SBD/October 11, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Newcastle Manager Defends Wonga Deal, Claims Sponsorship Can Help Propel Team

Pardew said the deal with Wonga gives the club the "financial muscle" to improve
EPL club Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has defended the team's “controversial new sponsorship deal” with short-term loans company Wonga, and claims that the partnership “can help propel his team into the Premier League's top four,” according to Louise Taylor of the GUARDIAN. Pardew said, "As manager of this football club I can only say that to have the best sponsorship deal we've ever had is a good thing. It's about building the first team and it's about having the financial muscle to start improving the academy -- that's an area where we've lagged behind some of the senior clubs. Now there's no reason why we can't be one of those top-four clubs, especially on an organisational front." Pardew before the Wonga deal said that he “quizzed Errol Damelin, Wonga's South African owner, about the business and emerged satisfied with what he heard.” Pardew: "If our fans do have any concerns maybe they should contact Blackpool supporters (whose club is also sponsored by Wonga) and see how they've done. The feeling I get is that Blackpool fans have been happy with Wonga and what they've done for the club" (GUARDIAN, 10/11). In London, Jason Mellor writes Newcastle is “unlikely to face the threat of a protest or boycott from their four Muslim players over the controversial [US$40M] sponsorship deal with Wonga.” Islam’s moral and religious code “instructs its followers not to lend money for profit, the principle of charging interest going against its beliefs.” The club made “no official comment on the issue last night,” but sources “played down the prospect of any form of protest or refusal to wear the shirt once the new deal comes into effect at the start of next season” (LONDON TIMES, 10/11).

THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS: In London, James Corrigan asks, “Why should this Magpied majority concern itself with ethics when Wonga … has not only poured money into their club via a shirt sponsorship but also vowed to reinstate their stadium’s proper name?” Corrigan: “All that counts is the greenback the chief executive can count. Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to chant and buy. Start questioning and you stop dreaming. Sell your soul or your star striker. When will it come to a shuddering halt? Only when the Premier League's popularity tails off, only when the profiteers find easier, more gullible victims.” He adds, “Everyone knows the Premier League is king. We are prepared to put up with each sickening excess, with every transparent money-grab, for our weekly banquet” (London TELEGRAPH, 10/11).
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