Just take a look at your local street next time you are out. Where once there may have been a butcher or a baker, there will now be a pay day lender or a shop offering sofas and cookers on sky-high interest rates.

And now you can’t even escape the hard sell when you go to a football game. Wonga has paid Newcastle £23 million to be able to plaster team shirts with their logo.

Newcastle is not the first to succumb – Hearts and Blackpool took the shilling before. But Newcastle is the biggest name by far. It is a byword for passionate fans and team loved by its city. Its good name ought not be sullied by pay day loan sharks preying on hard-pressed people, but the board sadly thinks otherwise.

Unite has been campaigning to cap Wonga-style credit rates of 4200 percent because people tell us that these drown them in debt. What starts off as a short-term loan soon becomes a snare, with the average worker borrowing £325 a month to get by.

The small loan to bridge the gap between the rising living costs and shrinking wages ends up a treadmill of borrowing more to pay off the original loan. Our research tells us that someone will have to work three days a month just to pay off their loan. Small wonder they have to borrow again and again. They are not borrowing for high spec tvs or luxury breaks but for food, mortgages, money to get by.

But this is not what Wonga wants you to believe. They want to seduce with how `easy’ it is to borrow, never mentioning the danger of the debt trap.

That is why the Newcastle’s pact with Wonga is so dangerous. It normalises something that ought to be ringing alarm bells – extortionate rates of credit. And this is why Unite and the TUC in our region are calling on Mike Ashley to think again.

Newcastle’s fans deserve better than for their passion and good name to be used to peddle debt. The return of St James’ Park is scant comfort – won’t it always be the name known to fans?

In October, a No 10 adviser went to work for Wonga. The prime minister takes advice on how to slash workers’ rights from the venture capitalist who funded Wonga, Adrian Beecroft. To Unite, these links are nothing short of shady, which is why we want an inquiry. Mike Ashley and the Newcastle board, the latest to put the interests of big business before the interests of people, should take heed.

In the north east, times are tough enough for people but we have our pride. So take a stand. Don’t let your club’s gilded name become tarnished. Join the fight to see the Wonga sharks off from our communities.

If you think Wonga’s cash is dirty money, then complain. Write to the Mag or use the club’s official Facebook and Twitter pages to speak out

– details on www.nufc.co.uk/page/Welcome/ To find out more about Unite, visit www.unitetheunion.org

Karen Reay – Unite regional secretary

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  • Robinc

    Get over yourself, you don’t have to loan from them neither do they, its for ease of use and the much published rates don’t apply for most users, its a short term loan company, where 92% of users saying they would re-use the service. I take it you would prefer we didn’t have a legal company sponsoring our team, maybe your political stance would be best challenging the government labour (who Unite and TUC have memberships with and pay £ms to in subscriptions) who first allowed these companies to form or the Tories who continue to allow them. Rather than having a go at our team and club try that rather than blaming us or our team.

    Would you rather we had 188 bet gambling or one of the many others (they don’t cause any problems for poor people) on it or one of the banks like RBS which caused the double dip alongside others, or maybe a stock market company I mean they are great, or Chang what do they do? or finally a charity yes lets let them pay £20m to advertise on our shirts supporting African investment oh hold are they really really an oil company hiding their money allegedly.

  • BlythMag

    What a load of Tosh…simple economics, supply and demand, no demand no supply i.e. if people didn’t use the service it would go bust. And what about the people who NEED the service. If it wasn’t there how many people would have the bailiffs banging on the door. Your reasoning is illogical, the real motive behind it is your anti Ashley, socialist agenda.

  • Asprilla1

    That 4200% isn’t even relevant!

  • Fieryfigrin

    Well said….the prior two posters i mean by the way. What a load of drivel. I dont even see how a pile of purely political rubbish is relevant on this site. Maybe you should repost in the communist news or whatever its called.

    While not perfect, these type of lender help a lot of people who wouldnt get a loan elsewhere, me included once upon a desperater time! I know id rather trust someone with written terms and conditions than your shady unions