Fantastic @ St James’ Park?

Posted on March 25th, 2010 | 84 Comments |

'Fantastic'? St James Park.
'Fantastic'? St James Park.
I’m not talking about this season, although life has been largely fantastic at St James’ Park which now boasts the only unbeaten home record in the football league. I’m talking more on the grander scheme of things, and the news today is that Newcastle United are ‘proud’ to announce a new sponsorship deal with a company called Fantastic Telecoms. Never heard of them? No, neither have I, however they are now the clubs “official telecoms partner”.

On the face of it, it doesn’t sound that bad. But when I read more into it, some alarm bells started ringing. Perhaps i’m reading too much into it? Perhaps the whole renaming debacle of a few months ago that touched a nerve with me has left me with some doubt as to just what the implications of this deal are?

Fantastic Telecom are part of the much larger MDS telecoms group, the deal will offer Newcastle United fans phone and broadband packages in a more cost effective way for the consumer. As an added sweetener, 10% of all subscriptions will be donated back to the club to invest in the youth setup.

Pen was put to paper on a 4 year sponsorship deal that will commence at the start of next season. On the clubs official website it mentions that part of the terms of the deal will mean that Fantastic Telecom will have highly-visible sponsorship branding around St James’ Park.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for maximising money coming into the club but what concerns me is the ‘highly-visible’ aspect of the deal, although I very much doubt the package includes any naming rights of the stadium. How visible? Will we have te more tacky signs draped off the top of the stands, much like the SportsDirect one on top of the Gallowgate end? How about putting it on top of the East stand, just in front of where it says ‘Newcastle United’? Put the signs together and we could have ‘Fantastic Newcastle United’ then couldn’t we?

Newcastle United are apparently thrilled with the deal. Commercial Director, Barry Webber had this to say about it:

“This is a highly significant deal for the football club and we are delighted to welcome MDS Telecom Group to our family of official sponsors.”

“Our aim is to continually offer our fans something more and we feel that joining forces with Fantastic Telecom provides our supporters with something truly exceptional. With the team doing exceptionally well, this is just another indication of the off-field commercial strides we are making.”

Barry sounds thrilled, but lauding something as basic as phone and broadband as ‘truly exceptional’ in the year 2010 is a bit rich, I mean it’s not like he has just re-invented the wheel is it? Still, I guess credit must be given for trying to maximise the potential of the club, even if I am less than enthusatic about it.

Is this another sign that Mike Ashley is finally getting things right?

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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84 Responses

  1. Ah bravo on the headline and lead-in toonsy.

    Take a bow.

    Fantastic are actually already involved with the Football League in some capacity, as far as I’m led to believe. Hope that doesn’t mean we have plans of sticking around down here… ;)

  2. Your right bowburn. I looked into a bit and on their site thay are involved with most Championship teams, and they also in fact carry the football league logo.

    Strange really considering it has been said this is one of their first attempts at sponsoring a football club.

    Bit like that weedy bloke down the pub that claims to never have played pool before, then resoundinlgy spanks you.

  3. Can you have 2 kit sponsors? Perhaps there will be a wee patch across the shoulders that bares their logo? Probably not.

    It’s probably just a few more placards around the grounds though.

  4. NorCal – I assume so. They do in Europe, and in South America. Perhaps it’s down to individul sponsorship deals, like shirt sponsors want their name on the shirt exclusively.

  5. It would be an interesting idea…I am not necessarily supporting the idea…but it could be a trend as more teams look to earn more cash. Imagine if Portsmouth, Crystal Palance, South Hampton and others were able to get a bit more cash out of sponsors. It could help alleviate some of the debt the clubs are experiencing more and more.

  6. Toonsy mate, following on from your comment on the previous thread I’ve never got it either. Actually, it really really p*sses me off. Such an arrogant stance to take, no? Where I’m from, you’ll find about 1 toon fan in 100. Every single one of my mates are big Manure fans, apart from the occasional Liverpool or Arsenal supporter. As such, I’m always on the recieving end of bucketloads of abuse and p*sstaking- when we went down my phone actually crashed as I got so many texts at once from people ripping the p*ss! The way I see it, it’s easy to support Newcastle in Newcastle, cos everyone’s in the same boat. Walking into a pub ANYwhere along the south coast in black and white stripes automatically makes you a target, but I still wear em with pride!

