Newcastle United, as we are constantly told, are very special. No matter that they haven't won any silverware of consequence since cloth caps and Woodbines were de rigueur, and even though they now languish in football's second tier, their followers still think Newcastle have a god-given right to be treated differently.
I suppose, with this in mind, the renaming of their stadium to 'Sportsdirect.com@St James' Park Stadium' was always going to be a trifle controversial, and prompt the bare-chested ones to play their rather tiresome 'special club' card once again.
- Newcastle reveal name change
- Championship fixtures
In case you haven't heard, the subsequent plan is to annually auction off, for a sum around £5 million, the right to add a company's name to the ground's time-honoured title.
Good publicity for the company and very profitable for the club you would have thought. After all, in these recessional times, any means to raise finance and be able to compete sensibly with the real movers and shakers of the football world should surely be seized upon voraciously.
Good on the club administrators, I say, for gaining a considerable reward for very little effort. "Bad business", said The Times earlier this week, suggesting it would be insulting the sensibilities of the Newcastle fans who should have the final say on such matters.
Rubbish! Football, maybe ultimately to its detriment, has become big business and if you want the investment of wealthy entrepreneurs in order to maintain our status as the premier league in Europe, and probably the World, you have to accept the type of commerciality that this proposal represents.
Whatever next? Well I don't think you need to suspend belief to imagine that.wait for it.players become renamed or, should I say, rebranded.
Can you imagine the possibilities here? We could have companies queuing up to link their products to our favourite superstars. Sponsors could completely finance a player's wages and allow clubs to rcdirect the resulting surplus cash to more worthwhile ends
Of course, it would help if the product, in some way, matched the personality, playing traits or appearance of the player it was linked with.
Hence, you could have Tesco Value Maris Piper Potato Wayne Rooney, Ginster Pies Frank Lampard, Teflon Non-Stick Pans Paul Robinson, Peperami Peter Crouch, Tenants Special Brew Joey Barton, Insure and Go Owen Hargreaves, Italia Conti Stage School Didier Drogba, Right Guard Glen Johnson, Jordan's Oats Dwight Yorke and perhaps Recaro Seating Michael Owen.
On a lower budget, referees and managers may even get involved.
Trip Advisor Martin Atkinson is a strong possibility and the managerial time bomb that exists at Stamford Bridge could lead to Next becoming the ongoing Manager sponsor. Your turn now.
Why don't you come up with your suggestions linking sponsors to certain players, referees or managers and, who knows, there may be a prize at stake (or maybe not).
Email us with your ideas and the best examples will be printed in next weeks blog. In the meantime let's keep our fingers crossed that Newcastle fans' sensibilities are not too badly damaged.
Howay the sportsdirect.com lads!
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