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Newcastle chief Llambias: Ashley and I still call stadium St James' Park

Newcastle United managing director Derek Llambias insists both he and owner Mike Ashley still call the stadium St James' Park.

The ground was officially renamed the Sports Direct Arena in November, sparking fury from many fans.

But Llambias told the Mirror: "Do you think me and Mike call it the Sports Direct Arena? We call it St James' Park, because it is St James' Park.

"The naming rights is such a passionate thing. It's not about being disrespectful or taking away the tradition or the history of the club - it's about trying to get another Yohan Cabaye out there on the pitch. That's how we see it.

"To optimise our commercial side, we needed to get that in there - other clubs do it.

"We've had to take the criticism on the nose. We're not riding roughshod over people's love. People come to see our players on the pitch. It's about us, the fans, the manager, the players and the region - it's an emotional thing.

"If we wanted to ride roughshod, we'd just put the ticket prices up.

"That's not happening."

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Tribal Football Staff

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