Letter: Does John Hall deserve to be called Mr Newcastle?

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The Independent Online
Andy Beckett's profile of Sir John Hall's "Ruthless pursuit of a goal" missed the target completely (4 August). For generations the North- east of England has been in decline, both economically and on the football field. The building of the Metro Centre gave the region some pride, showing that it was possible for things to improve. Now Sir John's latest project, the regeneration of Newcastle United, is having the same effect.

The whole area is brimming with pride at what is happening at the club, and is overjoyed that at last "Shearer coming home" is a signal that Geordies can succeed without having to go south. An end-of-season poll, before the Shearer signing and after a heart-breaking end of season, showed 6 per cent of supporters less satisfied with the club than a year earlier.

The desire to protect the Castle Leazes area does not come from the city as a whole as implied. The building of a 60,000-seater stadium will lower the higher-than-average house prices around the park but for the vast majority of people in the city, the chance to watch football of the highest quality is more important.

Questioning Sir John's right to be deemed "Mr Newcastle" because he was born in North Seaton, and made his money in Sunderland and Gateshead ispetty. The closing comment that perhaps Sir John will go to Sunderland, now they are in the Premiership if his ambitions are frustrated at Newcastle, will cause great amusement to all concerned. Even Sir John couldn't gain control of Sunderland in a single season!

Ian Ferguson

ian.ferguson@ca.slr.com

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