John Hall (businessman)

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Sir John Hall
Born 21 March 1933
North Seaton, Ashington, Northumberland, England
Occupation property developer and sports-team owner
Net worth Increase £75 million (2008)[1]
Children Douglas Hall, Allison Antonopoulos

Sir John Hall (born 21 March 1933) is a property developer in North East England. He is also life president and former chairman of Newcastle United.

Biography[edit]

The son of a miner, Hall was born and brought up in North Seaton, Ashington, Northumberland, where he attended Bedlington Grammar School until 1949.[2] He worked in the mining industry as a surveyor before going into business on his own account.[3]

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 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.

Hall's company bought Woolsington Hall, north west of Newcastle city centre in 1994. Hall has planned several developments of the site, including a football academy and a luxury hotel and golf course. The hall is currently vacant and requires full restoration. It has been on English Heritage's Heritage at Risk register since 2002.[4]

In April 2010, Hall announced that he is suffering from inoperable prostate cancer and was about to embark on a course of intensive chemotherapy.[5] As of February 2011, the cancer is being kept under control by medication and Sir John is concentrating on his final project, a £2.5 million rose garden at his Wynyard Park estate.[6]

On 10 February 2011, at a ceremony at the Shipley Art Gallery, Sir John and his wife, Lady Hall, were given the freedom of Gateshead for their services to leisure, retail, business and sport.[7]

Newcastle United Football Club[edit]

Hall began his ownership of the team by taking over Newcastle United 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 and moved them to Sunderland's Crowtree Leisure Centre. They were renamed the Newcastle Cobras when they moved to Newcastle Arena the following season.[8]

He attempted to build a new stadium on Leazes Park 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' 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.[9] 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.

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.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rich List: Sir John Hall and family". London: business.timesonline.co.uk. 2008-04-27. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  2. ^ "Sir John Hall's zeal is opening up the North-east frontier - Sport - The Independent". The Independent (London). 1995-11-01. 
  3. ^ "Sir John cheers on risk-takers". The Journal. 2007-07-14. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  4. ^ Liz Walker (27 February 2013). "Sir John Hall's Woolsington Hall back on the market". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  5. ^ The Guardian, 7 April 2010
  6. ^ Daily Telegraph, 15 February 2011
  7. ^ Glover, Andrew (2011-02-11). "Sir John Hall awarded freedom of Gateshead". The Journal (Newcastle: Journal.co.uk). Retrieved 2011-02-12. 
  8. ^ "Durham Memories: Ice rink that was built of surplus coffins". The Northern Echo. 2003-08-15. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  9. ^ Conn, David (2006-02-08). "How the Geordie Nation turned into a cash cow". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  10. ^ "Newcastle get £133m buyout offer". BBC News. 2007-05-23. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
Business positions
Preceded by
George Forbes
Newcastle United F.C. chairman
1992–1997
Succeeded by
Freddy Shepherd