Why Wonga just isn’t worth it

Posted on July 20th, 2013 | 43 Comments |

Papiss Cisse holding Toon shirt.
Na! I’m not wearing it if it’s got Wonga on!
In a piece I wrote on here back in October of last year I asked the question “Wonga and Newcastle United – Is it worth it?

Apart from the damage to the club’s dignity and self respect, not to mention it’s “brand value” because of associations with downmarket Sports Direct and even worse, Wonga, we are now seeing another kind of damage caused by the latter. Of course, I am referring to the current situation with Papiss Cisse and his refusal to wear a Wonga branded shirt.

The way things stand currently, the club could lose one of it’s most valuable players, not to mention last season’s joint top goalscorer before the first season under wonga’s sponsorship has even started. However in this piece I will look at what the club is receiving in return.

“The best deal we’ve ever done…”

Newcastle United’s ex-managing Director, Derek Llambias, described Wonga’s sponsorship as “the best deal we’ve ever done” and when asked if it was worth around £8 million per season, he replied that figure was “not far off.”

Putting Llambias’s biased PR hyperbole to one side, let’s put this into perspective. The mean figure for all 20 Premiership shirt sponsorship deals is now £7.36 million and that figure is just for shirt sponsorship only. Newcastle United’s shirt deal with Wonga is suppsosed to be £24 million over four seasons, or £6 million per season, which is actually LOWER than the mean figure I mentioned above. On top of this there are two further parts of Wonga’s sponsorship, as Llambias explained at the time:

“There’s three parts to the deal. One part is investment in the Academy, one part is the shirt deal, and the third part is naming rights.”

Wonga will be investing “up to £1.5 million” in Newcastle United’s Academy at Benton, which leaves the rest, around £500,000 which must be for the stadium’s naming rights.

It was sold to the fans that sacrificing over 100 years of tradition would bring £8-10 million into the club. It was repeated over and over again by Llambias that this would bring another top class player into the club. However, after three years of turmoil including two renames where Newcastle United looked like a laughing stock, all the club have to show for it is £500,000 per season on top of a fairly average shirt sponsorship deal. Now there’s Cisse, and you can bet that there will be more as yet unknown controversies which will reflect on the club over the next four years at least. On top of this, you can bet that the club’s replica shirt sales will go down too as fans eschew the embarrassment of being seen as a walking billboard for poverty and desperation.

But before I sign off there’s one more thing: The previous shirt sponsorship deal we had with Virgin Money, a regulated bank which both has it’s roots in the North East and still provides many jobs in the region, had a shirt sponsorship which was supposed to be worth £20 million over two years, or around £10 million per season. This was terminated under a clause in the contract half way through by Mike Ashley in favour of a deal which has already been damaging to the club and will be in future, all for a deal which seemingly is worth even less per season.

Is it all worth it? I certainly don’t think so.

* – This piece was originally supposed to be for my Metro.co.uk blog.

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43 Responses

  1. The club account show no change in the value of Virgin shirt compared to Northern Rock, so it is likely they took up the option to carry it on under the same terms.

  2. What a load of crap Papiss Cisse is a big hypocrite. He’s never out of the CASINO aren’t these muslims supposed to be against gambling as well as money lending? We all know this is just about Cisses greed because he wants out for a bigger payday elsewhere and I say good riddance to him! He was shite last season anyway one season wonder whose got too big for his boots

  3. How many clubs have a larger shirt sponsorship than ours? Or are you using the figures from the huge global brand clubs to distort that?

  4. Rangerman says:
    July 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    “The club account show no change in the value of Virgin shirt compared to Northern Rock”

    Rangerman, commercial, catering and sponsorship revenues were actually down £2 million from £15.8 million to £13.8 million. However, weren’t the last set of published accounts only up to the end of the 2011-12 Northern Rock season?

    If so, wouldn’t it be the next set of published accounts which contain the Virgin Money figures?

  5. GS says:
    July 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    “Worky: you have talked about the academy before and it looks like it got the upgrade in status.”

    Aye, I was just reading that, GS. Best piece of news there’s been since the departure of Llambias. I wonder if the two things are connected?

  6. AsI said before the only reason why the Fatman would pull out of a more lucrative deal with Branson is becuause there’s something in this Wanka deal for him personally or for SD.

