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Toon fury over shirt deal with 'loan shark' (but at least St James' Park is back again)

by Lois Sheffield (2020-06-23)

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Toon fury over shirt deal with 'loan shark' (but at least St James' Park is back again)

By Colin Young

Published: 14:18 BST, 9 October 2012 | Updated: 08:59 BST, 10 October 2012
















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Newcastle boss Alan Pardew declared himself 'overjoyed' after it was revealed the club's stadium name is reverting to St James' Park.

Controversial new Newcastle sponsors Wonga.com revealed the news as fans expressed fury at the £32million four-year shirt  and stadium sponsorship by the loan firm.

The Wonga.com deal does not start until next season, but the club will immediately pull down the Sports Direct signs of chairman Mike Ashley's company at the front of the ground and restore the St James' Park name.







Deal: Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, managing director Derek Llambias, Wonga CEO Errol Damelin and Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi







 


The original lettering is due to be restored for Newcastle's next home game, in the Europa League against Club Brugge. The move is a victory for supporters who have refused to acknowledge the change to the Sports Direct Arena.

Pardew said: ‘I'm a romantic. The name change hurt me and it hurt the team. It's one of those business decisions which you can't get your head round at times as a football person, so to have it back as St James' Park is great.

‘The same sign should go back up — not a new one, the old one. I am absolutely overjoyed.'

A Wonga.com spokesman said: ‘We saw what matters to the fans. Football is an emotional sport and it is really important to them. That is why we did it.'

Wonga.com, who already sponsor Blackpool and Hearts, have agreed an £8m-a-year deal with Newcastle. In addition they will invest  £1.5m to support the club's academy and its Foundation Enterprise Scheme which helps school  leavers find employment. The company will urge Ashley and managing director Derek  Llambias to open fans' forums and want supporters involved in the design of new shirts.



Controversy: Newcastle owner Mike Ashley (centre)



Backlash: Mike Ashley sparked fury with stadium rebrading




Wonga facts


Wonga has done roaring trade in the recession, with profits rocketing 269% to almost £46million last year.

The company, which only started in 2007, says its success is due to high customer satisfaction and top-notch technology.

Wonga offers short-term loans of up to £1,000 and promises to send the money within 15 minutes of it being approved.

A stinging annual interest rate of 4,214 per cent is charged, although Wonga dismisses that as irrelevant because it loans cash over much shorter periods.

The company was founded by South African-born Errol Damelin, who now lives in London



The move to restore the St James' Park name may win over supporters but the deal with a loan company which charges annual interest rates of up to 4,200 per cent sparked anger.

The North East has the highest personal insolvency rate in the country, at 35.2 per 10,000 adults. This compares with 17.5 per cent in London.

Wansbeck MP and Newcastle season ticket holder Ian Lavery claimed he would not set foot in  St James' Park again and  Newcastle Central MP Chi  Onwurah tweeted: ‘Some of the richest young men in Newcastle to wear shirts calling on the poorest to go to a legal loan shark.'

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, added: ‘I'm sickened. It's a sad indictment of the profit-at-any-price culture at Newcastle United. We are fighting hard to tackle legal and illegal loan sharking and having a company like this on every football shirt that's sold undermines all our work.'




Lot of Wonga: Payday loans company already sponsor Blackpool and Hearts



 


There was also concern at the FA, whose general secretary Alex Horne said: ‘If you consider it as inappropriate for children, like gambling and alcohol, it feels like it is in that category to me.'



PUT YOUR SHIRT ON IT...







   
  HAVE YOUR SAY...  
 


Are Newcastle wrong to agree sponsorship deal with Wonga? Controversial loan company Wonga.com, who already sponsor Blackpool and Hearts, have agreed an £8m-a-year deal with Newcastle.


TELL US WHAT YOU THINK




There are five Barclays Premier League clubs who have gambling companies as shirts sponsors - Aston Villa, Stoke, Swansea, West Ham and Wigan. 

According to the Gambling Commission 2009 Code of Practice, advertising cannot be aimed at children. The gambling industry code for socially responsible advertising also specifies that the use of  logos are not allowed on children's shirts.

Barclays Premier League clubs' shirt sponsors:

Arsenal - Fly Emirates (airline company) ends 2014, £5.5m a year
Aston Villa - Genting Casinos (gambling company) 2013, £8m a year
Chelsea  - Samsung (electronics ) 2015, £13.8m a year
Everton - Chang (brewery) 2013, £4m a year
Fulham - FxPro (foreign exchange) 2013, £4.2m a year
Liverpool - Standard Chartered (bank) 2014, £20m a year
Man City - Etihad (airline)  1922, £20m a year
Man Utd - AON (insurance)  2014, £20m a year
Newcastle -  Virgin Money (finance) 2013, £10m a year
Norwich - Aviva (insurance) 2016, £1m a year
QPR - Air Asia (airline) 2013, £2.5m a year
Reading - Waitrose (supermarket) 2013, £500,000 a year
Southampton - Aap3 (IT services) 2014, £1m a year
Stoke - bet365 (gambling) 2015, £1.3m a year
Sunderland - Invest in Africa (non-profit organisation funded by oil company Tullow) 2014, £20m a year
Swansea - 32red (gambling) 2014, £1.1m a year
Tottenham  - Investec/Auresma (financial services/augmented reality multimedia) £10m a year
West Brom - Zoopla (property) 2015, £1.5m a year
West Ham - SBObet (gambling) 2013, £1.7m a year
Wigan - 12bet.com  (gambling) 2014, £1m a year


Wonga already have a sponsorship deal with Blackpool of the npower Championship. There are only two clubs in the division who display the names of betting firms -  Bolton (188bet) and Wolves (sportingbet).   

Championship clubs' shirt sponsors:

Barnsley - CK Beckett
Birmingham - EZE GROUP
Blackburn- none
Blackpool - Wonga
Bolton - 188 BET
Brighton - Brighton & Hove Jobs.com
Bristol City - Blackthorn
Burnley - Premier Range Kitchen Appliances
Cardiff - Malaysia
Charlton - Andrew Sykes Group PLC
Crystal Palace - GAC Logistics
Derby - buymobiles.net
Huddersfield - Rekorderlig Cider (Home) & RadianB (Away)
Hull - Cash Converters
Ipswich - Marcus Evans Group
Leeds - Enterprise Insurance
Leicester - King Power
Middlesbrough - Ramsdens
Millwall - Racing +
Nottingham Forest - John Pye Auctions
Peterborough - PREL (Peterborough Renewable Energy Ltd)
Sheffield Weds - Gilders Group Honda (Home) & Westfield Health (Away)
Watford - Football Manager
Wolves - Sportingbet









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