Newcastle United have renamed St James' Park, the Sports Direct Arena, after owner Mike Ashley's company. St James' Park title was dropped as the club does not think it is "commercially attractive".
"The rebranding of St James' Park will never be reasonable or acceptable, no matter how much money is thrown at it. The name of the ground is synonymous with the club, it is our spiritual home, and if you're going to sell that off you might as well have us playing in red and white stripes and call us Newcastle City. The tradition and heritage of our club is why the fans love it. It is not for sale." Mark Jensen of Newcastle fanzine 'The Mag' once said
Unfortuntely, in capitalism , everything is for sale.
American sports analyst Mike Carlson said: "American businessmen look at Premier League clubs and see an opportunity to make money because, frankly, the sport is not marketed or sold as well as it could be. They see scope for growth. Revenue streams like naming rights are a means to an end - growth."
Capitalism deny men and women the experience of solidarity, which football provides and it's clear that some people are fed up with the commercialisation of the game. But in capitalism money is all that matters.
Javi Poves, a 24 year old defender from Sporting Gijon, has decided to retire from football. "Professional football is just money and corruption. It's capitalism and capitalism is death. I don't want to be in a system"
Anarchist Gabriel Kuhn, author of "Soccer vs. the State: Tackling Football and Radical Politics" explains:
"Perhaps it was inevitable in the sense that capitalism is taking over everything that promises profit. However, capitalism has never been completely distinguished from football. If we look at the origins of many of the leading clubs in the late nineteenth century, they were already exploited by companies and factory owners, at least for prestige. So the ever increasing commercialization we have witnessed in the twentieth century was not the result of an outside force but of an intrinsic logic, if you will.
Over the last twenty years, the commercialization has taken on a particular momentum. Football has turned into a spectacle that people could have hardly foreseen when World Cup Willie was sold as the first official World Cup mascot in England in 1966. Champions Leagues, a 32-team Men’s World Cup roster, multi-billion dollar TV contracts, celebrity players, and a ruthless merchandise industry that doesn’t even stop short of selling corporate-sponsored jerseys to the average football supporter are all expressions of this. Hardly any of it can be encouraging for a radical football fan.
For me, the response has to be two-fold. Within the professional game, we have to campaign against the exploitation of both spectators and players – and I’m not talking about the obscenely rich top 0.5% of professional players, but about the tens of thousands of football professionals who live under precarious conditions, particularly migrant players from Africa.
Within the world of football in general, it is important to support grassroots initiatives that do not only promise all the fun in a politically sound and non-commercial environment but also create opportunities for effective community organizing and everyday political activism."
Arsenal: Emirates Stadium
Bolton: Reebok Stadium
Manchester City: Etihad Stadium
Swansea: Liberty Stadium
Stoke: Britannia Stadium
Wigan: DW Stadium
Brighton: Amex Stadium
Coventry: Ricoh Arena
Doncaster: Keepmoat Stadium
Hull: Kingston Communications Stadium
Leicester: King Power Stadium