    Just as the Puma kit deal details are rarely mentioned either because if the true figures were published it would be to the detriment of NUFC but not to SD !

    As for Fatman getting his money back from this club have you seen the SD share price now ? In 2007 (when Fatman bought the club) SD ordinary shares were sold for 117p now they stand at 647p.

  7. Ed says – What a load of crap Papiss Cisse is a big hypocrite. He’s never out of the CASINO

    Do you have any proof of that Ed?

  8. AndyMac (@amacdee) says:
    July 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    “As for Fatman getting his money back from this club have you seen the SD share price now ? In 2007 (when Fatman bought the club) SD ordinary shares were sold for 117p now they stand at 647p.”

    Andy, I check fatty’s ticker on a regular basis. At one stage towards the end of 2008 Sports Direct shares were 32 pence.

    BTW, are you a closet Blackburn fan, or a closet Newcastle fan? Most of your twitta seems to be about Steve Kean and Blackburn Rovers with nothing about your old mate “Pardwho” :-)

  9. I bet the fat bastard is loving this if we cashing in on cisse and cabaye ends up going, plus with the rumoured interest from Liverpool for hba the money he will make !!!
    god he might just buy a striker! can’t wait lol

  10. Worky, probably a good thing you started a new thread as I made my last comment, might have upset some of our American bloggers. :)

  11. Northern rock had to be rescued by the government so people didnt lose their homes. How that is better than wonga. A company people choose to use.

    They pray on the poor? They over people who have no other option an option. Their astronomical interest rates are on an annual repaynent whixh short terms loans are not taken over.. if people don’t like the interest rates don’t get a payday/short term loan.

    They gave us back St.James Park, Which northern rock / virgin money (banks who also rob people blind but aren’t so open to it) were not going to do. Cisse has shown he can’t take the pressure. Let him move on we can get someone new. Amd then hopefully as fans we can stop finding a reason to complain about everything and just support the club.

  12. Grumpy Old-Toon says:
    July 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    “Worky, probably a good thing you started a new thread as I made my last comment, might have upset some of our American bloggers.”

    Well grumpy old Chuck’s always having a go at us lot too, Grumpy.

  13. Rangerman says:
    July 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    “How many clubs have a larger shirt sponsorship than ours? Or are you using the figures from the huge global brand clubs to distort that?”

    Sorry, I forgot to answer that point earlier, Rangerman.

    According to a report by “Sporting Intelligence” from a year ago, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Sunderland and Tottenham.

    Newcastle United were quoted as receiving £10 million from Virgin in that one, so it was before the alleged £6 million per season deal Newastle United signed with Wonga. A few other clubs have signed new shirt deals since that time too.

  14. Don’t believe Cisse’s morals or religion are the real reason for him wanting out…. That’s just a smokescreen Luis Suarez style.

  15. The problem with Cisse last season was that he was expected to be an Andy Carroll type player which he obviously wasn’t. Plus the fact that our midfielders didn’t seem able to make decent long ball passes.

  16. who cares bout the figures!! fact of the matter is we got a cheap puma shirt with a tacky and quite imbarrasin wonga slogan slaped across our famous b+w stripes, it is a shite sponser and people are makin digs!! Shirt sales will plumit becos of this indefinate :(

  17. 3-1 loss! what a start and we are “promised” a striker by the weekend and still nothing? i hear we are going for gomis what a load of shite will end up with carlton cole

  18. Worky
    Yeah, thanks for the piece on the Newcastle tour of North America & Canada during the postwar years, something I barely remembered and only have a vague recollection of .
    Quite the trendsetters of their time, I wonder what could have prompted such a trip.
    Apparently not many sides going to the US on tour these days, possibly it’s more difficult to procure the required visas, as Fatherland Security does not discriminate, being no-one is above suspicion.
    And remember big brother knows your innermost thoughts, because they record everything. You say, both by phone and e-mail.
    But then you are consoled by the old adage, what do you have to worry about if you are not doing anything wrong, entirely missing the point.
    One has to remember 1984 was a long time ago.

