Loftus Versfeld Stadium

In the latest of an occasional nufc.co.uk feature, we choose our top five on a host of Newcastle United topics. With St. James' Park reverting back to its historic name this week, DAN KING looks at other stadiums across the globe, some big and some small, which have done the same...

On Wednesday afternoon, Newcastle United's famous stadium reverted back to its historic St. James' Park name - but it is not the first sporting arena to change its name and then return to its former guise.

The ground had been called St. James' Park since staging its first football match in 1880 until the new label of Sports Direct Arena came into effect in November 2011. However in a popular move, the Club's new shirt and stadium sponsors wonga.com have opted to hand the name back to the supporters.

And so from now on, it will officially be known by it's traditional title once more. It's a decision which has attracted plenty of headlines but it has actually happened several times elsewhere both at home and abroad.

In fact, from New Zealand to Newcastle, there have been plenty of examples over the years and we've picked out five of them.

Number five - Loftus Versfeld Stadium

With a capacity of 51,762, this multi-use sports stadium in South Africa holds only a few hundred less spectators than St. James' Park and hosted several games in the 2010 World Cup.
The venue was named after Robert Owen Loftus Versfeld, the founder of organised sport in the city of Pretoria, where the ground was built. However, in 1998 the stadium was renamed Minolta Loftus after a now-defunct Japanese camera manufacturer became its sponsor.
Security firm Securicor bought the naming rights in 2003, with the stadium becoming Securicor Loftus but two years later, in a similar situation to that on Tyneside this month, Vodacom took over the sponsorship and decided to bring back the original name - one which locals had generally continued to use anyway.
The site was initially just a field first used for sport in 1906 but was named after Lotus Versfeld following his death in 1932, by which time toilets and changing rooms had been erected. Having been developed into a massive venue in the intervening years, it staged five games in the 1995 Rugby World Cup and has held concerts by the likes of Celine Dion and Robbie Williams.

Adams Park

Number four - Adams Park

When a young Steven Taylor spent a month on loan with Wycombe Wanderers in 2003, their ground had recently been christened the Causeway Stadium. However with the defender now firmly established at Newcastle United, the League Two outfit's home is back to its original name: Adams Park.
The 10,516 seater stadium opened in 1990 and was named after benefactor and former captain Frank Adams, who had generously bought their former ground Loakes Park for the club - the sale of which helped to finance the new site.
So many Chairboys fans were shocked when, in 2003, local technology company Causeway bought the naming rights on a three-year deal and Adams' moniker was replaced.
However, when that agreement expired in 2006 the ground reverted to its given name and the club have since stated that they will only consider selling it again if the supporters approve.

Mount Smart Stadium

Number three - Mount Smart Stadium

Built in 1965 within the quarried remnants of the Mount Smart volcanic cone, a few miles south of Auckland city centre in New Zealand, this was the venue for both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1990 Commonwealth Games and staged each of the national football team's home qualifying games for the 1982 World Cup - the first time in their hostory that they reached the finals.
It is the home ground of the New Zealand Warriors rugby league team and holds 30,000 for sporting events - increased to 47,000 for concerts, with Coldplay due to perform there next month and U2 among the bands to have graced the stage in years gone by.
However for 11 years, between 1995 and 2006, it was known as the Ericsson Stadium before returning to its original name. Auckland Regional Council, who own the site, decided against actively seeking a replacement sponsor and although they claim to have received other offers for the naming rights, none have been suitable. 

Bootham Crescent

Number two - Bootham Crescent

Since 1932, Bootham Crescent has been the home of York City and the ground looks pretty much the same as it did back then - but it hasn't always been known by its traditional name.
York originally played at nearby Fulfordgate but due to the tram service only having one track to the stadium, it was decided that a new site was needed to increase attendances and so the club purchased Bootham Crescent from York Cricket Club 80 years ago.
A new roof and floodlights have been added since then but by far the most dramatic change to the quaint football venue came in 2005, when a sponsorship deal with Nestle led to it being renamed Kit Kat Crescent after the chocolate bar.
The name wasn't popular with fans but the deal provided vital funds for the cash-strapped Minstermen and last season they won promotion from the Blue Square Bet Premier to the Football League after an eight-year absence. In 2010, when Nestle's agreement expired, the name reverted to Bootham Crescent and the club are set to move to a new - as yet unnamed - stadium within the next couple of years.

Candlestick Park

Number one - Candlestick Park

Compared to St. James' Park, this 69,732-capacity Californian stadium is relatively new but it still has a tremendous history - and has been known by several different names throughout.
It was opened in 1960, originally as the home of Major League Baseball side San Francisco Giants. They played there until 2000 but the San Francisco 49ers NFL side still play their home games at the venue named after Candlestick Point, a pinnacle of rock first noted in 1781 by the De Anza Expedition.
As well as holding countless big sporting occasions, Candlestick Park was also where the Beatles played their last live commercial concert, on August 29th, 1966. But in 1995, the rights to the stadium name were bought by the 3Com Corporation and so the ground became 3Com Park.
It stayed that way until 2002, when the deal expired and for two years the ground was known as San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point. In 2004, a new sponsorship agreement was signed with Monster Cables and thus it became known as Monster Park. However, at the end of that four-year deal the ground returned to its original name and all road signs around the ground - some of which had been changed - now read Candlestick Park once more.

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