“It’s a big statement by Wonga to say: ‘We want the naming rights and we’re going to give it back to the fans and the community’.” gushed Derek Llambias.
Alan Pardew also chimed in, exulting:
“Getting the St James’ name back is fantastic. It is a clever move in terms of getting fans in a good place.”
“For so long, Llambias and owner Mike Ashley were associated with taking unpopular decisions (“We started off poorly,” he admits) but the announcement of a controversial deal with Wonga yesterday was significantly sweetened by news about the stadium name.” purred the Journal’s Mark Douglas.
Yet the sums just do not seem to add up. It was trumpted by Llambias that the new sponsorship deal with Wonga would be the club’s “biggest-ever commercial deal.” and when asked if the total deal amounted to £8 million per season, he acknowledged that sum was “not far off.” £6 million of this is going into the main shirt sponsorship side of the deal. As I pointed out in this earlier piece, this is actually slightly below the mean figure of £7.36 million for Premier League shirt sponsorship. However both Wonga and Llambias have made much of the fact that a further £1.5 million will go into the club’s Benton Academy and the Newcastle United Foundation, where Wonga will be getting involved with
future customers local youngsters from underprivileged families.
But wait a minute!
This comes to £7.5 million, which is “not far off” £8 million. So where is the £8-10 million per season which Llambias promised would bring the club another top player, as well as bringing “affordable football” to impoverished Geordies? Could it be that Wonga allegedly buying the club’s stadium name to give back to the fans (for four years at least) was just elaborate con to keep the fans quiet? Were they killing two birds with one stone, saving face for Ashley after three years of failiure and making the club’s repugnant new sponsors look good with the fans?
Here’s one last quote from Llambias on the matter:
“I would hope to generate between £8 -10m a year. That would give us another player.”
“Yes, we do need to go that one step further to compete. We have had an exceptional year and long may it continue, but the fans want us to buy more players, we need to bring in a striker in January, we will need replacements in the summer.”
As Johnny Rotten once said:
“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? Goodnight.”