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Cricketers hit out at Newcastle stadium name change

Cricketers hit out at Newcastle stadium name change
© PA Photos
Steve Harmison and Graeme Swann criticise Newcastle owner Mike Ashley's decision to rename St James's Park the Sports Direct Arena.

Former England cricketer Steve Harmison and current bowler Graeme Swann have expressed their disappointment in Newcastle United's famous St James's Park being renamed the Sports Direct Arena.

Magpies owner Mike Ashley, along with managing director Derek Llambias, came to a decision to rename the stadium in a bid to attract investors.

"I can only liken it to changing the team's colours from black and white to red and white and making us look like Sunderland," Harmison wrote in The Telegraph.

"That's how big a deal it is. You do wonder whether they would do that if the money was right.

"Of all the things Mike Ashley has done since he became owner, I think this is the one people will find hardest to forgive and forget."

Meanwhile, England bowler Swann has mocked the club's decision to rebrand their home ground.

"Sports Direct Arena? Yeah course Mike, it's a great name, the fans will love it honestly *makes hitch hiker hand signal minus the thumb*," Swann posted on Twitter.

The North East ground has been known as St James's Park for 119 years.

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