    And for the record, when my great Grandfather emigrated from Poland to Newcastle, he changed his name from ‘Gramatski’ to ‘Grainger,’ because of Grainger street. My entire family on my Dad’s side are from Newcastle but my Dad moved to London when he became homeless. I know none of this should matter remotely but at least I have a historical and emotional tie to the city- I didn’t just fancy supporting us in the glory days of 96 when we were winning, as seems to be the insinuation of Roy Cropper and Co.

    Rant over!

  7. WOW… nufc are thrilled at securing a sponsor that already works with just about every other team in the CCC. It looks like the partnership has started off with a lie on its very first day – bullshitting that they are fairly new to the footy world!!

  8. devon – Rany acknowledged :D

    I agree mate.

    Being born in Newcastle i never really had a choice, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

    Now I’m living in the midlands I find i’m pretty much on my own sorrounded my Man Utd, then Arsenal, then Chelsea, and my least favourite, Liverpool fans.

    I still always have the upper hand in banter though, ‘glory hunter’ is a great way to wind them up although it did end in a particularly nasty scuffle during a Man Utd match once ;)

  9. Manchester United have signed a five-year sponsorship deal with communications group Telekom Malaysia.

    The deal will make Telekom Malaysia the “Integrated Telecommunications Partner” of the Old Trafford club in Malaysia.

    Nothing much different. At least our’s sounds better. :lol:

  10. NorCal ToonFan says:
    March 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm
    Can you have 2 kit sponsors? Perhaps there will be a wee patch across the shoulders that bares their logo? Probably not.

    I think there is a rule in the premiership were you can only have one sponser on the jeresy while in other leagues you can have more , a few teams in championship have a ssponser on back of their shirt above the number , well im almost sure on that :)

  11. For me Liverpool fans seem the best, seeing as they’ve not won much for a while, or discovered any consistency they’re not quite as annoying. Generally I don’t aknowledge Chelsea fans as genuine as the only ones I’ve ever met came post-Abramovich, and Aresenal fans are usually nice and quiet! Mate I’ve used the glory-supporter card to death it just falls on death ears now, my other personal favourite is pointing out that most of them have never been within a 200-mile square radius of Old Trafford- failing that I’ll just ask them a little bit about their Mancunian family history :) Usually does the job…

  12. Celtic have confirmed that manager Tony Mowbray and his assistants have left Celtic following the 4-0 defeat at St Mirren.

    All the best Mowbray. ;)

  13. Toonsy and Devonmag, i have extended family in Worcester with the same chew but at least the kids didnt take the easy cop out available, that is to follow a top placed club with absolutely no affinity to it whatsoever.
    I couldnt imagine that anyone could be a true football fan without a bigger measure of pain to go with the odd burst of glory.
    When we first went up to the Premier league, my brother and i travelled from his home in Hereford to Old Trafford and i have never seen a ground where there are more away coaches, i was disgusted to see just to our right a banner proclaiming, Alnwick Reds, FFS.
    Anyway, although one down, we outsung them and when Cole scored it was delirium, the best feeling ever at a match and their plastic fans just watched in bewilderment, aye its easy to be one of them but how boring.

  14. Don’t start me Dave, it boils my piss, it really does.

    As I’ve said, I’m a geordie and I find myself privilaged that people choose to support where I come from. No wonder nobody like is with comments like ‘plastics’.

    Jesus, I must have missed the massive trophy haul that draws plastic fans in :lol:

    Take no notice of it lads. Plastic = B.S.

  15. I have to agree with Toonsy like, It makes me feel proud that people from other places and countries support the Toon.

    You must be forgetting our recent Champions League winner trophy there like Toonsy, Man U trophy cabinet has nowt on ours……..

  16. Toonsy it used to annoy me but not for a longtime, I can even remember someone calling me a gloryhunter before but I told him he need to hit himmself on the back of the head with a hatchet. catch you’s later

  17. I feel so ignorant sometimes. What makes someone a “Plastic Geordie.”
    Take me for instance. I am a native to the North Bay of California. Born and raised here. Still live here today. I’ve only been able to view (and therefore support) Enlgih teams since 2002. Of all the teams I could’ve picked to support (having not a single tie to the UK, without going back 300+ years), I chose Newcastle United. I really enjoyed watching them play. I am still a proud supporter of the club. I have no interest in persuing interest in another team. Does that make me “plastic” because I don’t hale from the area? Or is it more the idea that you only support a winning team?

