Recent days have seen much discussion about the possibility of Newcastle United once again featuring Newcastle Brown Ale on their shirts.
This was sparked by an article in the Sunday Mirror claiming that the club had (at some unspecified time) been in discussions with the current owners (Heineken) of the Newcastle Brown Ale product/brand, though the article gave no real facts or outcome to the alleged talks.
Yet another classic exclusive…
Anyway, what it did do was to open the conversation about who Newcastle fans will see as shirt sponsor come August 2017 when next season kicks off.
For some time we have known that W**** was thankfully no longer going to be associated with Newcastle United when their current deal runs out, a government clampdown on their activities and the industry as a whole, have ensured that the riches are no longer there for them to be able to pay any kind of realistic sum to keep the sponsorship going.
So who next?
The response to the remote possibility/idea of Newcastle Brown Ale was overwhelmingly positive but have fans really thought about this.
I would say, in terms of how it looks, nothing can beat that imagery of the Newcastle Brown Ale beermat shirt as featured by Alan Shearer above – what a combination!
However, there is more to a shirt sponsorship than the look, after all, it wasn’t the W**** logo that we had a problem with…
Back in the day, Newcastle Breweries/Newcastle Brown Ale was a brilliant fit for Newcastle United for so many reasons.
The imagery for one, with another being the fact so many of us drank it (as well as other Newcastle Breweries products such as Exhibition and Best Scotch).
However, the overwhelming fact that sealed the relationship, was that S & N was slap bang in the middle of the City brewing Newcastle Brown Ale just across the road from St James Park, employing hundreds/thousands of people in the region.
Move forward to 2016 and what do we have?
For starters, who drinks it? Go out in Newcastle City Centre this weekend and you’ll struggle to see anybody drinking it in many/most bars, rather than Geordies topping up their half pint glass, if you do see anybody it is likely to be a student from down south drinking it straight out of the bottle!
Also, in 2005 production of Newcastle Brown Ale was moved over to the Federation Breweries site in Gateshead, then in 2010 the disgraceful decision was taken to then move the brewing to Tadcaster in Yorkshire. Pressure was exerted and the European Union removed the ‘Geographical Protection Status’ that Newcastle Brown Ale had been covered by.
For many people, especially those who had been employed to produce it, that was the day/year when Newcastle Brown Ale was no more.
Apart from the name and imagery, what has Newcastle Brown Ale got to do with our great City and region in the present day?
All of those people who lost their jobs, to me it would be like a slap in the face for thousands of Geordies if Newcastle United ever had any kind of connection with Newcastle Brown Ale again.
You might as well have NCB (National Coal Board for younger readers…) on the Newcastle shirts, a reminder to all the miners who were shafted and lost their jobs in the 1980s.
Ironically, our opponents on Sunday would be a far more fitting club to carry the Newcastle Brown Ale brand on their shirts, as Tadcaster is only 14 miles from Leeds…