  19. Liverpool have gone completely bonkers and have decided to turn Liverpool into Newcastle United. :-)

    Firstly they’ve abandoned their plans to build a whole new stadium and have decided to turn Anfield into a big lopsided thing like St James’ Park instead.

    Secondly and most bonkers of all, even more bonkers than Ashley because they have the benefit of hindsight looking at our lot, they’ve started talking about selling the naming rights to the world famous, historic Anfield to the highest bidder when it’s finished to help pay for it!

    WTF are those Yanks smoking FFS?

    http://www.anfield-online.co.uk/lfc-news/2012/liverpool-prepare-to-unveil-anfield-redevelopment-plans/

  20. Chuck says:
    July 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    “Apparently not many sides going to the US on tour these days, possibly it’s more difficult to procure the required visas, as Fatherland Security does not discriminate, being no-one is above suspicion.
    And remember big brother knows your innermost thoughts, because they record everything. You say, both by phone and e-mail.
    But then you are consoled by the old adage, what do you have to worry about if you are not doing anything wrong, entirely missing the point.
    One has to remember 1984 was a long time ago.”

    Tell me about it, Chuck. Right at the worst time of it all, I had to turn down a chance to appear on the “Tonite Show” with Jay Leno. They had a five star hotel in Burbank for me, lots of spending money, the works! I was getting all excited about going, then I started reading all these horror stories about journalists being detained by the FBI and deported just because they were a bit left wing and worst of all, a plumber from Essex who went for a family holiday in Florida, was held and harshly interrogated by the FBI for days, then deported over some silly misunderstanding.

    I don’t really have a criminal record because I had a very good lawyer, but I do have a very bad “political” history including being banned fronm the House of Commons for life after a plan to tar and feather Jack Straw in there went tits up and we were held at the mercy of Big Betty Boothroyd, the speaker of the time.

    I thought it might have cooled off a bit since then?

  21. Grumpy
    Contrary to what Worky sez, I don’t get upset when people criticise the US,if in fact it is based on truth and I am often the first to do so.
    Unlike Worky who it appears takes any criticism of the UK, personally and especially in my case, though it may in fact be justified.
    I’m not sure what you ment by your statement concerning Roosevelt, who in fact can be credited with saving the capitalistic system in the US, though thought of by many as a socialist, because of the variouse program’s he introduced during his terms of office.
    In fact he was a complicated case, who was often misunderstood and who’s actions introduced a period in the history of the US, that is about to end, it being unknown prior or since..
    An era where organised labor and a healthy middle class existed, something quite foreign and contrary to the American dream of self reliance and individuality , but we are now back on course, the modern day robber barons creating a class of unemployable citizens, through either automation or by exporting jobs to low wage areas of the world, while the wealthy increase their holdings and power, by buying congress and having the necessary laws passed to ensure their
    ascendancy.
    Of course in case you think this is not the case in the UK, think again.
    The gains made by the Labor government of the immediate post war years, has been for the most part almost entirely reversed, with many the “NHS”under attack, the Post office (Royal Mail) about to be privatised, that and the legalisation of loansharking, where interest rates of over 500% may be applied, London real estate forcing many from certain parts of the city through increasing rents and values, making it a haven for the worlds wealthy.
    While WONGA controls the lives of those in the de- industrialised areas, attempting to re- invent themselves, but rarely doing so, instead becoming targets of cheap labor such as call centres, the new union less and unprotected areas of labor.
    Not to mention CCTV cameras everywhere, with special police spies infiltrating any dissident group and who then stonewall by refusing to provide information, and white washing any cases, where they were proven to be acting contrary to the law.
    Yeah, the lands of the free and the brave, you say ?

  22. Toon In Destress says:
    July 20, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    “who cares bout the figures!! fact of the matter is we got a cheap puma shirt with a tacky and quite imbarrasin wonga slogan slaped across our famous b+w stripes, it is a shite sponser and people are makin digs!! Shirt sales will plumit becos of this indefinate”

    Well put T.I.D, but Ashley and Llambias have been misleading fans about the figures for years and alot of them have fallen for it hook, line and sinker. Some of them are still blaming Fat Freddy for Ashley being a tighfisted twat who’s exploiting both the club and the fans six years after Ashley took over and still think of him as some kind of saviour who rescued the club from certain oblivion.

