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Premier League club were forced to scrap plans to build 70,000-seater stadium called 'San Siro of the north'

Premier League club were forced to scrap plans to build 70,000-seater stadium called 'San Siro of the north'

One Premier League club had huge plans.

Premier League club Newcastle were once forced to scrap plans to build a 70,000-seater stadium dubbed 'the San Siro of the north'.

The Magpies, of course, currently play in the 52,305-capacity St James' Park, which has been their home since 1892.

The stadium has undergone many renovations and changes over the years, and even changed its name to the Sports Direct Stadium during the Mike Ashley era.

And while Magpies fans have few fond memories of that particular time in the club's history, it was a completely different story as the last millennium came to a close.

Kevin Keegan's free-flowing side captured the hearts of many as they battled Manchester United for the Premier League title in 1995/96.

And while they famously ended up falling short of their target, there was still a lot to be positive about on Tyneside - despite Keegan's resignation in January 1997, when the Magpies were in fourth place in the table.

Off the pitch, Newcastle chiefs had exciting plans - to splash out £90 million on building a new stadium, which would have been situated at Castle Leazes Moor.

The reason for the decision was down to the overwhelming interest from fans in watching Newcastle at St James' Park.

According to Chronicle Live, 20,000 fans were on the waiting list for season tickets - with the stadium's capacity of 36,000 filled with largely season ticket holders.

Newcastle therefore planned to build a new stadium, rather than navigating difficulties involved in expanding St James' Park.

The club considered 'at least 10' locations in which to build the venue, but settled on Castle Leazes Moor as it was the only one which the club, the city council and the Freemen of the City could agree on.

The ground would have held 55,000 fans, with the potential to upgrade it to a capacity of 70,000, with the stadium set to rival AC Milan's San Siro.

But the plans ultimately never came to fruition. As per a November 1997 report on the matter from The Independent, there was major local opposition to the plans, and a petition against the scheme collected over 18,000 signatures.

The scheme had caused shares in the club to fall, with fears over how Newcastle would fund the stadium, given it would not produce extra revenue until the 2000s began.

The club were therefore forced to scrap plans, and instead submitted planning permission to expand St James' Park instead.

In July 2000, the construction was completed at a total cost of £42 million - raising the stadium to its current capacity.

That wasn't without its difficulties, however.

The Magpies were taken to court by a group of 4,000 fans (via The Guardian), who had been told that they would have to move to another part of the ground to watch matches, or pay £1,350 to keep their existing seats. Newcastle wanted to give their seats to corporate clients as part of the expansion, to generate what they said was much-needed extra revenue.

The club were told that they were entitled to do so, with a judge citing the small print of a contractual agreement.

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Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Newcastle United, Premier League, Football