  18. NorCal,

    I would say it’s more about the “glory hunting” aspect. People supporting teams because they smash the league to pieces every year and claiming a life-long allegiance to their chosen side..

    This year I’m hoping Arsenal win the Premiership, mainly because we’re not in it, but also the football they play is awesome.

    Does that make me a plastic arse? No. However, my prostethic arse does.

    Does that make me a plastic

  19. Howay man, we all know it’s a nonsense.

    There are two angles to those who call supporters ‘plastic’, those predefined to ignorance and WUMs. Neither are worth you lot getting worked up about it.

    On that note though, I’m genuinely gutted for those that have moved away or were born outside the beautiful city. It’s only since I started working in town again, I realised how much I missed parts of it and the football club is with you all day, everyday on the streets, in the shops and in the bars. I feel privileged to be part of it again.

  20. NorCal – Plastic fans are usually ones that follow the bigger teams OR the teams that win everything (glory hunters).

    It’s just a figure of speech that some, more ignorant, people use. Anyone that supports Newcastle is an adopted geordie in my book, regardless of where they come from. They feel the same joy when we win and same pain when we lose. Locality has NOTHING to do with it :)

  21. No one can call a Newcastle supporter a glory supporter can they, but I do think you need a connection with the club you support though.

  22. Aye bowburn. All my family is still up in Newcastle and I’m looking at moving back at some point.

  23. jay jay – How do you mean connection? A lot of fans (such as NorCal above) saw us and liked us play and started following us as a result. No connection other than pure chance as something else may have been on the TV at the time.

    I don’t think a connection is required, you support who you support.

  24. Norcal – take no notice. Just because I was born in Benwell (in 1950) and my dad supported Newcastle before they were even called the “Toon”, doesn’t make me any more of a supporter than you. The more the merrier I say – I think what counts is the loyalty and dedication. I think of “plastic” in terms of something that can change shape in other words, I can’t stand people who are (say) from here and “choose” to claim to support Chelski or Man Utd just because they win things, or who switch their allegiance from the Toon (or any other team for that matter) just because they’re doing badly and not playing exciting football.
    It just gets under your skin – hope you get the chance to come to St James’s (not Fantastic phonecalls@ .com or whatever) and watch a game amongst 50,000 excited fans!

  25. toonsy says:
    March 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm
    Aye bowburn. All my family is still up in Newcastle and I’m looking at moving back at some point.
    <<<<< oh noooooooo

  26. :lol:

    You think the Bigg Market has it’s hands full with Carroll? Wait till I hit it after a couple of Babychams ;)

  27. AngelofDeath

    You’re not Singaporean are you? LOL

    Anyway, I’m born and raised in Asia, never been to Europe but I’ve been a Newcastle fan since I was 11, and it wasn’t like they were getting trophies 10 years ago (I’m barely in my mid-twenties) but nevertheless I’ve never supported any other team other than Newcastle despite all the disappointments although I just can’t figure out why. :D

  28. Magpie6699 et. al., thanks for the replies. I’ve actually had the extreme pleasure and fortune to spend NYE in Newcastle followed with a game the next day against Birmingham where I was treated to a 2-1 vicotry in which Ameobi and Bowyer scored. Part of the reason I am still a Shola supporter. 50,000+ on hand singing and cheering…it was something this Yank’s never experienced.
    I can’t wait to come back. My wife is saying that next year for my birthday (March) we take the girls(will be 5 yo then) to England and I can take a train up to Newcastle to get a day or two up there. I had a great couple of days up there, and have been wanting to return for quite some time. Perhaps next year we can meet for a pint somewhere.

  29. Face it anyone living outside the general Greater Geordieland area, is a Plastic Geordie, that may include Bowburn, it`s either on the border outside or could be considered part of Greater S********d.
    We know where you live too Toonsy and the name of your local club.
    As for the big kahoona, we know where he lives too, sumfink abaht dahn sarf, he`s “got choice” of local clubs too.
    Point being all you real deal Geordies are on a site run by plastic Geordies, what`s that abaht !

