John Hall (businessman)


John Hall (businessman)

Infobox Person


image_size = 150px
name = Sir John Hall
birth_date = 1933
birth_place = Ashington, Northumberland, England
occupation = property developer and sports-team owner
networth = Gain £75 million (2008)cite news | title = Rich List: Sir John Hall and family | url = http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/specials/rich_list/article3800892.ece | publisher = business.timesonline.co.uk | date = 2008-04-27 | accessdate = 2008-08-04 ]
spouse =
children = Douglas Hall, Allison Antonopoulos

Sir John Hall (b. Ashington, Northumberland, 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 Ashington, Northumberland, he worked in the mining industry as a surveyor before going into business on his own account [cite news
title = Sir John cheers on risk-takers
publisher = The Journal
date = 2007-07-14
url = http://icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/journallive/thejournal/tm_headline=sir-john-cheers-on-risk-takers&method=full&objectid=19453417&siteid=50081-name_page.html
accessdate = 2007-07-29
] .

In the 1980s his company, Cameron Hall Developments masterminded the construction of the MetroCentre shopping mall in Dunston, Gateshead. The development was not without its critics locally; reputedly, the script of 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

After the success of the Metrocentre Hall moved into the burgeoing field of sports entreneurship. Despite previously being a season ticket holder for bitter local rivals Sunderland, Hall began constructing a Newcastle Sporting Club in an attempt to emulate the success of FC Barcelona.

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.

After taking over Newcastle United, he also bought the Newcastle Falcons and the Newcastle Eagles. He purchased the Durham Wasps in 1995, who began to play at Sunderland's Crowtree Leisure Centre. They were renamed the Newcastle Cobras when they moved to Newcastle Arena the following season. [cite news
title = Durham Memories: Ice rink that was built of surplus coffins
publisher = The Northern Echo
date = 2003-08-15
url = http://archive.thenorthernecho.co.uk/2003/8/15/80520.html
accessdate = 2007-07-30
] .

Sir John began to rebuild the stadium, and the Leazes End of St James' Park 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. [cite news
title = How the Geordie Nation turned into a cash cow
publisher = The Guardian
date = 2006-02-08
url = http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,,1704798,00.html
accessdate = 2007-07-29
] 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 [cite news
title = Newcastle get £133m buyout offer
publisher = BBC News
date = 2007-05-23
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6684573.stm
accessdate = 2007-07-29
] .

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 [cite news
title = Head-to-Head: Regional assemblies
publisher = BBC News
date = 2004-10-18
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3752032.stm
accessdate = 2007-07-29
] , before supporting his unsuccessful Parliamentary candidacy in 2007 [cite news
title = Sir John brands derelict town centre 'a disgrace'
publisher = The Northern Echo
date = 2007-07-13
url = http://www.thisisthenortheast.co.uk/display.var.1542429.0.sir_john_brands_derelict_town_centre_a_disgrace.php
accessdate = 2007-07-29
] . It is probably fair to argue that Sir John is a maverick figure who has no fixed political alignment.

References


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