Virgin and Newcastle United – Can a Brand be Lucky?

Posted on January 16th, 2012 | 30 Comments |

Richard Branson - Newcastle United's newest fan?
Newcastle United's newest fan?
“Twenty years ago, we sponsored Crystal Palace and they got to the FA Cup final. Then last week, we sponsored Newcastle and they beat Manchester United 3-love.”

“So we’re a lucky brand, and may the luck continue throughout the rest of the season.”

The words of Sir Richard Branson, (3-love?? – clearly a tennis fan!) the 4th richest person in the UK and 254th richest in the world. Not bad for a bloke who started with a mail order record business in 1970 and who went on to own Virgin Records, Virgin Megastores and now sees over 400 companies in the Virgin Group, including Virgin Atlantic who have that nice ad on the telly with the bonny air stewardesses and Muse playing the old Nina Simone track “Feeling Good” in the background. Impressive music knowledge there eh? His wealth is estimated at $4.2 billion (£2.75 billion) which makes Mike Ashley look like a Sports Shop Owner. He also has class and charisma so we’d better stop the Ashley comparisons now before it gets too silly.

The bloke has either worked his socks off to make a fortune, or he’s been lucky. Probably a bit of both actually. Now at the age of 62 his Virgin Brand has moved into high street banking by acquiring our very own Northern Rock, transforming it into Virgin Money. By a stroke of luck, this move has linked the Virgin empire with Newcastle United, previously sponsored by Northern Rock. Virgin have agreed a 2 year shirt sponsor deal, hopefully that’s just for starters…

Getting back to the question of luck, then. As our new mate Sir Richard pointed out (isn’t it good to be associated with another “Sir” by the way), Virgin is a lucky brand. Strangely enough, that Virgin-sponsored Crystal Palace team which got to the cup final in 1990 and drew 3-3 with Manchester United (but lost the replay) contained a certain central midfield player called Alan Pardew, who we now know, of course, was destined to go on to manage the finest football team in England. Small world eh?

But is it possible for a brand to be lucky? Possibly. I mean look at Manchester United for example. They’ve won the Premiership lots of times, lots of cups etc by being lucky enough to have the best manager, and also by being lucky enough to always get a referee who is afraid to give penalties against them at Old Trafford. Mind you, they got their come-uppance on 4th January 2012 when they were totally dismantled 3-0 by the righteous and just team currently sitting 6th in the Premiership – but I digress.

A lucky brand? Well, it is true to say that “success breeds success” – and the Virgin brand has been and is highly successful. So being linked with them and having “Virgin Money” emblazoned across our players’ shirts is not a bad move at all. It is no co-incidence that since the brand first appeared on our shirts, we have won three games on the trot, beating Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers and QPR, scoring six goals and conceding just one in the process.

So what next? Well, we know they are sponsoring our shirts for the next 2 years at least, maybe they could move up a gear and sponsor the ground too? “Virgin @ St James’ Park” has a nice ring to it, and if they put their signs on the stand roofing where the “T-Shirts-r-Us” ones currently reside, they’d be viewable from any Virgin plane that happened to be passing. And they’d get all that free advertising whenever the Sky cameras were in town. So it all fits. If you ask me, I think they should go for it – in fact I’m going to get in touch with Sir Richard and suggest it as soon as I’ve finished writing this. Might have a cup of tea first though.

Once that’s all in place, perhaps Sir Richard might just find that, to use the phrase from the old Remington shaver advert, he “likes us so much he’ll buy the company”. I mean, most of the Northern Rock staff who have transferred to Virgin at their HQ in Gosforth, for example, will be black and white through and through. No doubt they will spend the next 2 years telling their new boss about the magical city of Newcastle and our famous footy team. If you’re reading this Northern Rock folk – get to it!

Wouldn’t that be something? Is it too much of a dream? too much to hope for? You never know, we might just get lucky!

NUFCBlog Author: UTD111 UTD111 has written 59 articles on this blog.