  30. Oh it was going so well for you there NorCal until you mentioned Shola. I was even making up the spare room for you on your next visit!!

  31. Guess I`m one of the few who could be classified as a glory hunter having experienced the three cup wins of the fifties.

  32. Here comes chuck to carry on the bigotry.

    Coventry isn’t my local club. It’s the most relevant one considering the division we are in.

    Rugby Town FC would be my local club ;)

    A background –

  33. I’ve followed Newcastle from afar and have been a supporter since I first fell in love with the sport 15 years ago. I do beleive that those who grew up in Newcastle might have that extra bit of passion that can only be aroused by your local club for reasons of history, child hood memories, and local prode. that’s inevitable. Doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t great and welcomed supporters- I’m sure we all have the stories to prove. They sure can’t call us glory hunters.

  34. Chuck, shut your mouth. There’s no rule that says you have to support the most relevant club to you. I was born in the Toon, will die in the Toon and bleed black and white, but I still second Rangers and third FC Koln, so that’s England, Scotland and Germany. Now I could have been born in Scotland but I decided to make my appearance just as my parents were packing for a weekend in the Highlands and kept them in sunny Newcastle. toonsy, bowburn, whoever else – what difference does it make where somebody is born? The fact is they’re all in for the cause and these “plastic Geordies” are the ones keeping this site running. If you’ve such a problem with it, why don’t you start your own one and have a “true” NUFC blog? Remember, Ed (of .com fame) lives in America – is he a plastic too?


    I quite like this idea (even if it is just for the ‘Fantastic’ logo) with the constant support being given by the fans for match days, merchandise, Shearer’s etc. but now the club will be getting extra money for a package built for the fans. The problem with this is how many of us are going to go with them, I mean most of us have a telephone line and broadband connection that we’re happy with… why should we jump ship for 10% of our monthly bill going to NUFC?

  35. @MDS: Ah sh*te, we’ve got an MDS Telecom spokesperson to fill us with their business lies and treachery!

  36. Chuck @ 31,

    Great post mate. lol

    Am I Geordie? Born in Wallsend and bred in Newacstle!
    Who cares, it’s where your heart and soul are. Speaking from expereience a divorce is easier i.e. you can get rid of your ex, but you can’t get rid of the Toon, that part stays in your heart and naws away at you every bloody day of your life.
    I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    Great to hear from fans around the globe who have their hearts bleeding black n white.

  37. Toonsy
    What are you talking about “bigotry” I may have a subtle or dry sense of humor that goes over some heads but never a bigot.
    I was only aving a larf guv, oi swear !

  38. Put a thingy like ;) or :D after it then.

    Or moisten up and stop being so dry lol.

    Mmmmm moisten.

  39. @ Thump 37- I’m actually a spy for the company with a not to clever alias. Don’t tell anyone…

  40. Thump & Tony Green

    Fellahs for christ sake ! it was a bit of toungue in cheek, obviously went over most heads.
    Duh !

    And Toonsy, admitt it you been to a few Coventry games, aint you ?

    And BBM, tell me you got it ?

  41. Anyway, the clock sez Amstel time, later !

    ps Dont use smileys, if you are not smart enough to tell the difference between tounge in cheek and being serious, what can i say dude !

  42. “Yeah right”

    Yes, it is right, chuck. I stay true too my roots and have no interest in what any club does other than Newcastle. Why I’d spend money to go watch another is a mystery, but Im happy your concerend about me.

  43. chuck – wheyaye. I’m surprised the lads didn’t see it. It was definitely less subtle than you normally are. But hey, sometimes mine goes sailing over heads too. Or maybe I’m just not very funny…

    I don’t think there’s any reason not to watch other teams, to be fair toons. As long as you have the money, time/convenience of course. One of my most memorable games was a Rangers v Celtic game (5-1) and I don’t follow either team.

    I like to think of myself as a football fan first. Although it isn’t genereally the case and the town usually come first.

  44. The simple fact that we are all still on here ranting and bitching and raving about our club after getting relegated shows we are all TRUE fans!
    Ps I’m from south africa…lol

  45. bowburnmag says:
    March 25, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    “One of my most memorable games was a Rangers v Celtic game (5-1) and I don’t follow either team.”

