Newcastle United have today announced their sponsorship deal with legal loan sharks Wonga.
Both the club and Wonga have been very vocal in their attempts to portray a deal which will help the community, at a grass roots level. They have also agreed to use the name St. James’ Park, for now.
In an online poll on this website, 91% of supporters claimed that a deal with Wonga would be a step backwards. However, after the announcement was made regarding the naming of the stadium, in another poll asking: Wonga Will Be On The Shirts and St.James’ Park Restored, Is This Positive News? As I write, over 75% have said yes, it was positive news.
Angered as I was when naming rights for our stadium were put up for sale, this deal for me, represents one of the lowest points of the current regime’s reign.
When all of the dust settled on the naming of our stadium, most people continued to call it what they had done for many years. That was tradition, history. Something which could not really be taken away.
Promoting, publicising, getting into bed with a company which makes £59m profit from exploiting people in desperate situations, threatens to tarnish something which cannot be written on the walls of the stadium with a can of paint.
It is from areas with massive unemployment, like Newcastle, where companies like this choose to aim their high interest loans at. They know people live within very tight budgets and look to take advantage of this. For a look at some facts and figures check out The Guardian’s David Conn’s insightful article.
Make no mistake, Wonga have targeted Newcastle for a specific reason. They want to raise the awareness of their business within our region and want to use our club as a way of raising their profile over Europe.
I want no association with companies like this and will never buy any merchandise with their name on it. We are selling our soul to the highest bidder here. Football clubs should be looking to help the people in its region, we give enough of our money to them for this to be the case. Instead they are choosing to promote a company which preys on the needy and vulnerable.