John Hall (businessman)

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Sir John Hall
Born (1933-03-21) 21 March 1933 (age 89)
Occupation(s)Property developer
Sports-team owner
Political partyConservative
Children2

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

Biography[edit]

The son of a miner, Hall was born and brought up in North Seaton, Ashington, Northumberland, and he attended nearby Bedlington Grammar School until 1949.[1] Before starting his own business career, he worked in the mining industry as a surveyor.[2]

In the 1980s, Hall's company, Cameron Hall Developments, masterminded the construction of the MetroCentre shopping mall in Dunston, Gateshead.[3]

Hall's company bought Woolsington Hall, northwest of Newcastle, in 1994. Hall has planned several developments of the site, including a football academy and a luxury hotel with golf course. In 2002, the hall was added to English Heritage's Heritage at Risk Register and, as of 2021, is vacant following fire damage and requiring full restoration.[4]

In April 2010, Hall announced that he was suffering from inoperable prostate cancer and was about to embark on a course of intensive chemotherapy.[5] As of February 2011, the cancer was being kept under control by medication and Hall was 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, Hall and his wife 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.[8]

After taking over Newcastle United, Hall announced his intention to create a "sporting club" along similar lines to multi-sport institutions in Europe such as FC Barcelona. To this end he also bought the Newcastle Falcons (rugby union), the Newcastle Eagles (basketball), and the Durham Wasps (ice hockey) in 1995. The Wasps were subsequently moved to Sunderland's Crowtree Leisure Centre. They were renamed the Newcastle Cobras when they moved to Newcastle Arena the following season.[9]

Hall planned to build a new rugby, football and ice-skating stadium at Leazes Park but the scheme was rejected after a 38,000-signature petition against it was organised by local residents. Instead, he began rebuilding St James' Park, Newcastle United's stadium, where the Leazes End stand is now the Sir John Hall Stand. Although he proved very popular with the club's fans, questions as to whether his involvement with Newcastle United was anything other than profitable opportunism have been raised.[10]

In 1997, Hall passed chairmanship of the club to Freddy Shepherd and his family interests in the club to his son, Douglas. He then sold his entire 41.6% shareholding to sports retail magnate Mike Ashley for £55 million on 23 May 2007, valuing the club at £133.1 million.[11]

Politics[edit]

Hall has donated more than £500,000 to the Conservative Party, and helped to fund Theresa May's snap general election in 2017.[12] In May 2017 he gave £25,000 to the Conservative Party.[13] In February 2018, he expressed disapproval over what he described as May's indecisiveness about Brexit and her lack of domestic policies.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sir John Hall's zeal is opening up the North-east frontier – Sport – The Independent". The Independent. London. 1 November 1995.
  2. ^ "Sir John cheers on risk-takers". The Journal. 14 July 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2007.
  3. ^ Barbara Hodgson (29 October 2016). "How Gateshead's Metrocentre was made - and why it was built on a 'great big clarty field'". Newcastle Chronicle. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  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. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 15 February 2011
  7. ^ Glover, Andrew (11 February 2011). "Sir John Hall awarded freedom of Gateshead". The Journal. Newcastle: Journal.co.uk. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  8. ^ "Newcastle United | Club | History | Club History | Club History | The Keegan Years". www.nufc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Durham Memories: Ice rink that was built of surplus coffins". The Northern Echo. 15 August 2003. Retrieved 30 July 2007.
  10. ^ Conn, David (8 February 2006). "How the Geordie Nation turned into a cash cow". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 July 2007.
  11. ^ "Newcastle get £133m buyout offer". BBC News. 23 May 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2007.
  12. ^ "Theresa May faces revolt of leading Tory donors". theguardian.com. 10 February 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  13. ^ Cahill, Helen (18 May 2017). "Party donors: Here are the big names bank-rolling the Conservative campaign". cityam.com. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  14. ^ Savage, Michael (11 February 2018). "Theresa May faces revolt of leading Tory donors". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2018.