    I’ve been a Magpie all my life, but it was the 1974 World Cup finals which really got me into football on a deeper level. Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff are still my biggest footballing idols, and the greatest football minds ever. They revolutionised the whole game.

  46. toonsy says:
    March 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    “Worky – He is just bitter after I caught him yesterday”

    Toonsy, Me and Statler were banging on for ages on here about those well known footballers, Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix once. He didn’t moan about being “off topic” then.

  47. it just sounds a bit gay. like fabulous @ st. james’ park, or super duper @ st. james’ park

    i suppose it’s better than a household name with its own connotations

  48. Chuck says:
    March 25, 2010 at 8:06 pm
    Anyway, the clock sez Amstel time, later !

    ps Dont use smileys, if you are not smart enough to tell the difference between tounge in cheek and being serious, what can i say dude <<<< lol chuck your a reet laugh kidda

  49. Toonsy Lad surprised Chuck got you to take the bait mate I thought you would have seen that bait with your eyes closed, Plus that sounded like you were offering to moisten him up you dirty Dog.
    Where is the Icedog he must be out helping Batty sell his Big Issue down the Bigg Market tonite

  50. didnt you have them off me m8 well a thought it was u anyway that i sore pickin nippins up oot of the gutter lol

  51. Batty are you sure it wasn’t RC you saw ;) oh I was surprised to see you loss the bap earlier mate its not like ye :)
    check the song out now but its slow buffering

  52. Lived my whole life in Wisconsin (Essentially Canada). Fell for the Toon because that’s where Shearer did most of his damage. I’d liked Shay Given too from the Ireland team, and when I found out about Dyer and Bowyer sluggin it out on the pitch, I was sold.

    In the US, the media only pays attention to teams on the East and West Coasts – New York and Los Angeles the best examples. It seems in the UK, everything is London or the Manchester. Overcoming the media bias just makes NUFC that much more endearing.

    Who wouldn’t want to be part of the Toon army, who have supported their team through the thick and thin. The Green Bay Packers, my lifelong NFL addiction, have sold out Lambeau Field, a 60,000 seat stadium built in the 1940’s, for over 40 years running, even in the shit years the team had in the 80’s.

  53. Oh yah, and Newcastle always had another thing in common with where I’m from — it’s Cold as Balls

  54. Hearing about how people started supporting the club reminds me of an incident in the late 70s. I used to a St John’s Ambulance man at St James, with about 10 mins of the match to go we got a call for a young lad who hurt his ankle down in the Gallowgate entrance. When we went to collect him, we got told of his story – every Saturday when Newcastle was at home he walked all the way from Felling to get to the ground for the last 10 mins, when the gates were been opened to let people out, this was his chance to watch HIS team. This day he fell and twisted his ankle. We could have taken him round via the car park to the ambulance room, but his story (confirmed by one of the local policeman) touched our hearts, we decided to struggle back through the crowd and walk him round the pitch. I’ve never seen a bigger smile as the one on that lads face that day, he might have had a badly twisted ankle, but he said he would never forget that day.

  55. Sounds fantastic, this deal might also attract some top class players for us!

  56. Off course they are going to have a highly visible advertising around the ground – That’s what their paying for.

    I couldn’t care less how many adverts are around the stadium as long as it brings money into the club.

  57. Jay Jay says:
    “No one can call a Newcastle supporter a glory supporter can they, but I do think you need a connection with the club you support though.”

    Not at all Jay Jay. I live 12 000km from England here in South Africa. I have never and could never afford to get all the way up to St James to watch a Newcastle game, but I follow every game on the net or television.

    Ye, its great to support your local side. Which I do (in South Africa), and think most people should in the UK.
    But who says we can’t become attached to the endearing qualities of an overseas based club. Especially in a league with the excitement and quality of the English Premier league.

    You know, the world has become a smaller place… Here in South Africa, we get more coverage of Premier league and Championsleague fixture on television than the UK does… The interest is MASSIVE…

    I have been watching Newcastle for 16 years now – I’m 27.
    And it really really angers me when so called Newcastle “supporters” bitch and moan about plastic fans that don’t have a connection to Newcastle city itself.

