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Sir John Hall (b. Ashingtonmarker, Northumberlandmarker, 1933) is a property developer in North East England. He is also life president and former chairman of Newcastle United.

Biography

Born and brought up in Ashingtonmarker, Northumberlandmarker, he worked in the mining industry as a surveyor before going into business on his own account.

In the 1980s his company, Cameron Hall Developments masterminded the construction of the MetroCentremarker shopping mall in Dunston, Gatesheadmarker. The development was not without its critics locally; reputedly, the script of the BBC drama Our Friends in the North was changed to remove a character resembling Sir John who took advantage of tax breaks to build a shopping centre.

Newcastle Sporting Club

He began by taking over the Newcastle United club in a bitter battle for control and appointing Kevin Keegan as manager in February 1992. Keegan turned the club's fortunes around, taking the team from the brink of relegation into the Third Division, to competing with Manchester United for the Premier League in 1996.

He issued bonds worth £500 to fans and charged fans 19-22% APR.

After taking over Newcastle United, he also bought the Newcastle Falcons and the Newcastle Eagles. He purchased the Durham Wasps in 1995, causing Durham ice skating rink to close down, who began to play at Sunderlandmarker's Crowtree Leisure Centre. They were renamed the Newcastle Cobras when they moved to Newcastle Arenamarker the following season..

He attempted to build a new stadium on Leazes Parkmarker for a rugby, football and ice skating but a petition from local residents with 38,000 signatures put an end to that plan.

Sir John began to rebuild the stadium, and the Leazes End of St James' Parkmarker is named the Sir John Hall Stand. Despite being an immensely popular figure amongst fans some authors have questioned whether Sir John's involvement with Newcastle United was anything more than profitable opportunism. Combined with a health scare, in 1997 Hall handed over the Chairmanship to Freddy Shepherd, and his family interests in the club to his son Douglas Hall.

On 23 May 2007, Hall sold his entire 41.6% shareholding in Newcastle United to sports retail magnate, Mike Ashley, for £55 million in a deal that valued the club at £133.1 million.

Politics

Further evidence of Sir John's perceived opportunism is seen, by some, in his supporting the Labour government's proposals for a North East Assembly whilst professing to be a Conservative supporter; this led to him debating against Graham Robb in 2004, before supporting his unsuccessful Parliamentary candidacy in 2007. It is probably fair to argue that Sir John is a maverick figure who has no fixed political alignment.

References




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