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  1. ITV Report

What's in a name?

Sign of Discontent Photo: ImagesbySW

It was supposed to be a day when Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley basked in the glory of a healthy spread sheet. A day when the club's PR machine went into overdrive with news that, for the first time in recent history, Newcastle United had almost broken even.

Owner Mike Ashley revealed he had personally invested around £140 million pounds in the club, paying off its debts and getting it back on an even keel.

The headlines were supposed to be positive. But it seems there are some things that money can't buy.

There is anger and hurt among many of Newcastle United's fans. A feeling that spreadsheets and a healthy bank balance are one thing, 130 years of history is quite another.

The major problem with Mike Ashley's decision to re-name St James' Park is the fact the ground is not a new development. Arsenal fans had no problem with the Emirates Stadium because it was a new-build. But this is not a new build. It is part of a city's heritage. And that is the battle the businessman faces.

Steve Wraith, editor of fanzine Toon Talk, is as passionate as they come. He's against the stadium name change but knows there are others who are all in favour. In his opinion the major problem is a lack of communication from the club. To date Mike Ashley has yet to give even one interview on anything related to the club he governs. And, according to Steve, that in turn is turning Newcastle United fans against each other.

There are few who would agree with what happened last night. There are few who would condone the damage caused to a Sports Direct store in the city. There are few who would say that is representative of the average Newcastle United fan. But it is an extreme sign of the frustrations they feel, that they seem powerless to affect decisions at the club they love.

Aftermath Credit: ITV News

But lets be fair to Mike Ashley, a businessman who knows a thing or two about making money. Where would the club be had he not stepped in? His £140 million pound interest free loan is saving them millions. The club will now meet UEFA financial regulations to play in Europe next season, if they qualify. They are in a far better place than they once were. And this is something nobody can argue with. Though finance experts say we shouldn't be too surprised. A return to the premiership and the sale of a star player for £35 million has played a large part.

So a club nearly breaking even, a side at the right end of the Premiership table. What else can Mike Ashley do? Perhaps the one thing that would ease tensions on the terraces is the one thing that will cost him nothing. They say talk is cheap. In fact it costs nothing at all.