    They’ve used this deception to fool too many fans into thinking that there’s no way but their way. Someone has to try and put them straight.

  23. Chuck says:
    July 21, 2013 at 12:24 am

    “Yeah, the lands of the free and the brave, you say ?”

    That’s supposed to be your lot you daft get! We’re the land of hope and glory and the mother of the free. ;-)

  24. Worky
    No unfortunately following 9/11 and with the introduction of Fatherland Security, with little though, apparently, the administration of the time wanted the public to feel as if they were doing something, anything !
    So they created this fcuked up organisation, that still exists, by grouping a lot of different government agencies, customs with immigration border patrol, etc., which was/is dumb and served little purpose, but gave a fiction of doing something positive.
    And we all know how inefficient most bureaus are, but as we also know, when most laws and other governmental stuff are passed or created, how difficult it can be, even when proven to be wrong, to then eradicate.
    It was the Red menace during the cold war, now of course it’s as we all know those Islamofascists, gotta certain ring to it doncha think, then there are the jihadis, still haven’t figured who they are and this is serious shit.
    These people our officials are deadly serious and have no sense of humor, it appears we are loosing our perspective and you better not jokingly make any kind of criticism, or could be subject to god knows what.
    Just look at Snowden and Manning, it appears they want to make it frightening for the average person to even contemplate any criticism of government or their policies.
    As for those passing through or vacationing in the US, it may behove them to be aware that membership in certain organisations, could prevent their entering the US, for instance even though communism possibly only exists in North Korea and possibly India, I doubt that it has been declared harmless.
    So jay Leno eh ?
    How come you didnt go ? Couldda been your claim to fame.

  25. Chuck says:
    July 21, 2013 at 1:12 am

    “Just look at Snowden and Manning, it appears they want to make it frightening for the average person to even contemplate any criticism of government or their policies.”

    Yes but they’re frightened too, Chuck. They can survey us, but we can survey them too. I used to see a very ordinary geeky chap buying Special Brew in one of my local off licenses every now and again. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was hacking the Pentagon on a crap PC round his bird’s place very close to where I live. It was Gary McKinnon. :lol:

    “So jay Leno eh ?
    How come you didnt go ? Couldda been your claim to fame.”

    Because of what I wrote above, Chuck, those stories were pretty scary at the time. I was pissed off though.

  26. There was an article in “The Mag” the other day, That said we had failed in our attempt to get an A license, And Reading had been awarded it!

  27. I’ve just looked at “True Faith”, And apparently we just scraped through, But a lot of what goes on behind the scenes, At the Academy, Leaves a lot to be desired.
    Ill equipped coaches, Not enough time spent with young players, And a lot of other areas, That need to be improved.
    These inspections took place last year, And other clubs got the nod straight away, It took us months to get up to speed.
    Further evidence that this club is not being well run, Full stop!

  28. Well looks like Mick Harford is being brought in by Joe Kinnear, Make of that, What you will.
    Are they trying to push the puppet closer to the exit door?

    Well two Pre Season games, And we’ve scored 5, And conceded 5.
    I never watched it myself, But it was supposed to be more of what happened last Season, The ball was knocked long for Gouffran, And when that didn’t work, He brought on Shola, And preceded to do the same.
    I know these games are about fitness, But the defence is as leaky as ever, When the puppet is supposed to be pleased with that area!

  29. joe hawkins says:
    July 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    “Well looks like Mick Harford is being brought in by Joe Kinnear”

    Joe Kinnear brings in a Mackem :lol:

    You’ve got to laugh, Joe. It’s as if they’re sitting round a table full time, constantly dreaming up new scenarios which will make Geordies have a canary fit.

  30. Worky, The whole scenario is going beyond a joke, It’s defo “Jobs for the boys”, What has Harford been doing with himself?, I’ve never heard of him, For the last few years.

  31. joe hawkins says:
    July 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    “What has Harford been doing with himself?, I’ve never heard of him, For the last few years.”

    I have a mate dahn here in the smoke who’s a Millwall psycho. Harford’s first team coach there, or he was first team coach there if these reports pan out.

  32. Worky, I’ve just be on the Sky Sports website, And the photo they have of Harford, Makes him look like, What the Aussies call a Derro lol.

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