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30 Responses

  1. Don’t Virgin just jump on the band wagon???

    Palace, they were riding high, as were Brawn F1 when Virgin jumped on board…

  2. very interesting,
    personally though I think we should see what ashleys got planned for the club, now he has the club sound on financial terms I think he could potentially surprise a few of us and take us on to better things) I must admit tho, virgin at st james’s park sounds alot better than what it currently is (i refuse to say it)

    nice blog UTD11.

  3. Tony Blair with a beard – full of himself.

    Branson is indeed “lucky” in that the sale of Northern Rock sees taxpayers facing a paper loss of between £400m and £650m on this Northern Rock deal. The redundancies have already been taken care of so Branson comes out smelling of roses.

    Anyway, the real man behind the deal, the man who’s ponying up most of the money is actually American vulture capitalist, Wilbur Ross. It is an example of vulture capitalism of a distressed company which might even make Mike Ashley blush and Northern Rock should never have been sold by the Government in the current market. Also there’s a distinct possibility that the bank could move out of the North East entirelly after three years.

  4. iam o neill says:
    January 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    “What a stupid post”

    Liam, perhaps you could enlighten us as to the reasons why it’s a “stupid post” exactly?

  5. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    January 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Check out this weird shit guys!”

    I would have been weirder if that lass could make herself look like Peter Beardsley! :-)

  6. worky,

    leave Pedro alone y’bazza!

    Mad though, hey?

    Did y’get my message on the thread?

  7. workyticket says:
    January 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    “It is an example of vulture capitalism of a distressed company which might even make Mike Ashley blush”

    Sorry, I’ll correct myself there, nothing would make Mike Ashley blush. What was I thinking when I wrote that?!!!

    CLiNT FLiCK says:
    January 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    “*other thread.”

    I knaa Clint, I knaa. Nee buses for ages then there’s two at the same time. Divven’t worry, everything’s in hand ;-)

  8. Richard Branson didn’t mention Virgin Racing, or several other things when he spoke of himself as being a “lucky” brand. They were last in the Formula One constructors championship last year. Had all the handling and reliabilty of a lada and is now known as “Marussia” after it’s major Russian shareholders.

    “Following their final race, Virgin Racing left the sport with the unenviable record of having the most starts — thirty-eight — without having scored a point”

    Virgin Racing / Marussia’s Wiki entry.

    Mind, he did sponsor the Brawn team for a while when they won the Formula One Championship, before they were taken over by Mercedes. That wasn’t luck though, that was Ross Brawn.

  9. Why is it a stupid post? I dunno just maybe the fact that you’re trying to say that a shirt sponsor alone can win you a game of football?? Sometimes I think people on these blogs have more interest in money than the actual playing side of the game.

  10. I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick Liam.
    I think UTD111 is making light of sir dick’s recent comments mate.
    Though i could be wrong like.

  11. liam, i believe your’s is the stupid post, sorry, but nobody believes that shirt sponsors win matches, or we’d have the print press machine on standby each week. And money is in football, like it or not, Man City have money, Bolton do not…where are they both in the league?

    by the way: “Virgin @ St James’ Park”

    I’m getting on the train now.

  12. Milner says:
    January 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    “by the way: “Virgin @ St James’ Park”

    I’m getting on the train now.”

    I’ve never seen a virgin at SJP Milner.

  13. workyticket says:
    January 16, 2012 at 6:54 pm
    Milner says:
    January 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    “by the way: “Virgin @ St James’ Park”

    I’m getting on the train now.”

    I’ve never seen a virgin at SJP Milner.

    Llambias – no wimmin in their right minds would bonk Owl Heed ;)

  14. UTD111 says:

    January 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    “Llambias – no wimmin in their right minds would bonk Owl Heed”

    Have you not seen his lass UTD111? I hear she’s still on the medication.

    There’s a picture of her on here somewhere. She was standing behind fatty so you can’t see very much though. I’ll see if I can find it.