.

However, the city council has said it will continue to use the St James' Park name, as will large sections of the Newcastle fanbase.

The football club declined to comment on the incident.

Meanwhile, the club's official online shop was advertising for £8 replica street signs with the words "St James' Park NE1", above "Newcastle United Football Club" and alongside the club's crest.