Firstly though, he told BBC Radio Newcastle about how this would be a “showcase” to lure prospective outside sponsors would would bring much needed revenue into the club saying:
“We will showcase Sports Direct until the end of the season,” then adding:
“I’m sure we’re going to get a sponsor in for next season.”
When asked if the name “St James’ Park” would always remain, Llambias then reassured fans by responding:
“Absolutely. In our reign, absolutely.”
“It’s adding to it, and if it brings in a good chunk of money to the club, that goes straight to the team, then do you know what, it’s a revenue we should look at.”
As you may have guessed alredy, that was from a story two years ago. Seemingly, the club have received no revenue whatsoever from Sports Direct International PLC (a shareholder owned company which is entirely distinct from Newcastle United) for all the numerous signs which have been erected at the club in the intervening period. They have also recived nothing from any other souece for the stadium naming rights either. As I wrote when breaking this story yesterday, Mike Ashley and Derek Llambias will now be reneging on this promise to the fans, with the latter now officially announcing that they will after all be renaming Newcastle United’s home as “The Sports Direct Arena”, ending over 119 years of football history in the process.
Llambias’ latest volte-face, published on the official club site read:
“Our aim for Newcastle United is to continue to deliver success for the fans and everyone associated with the Club. We must make this Club financially self-sufficient in order to deliver that success.
“To grow sustainably and allow us to invest in our future, we will need to rely increasingly heavily on commercial income. These are very difficult economic times and the board have a responsibility to maximise all revenue streams for the benefit of the Club. Stadium rebranding offers a lucrative way for clubs to secure significant additional income.
“When we initially launched our plans at the end of 2009, we invited sponsors to attach their brand to that of St. James’ Park. However it has become clear that in order to make the proposition as commercially attractive as possible, a potential sponsor must be given the opportunity to fully rebrand the stadium.
“Naming the stadium the Sports Direct Arena helps up to showcase the opportunity to interested parties. We are now actively seeking a long-term sponsor wishing to acquire full naming rights for the stadium.
“Our shirt sponsorship deal with Northern Rock will also expire at the end of this season, which presents would-be sponsors with the opportunity to acquire both the naming rights and shirt sponsorship deals.”
Recently, Manchester City received a sum of around £400 million from United Arab Emirates airline company, Etihad, for the naming rights to their stadium. In two years of extensive Sports Direct branding of St James’ Park, including the previous botched attempt at renaming the stadium, the club has yet to receive a penny for all the publicity the tacky sportwear chain has received so far. It has also become apparent since that time that Ashley purchased the club as a vehicle to promote his Sports Direct brand to a worldwide Premiership audience all along. With each passing day this “showcase” idea seems to be ever more of a canard to decive fans, and I for one would be highly surprised if they reached an agreement on the stadium naming rights with another party, or receive any revenue from Sports Direct International PLC itself any time soon.
As a certain Mr.J.Rotten once said:
“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”