John Hall (businessman)
|Sir John Hall|
|Born||21 March 1933
North Seaton, Ashington, Northumberland, England
|Net worth||£75 million (2008)|
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. Before starting his own business career, he worked in the mining industry as a surveyor.
In the 1980s, Hall's company, Cameron Hall Developments, masterminded the construction of the MetroCentre shopping mall in Dunston, Gateshead. The development was not without its critics; 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, 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 2013, is vacant and requiring full restoration.
In April 2010, Hall announced that he was suffering from inoperable prostate cancer and was about to embark on a course of intensive chemotherapy. As of February 2011, the cancer is being kept under control by medication and Hall is concentrating on his final project, a £2.5-million rose garden at his Wynyard Park estate.
Newcastle United Football Club
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, 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.
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.
In 1997, following a health scare, 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.
- "Rich List: Sir John Hall and family". London: business.timesonline.co.uk. 2008-04-27. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- "Sir John Hall's zeal is opening up the North-east frontier - Sport - The Independent". The Independent. London. 1995-11-01.
- "Sir John cheers on risk-takers". The Journal. 2007-07-14. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- Liz Walker (27 February 2013). "Sir John Hall's Woolsington Hall back on the market". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- The Guardian, 7 April 2010
- Daily Telegraph, 15 February 2011
- Glover, Andrew (2011-02-11). "Sir John Hall awarded freedom of Gateshead". The Journal. Newcastle: Journal.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
- "Newcastle United | Club | History | Club History | Club History | The Keegan Years". www.nufc.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
- "Durham Memories: Ice rink that was built of surplus coffins". The Northern Echo. 2003-08-15. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
- Conn, David (2006-02-08). "How the Geordie Nation turned into a cash cow". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- "Newcastle get £133m buyout offer". BBC News. 2007-05-23. Retrieved 2007-07-29.