    We fall in love with the club just as much as any of them do. And they should be grateful the club is so well supported abroad. They should feel pride!

    For me, it was watching Andy Cole, at first. Then came Beardsley, Ginola, Albert, Beresford, Lee… I’d never seen a side and manager with so much charisma. I was glued to the screen everytime they played.
    I continued to follow them. I was shocked when Keegan left. Then the turmoil of Dalgliesh (hated him), Gullit (knob), but it was enthralling. You knew even in the low years we would come right.
    Then came Sir Bobby, my absolute hero in football, followed by Shearer and Beardsley. Watching a different style to Keegan, but a great pacey counter attacking style that got us back into the Championsleague…
    I’m waffeling on, but my point is the story and intrigue behind the scenes and on the pitch. Newcastle is unique. Even in the cr@p times you look back and think… Only at Newcastle! To hear the crowds chant louder on the tele than any other side gives me shivers of pride (although Stoke fans put up a good fight last season).
    And to see the fans cheer even in relegation – and then get 45 000 fans going to a Football league game.
    Its amazing!

    Anyway, just be proud of the fact that you have fans around the world. Don’t think we drop off when we have bad times. We feel the pain just as much as any of you do! I promise. Hopefully from now on we’ll enjoy the good times too…

  58. Mick G @ #2, understand that it’s sort of a sentimental thing. I am not shouting his praises mind you, it’s just the first Toon goal I saw score in person. I’d say keep him in a backup position, he’s been loyal and good to have on more than 1 occassion.

    Personally, I would love to see Newcastle pick up an American such as Jozy Altidore as a striker. However, i am of course biased and naturally want to see one of my countrymen playing for my favorite team.

  59. First off- I apologize as I’ve skipped about 40 comments to post this, but after reading the first discussion on here about plastic fans, I simply HAD to post something about it.

    I’m not a Geordie by birth. Technically, I’m a Floridian by birth. I live in Nashville, Tennessee in the good ole’ U S of A. I’m about as American as they come and enjoy fried chicken and cornbread as much as any Southerner.


    I’ve been supportin’ this fine club for 3 years now. Like NorCal ToonFan, I had absolutely no allegiance to anywhere in England (though part of my family hails from Swindon Town MANY MANY years back). I got to choose what club I supported.

    Obviously, I chose Newcastle. It was the most informed sports allegiance decision I’ve ever made. I looked at every club in the Premiership and researched fan support, organization, history, and everything. Simply put, from a 3rd party perspective Newcastle has by FAR the best fan support and offered a great alternative to the glory-hunting fools that support Manure, Chelski, and the like simply because they win a lot. Hell, my best mate is a Chelsea supporter simply because he likes Didier Drogba. I find this laughable and slag him off for this every chance I get.

    Anyway, fact of the matter is that I’m as proud a Toon supporter as they come. I wear my shirt at least twice a week. I’ve never even been to Newcastle, but already feel as though I could find a home away from home across the watta :D I don’t post on here often (as I’m always on Ed’s site haha), but I felt as though this would be appropriate to comment on. HWTL!

  60. I might also add that since I’ve become a Toon supporter, I’ve learned how to make pease puddin’ and stottie cakes :D

    And Broon Ale has been favorite since before I could legally drink lol! That actually had a LOT to do with why I chose Newcastle as my team hehehe.

  61. OHurley Good on ye mate, there is a lot of bloggers on here from Uncle Eds after he closed. I dont go on Eds much now as it was hard to get into a convo as there was allways new threads going up so it killed of the Banter. But you normally get good banter on here and there isn’t many WUM’s on here ;)

  62. O’Hurley – 2 days a week? Part timer lol

    I wear mine 7 days a week, the same one ;)

    Same with my Toon pants

  63. Big Dave-

    Yeah, I’m startin’ to see that the banter on here is like Ed’s used to be a year ago. I think I might stick around a little longer like!!

  64. Toonsy I take it you have to softeh your pants with a hammer to getthem into the washing machine ye minger ;)

    OHurley ye mate its like eds was before but still with less knobs and wum’s

  65. Big Dave-

    I’m brushin’ up on me British slang like. What’s minger mean again?