When Wonga was added to the list of Mike Ashley’s crimes against the good name of Newcastle, many fans were appalled.
One of the poorest regions in the UK having a legal loan shark charging ridiculous levels of interest emblazoned across the shirt of it’s football club, yet another reason for the once good name of the club to be dragged through the mud.
However, those unhappy fans may have reason for hope, as it looks increasingly unlikely that Wonga will be continuing their relationship with Newcastle United.
A crackdown on payday lenders led to a £37.3m loss by Wonga in 2014 and now the figures for 2015 have been released and the slide continues at a pace.
The 2015 losses are £80.2m and the company saw revenue drop from £217.2m to only £77.3m, Wonga blaming the regulatory body’s stricter lending criteria and introduction of a regulatory price cap.
Despite this, Wonga’s Chairman, Andy Haste, was upbeat:
“We expect 2016 to mark a turning point in our financial performance. With further funding planned for later this year, we are now in a position to move back into growth in 2016 and expect to return to profit in 2017.”
However, with the UK government having (very belatedly) acted to bring this industry more in line with the regulations in more forward thinking countries, it is hard to see where Wonga can return to the days of ridiculous high profits thanks to the public’s desperation for quick cash.
Wonga enter the last year of their deal with Newcastle United in the 2016/17 season and it is hard to see how they would be able to afford to extend their arrangement with the football club, or for the shrinking nature of their business to justify it.
In the meantime, those against having the payday loan company associated with the club are due to get some small relief.
Back in 2014 Wonga belatedly agreed to not put the inappropriate logo on shirts for children, although due to ‘production schedules’ they said this couldn’t be done until shirts going on sale for the 2016/17 season.
So as and when any new NUFC home or away shirt goes on sale, kit for kids won’t have Wonga ruining the effect, though you wouldn’t put it past Mike Ashley sticking Sports Direct on those ones instead….
Darryl Bowman, Wonga’s marketing director – November 2014:
“As a responsible lender we believe removing our logo from children’s replica shirts and training wear is the right thing to do. We appreciate the club’s support in this matter.”