Tyneside prepares for the Olympics

Olympic rings over the Tyne Credit: ITV

The smell of smoke from the Olympic torch is fast dispersing after a nine-day tour through the region building the excitement for London 2012.

We're now in sniffing distance of the Games proper and one of the region's best recognised sporting arenas is about to be opened up to its biggest ever crowds.

In between Premiership seasons St James' Park is normally at its most quiet.

But with a global audience to entertain and strict international guidelines to adhere to, the next four weeks will see frenzied activity to get everything pitch perfect in time.

The action will begin on July 26 with seeded Mexico and conclude with an eagerly-awaited quarter final on August 4.

Equipment arriving at St James' Park to cover Olympic Games Credit: ITV

The organising committee for the London Olympics estimate between £125m and £150m worth of contract work has been generated for the region through Newcastle being a host city and other towns and cities such as Sunderland and Middlesbrough providing training facilities.

St James' Park pitch Credit: ITV
Olympics on Tyneside at St James' Park Credit: ITV