Virgin Money sponsors shirts but stadium still advertises Sports Direct

Posted on January 5th, 2012 | 41 Comments |

Virgin Money sponsor Newcastle United shirts.
Better than Sports Direct anyway
Virgin Money takes over where Northern Rock left off and sponsors Newcastle United’s shirts for the next two and a half seasons.

As you could no doubt tell by the shirts the team wore last night, Newcastle United have brokered a deal with Virgin Money until the end of the 2013/2014 season. Last night Derek Llambias said:

We’re delighted to secure this new deal with Virgin Money and we look forward to enjoying a mutually beneficial partnership over the coming seasons. It is an excellent deal for both parties and we’re very happy to have them on board.

He didn’t add anything about how ‘f****** horrible’ he can be this time.

Virgin, for their part, said:

Now that Virgin Money and Northern Rock are united as one business, it gives us great pleasure to continue the shirt sponsorship of Newcastle United Football Club.

The Northern Rock sponsorship started in 2003 and it is an important link to the North East which we are pleased to continue.

Combined with our sponsorship of the Virgin London Marathon and the Edinburgh Festival ‘Fringe on the high street’, the shirt sponsorship of Newcastle United embeds our involvement in the communities we serve.

Apparently the first 10,000 supporters with 2011/12 season shirts who bring them to the club shop will receive a free Virgin Money update to their top.

The financial details of the deal have not been revealed, so we can only guess at what it might be worth. The Telegraph reckons it could be worth about £20m, but I reckon it’s more likely to be for around the same amount Northern Rock would have paid if they had remained sponsors, which is £3m a season.

However the stadium remains unsponsored and, you’d think, less likely to attract sponsors now that the shirts deal has been struck with Virgin Money. This adds fuel to the speculation in some quarters that Mike Ashley is simply planning to use the stadium name to promote Sports Direct. I’ve always wondered if that’s a possibility, although in my more charitable moments I’d like to think that Ashley would sell the stadium name for the right money.

In terms of club finances this doesn’t really mean much because we’re just replacing one financial stream that’s dried up with another, similar one. Unless, that is, it’s as The Telegraph speculates and the deal is worth double what Northern Rock was paying. If that’s the case you’d like to think some of that extra money might be available for the team but, well, we know how these things go by now!

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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41 Responses

  1. Wasn’t it Sir John Hall who said one of the reasons Ashley had bought the club was to use it as a vehicle to promote his cheap T-Shirt business?
    Anyway, I doubt he’s gone to the time and trouble of sticking his crappy signs all over St James’ Park and his futile attempt to rename it – just to take it all back overnight and hand the rights to another company.

  2. Let’s face it, Ashley never had any intention of giving the naming rights of the stadium to anyone else but Sports Direct.
    And if he doesn’t improve the amount of sponsorship given by Virgin for the shirt exposure from the previous pathetic amount from Northern Rock he must be stupid (and not as switched on as he makes out).
    It is to be hoped that games like last night give Branson food for thought and make him consider an offer for the club outright.
    We only need some sensible direction and investment at this club and who knows where we could go.

  3. It was a certainty that MA wouldn’t find a sponsor for the ground. Record profits for Sports Direct last year obviously set alarm bells ringing hence the changes to the east stand and the name change. What would you have to pay for the level of advertising he is getting for free?

  4. magpie4ever says:
    January 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

    “What would you have to pay for the level of advertising he is getting for free?”

    magpie4ever, going on other examples (apart from Man City which was ridiculous), less than half the £10 million annually that Llambias was asking for in public. Going public with the amount was an awful move in itself according to sponsorship consultants. It’s almost as if it was intended to fail from the start.

    UTD111 says:
    January 5, 2012 at 9:53 am(Edit)

    “Wasn’t it Sir John Hall who said one of the reasons Ashley had bought the club was to use it as a vehicle to promote his cheap T-Shirt business?”

    Aye, it was UTD111.

  5. Hugh – belated thanks for your report last night – read it on a high after MOTD
    – Elton said : “Oh what a night, it was all I hoped it would be, ageing manu nil, mighty magpies three!”

    UTD111 says: “I’ve had a little tour of the Man Utd blogs this morning to give them the benefit of my advice and point out where they went wrong” – well done mate, this is no time to gloat, declining teams like them need all the help they can get – hope you thanked them for the 4 points!
    Who says we havn’t meet any top teams yet? manu will be glad they don’t have to play us again.


  6. Re: Sponsorship money, one would assume it’d be for more money than was arranged with Northern Rock. Let’s not forget that deal was signed in the Championship (…wasn’t it?) or at least at the start of our first season back, when we were many peoples pick for the drop.

    Assume it goes up to £5M, which takes us to £12.5M – you never know what cheeky European Qualification bonuses Ashley might have worked in. A £2M bonus each time knocks us up toward that £20M figure mentioned in the Telegraph, so maybe not as far fetched as it first looks?

  7. John T says: “Sponsorship money, one would assume it’d be for more money than was arranged with Northern Rock.”

    Maybe John T, but maybe not. We have to remember there’s a recession on.

  8. Agree Hugh – but last time we were negotiating with the Treasury in effect, with Northern Rock being nationalised. This time we’ve got a pretty well off private company keen to reassure Geordies they aren’t going to betray their roots now they’ve got new owners and a new name. Every chance of Ashley getting an extra few mil from them.

    Anyway, if “Iron Mike” really thought he was getting a rum deal he’d have stuck Sports Direct on the shirt instead, so it must be half decent!

  9. None of the Man Utd players did particularly well last night, but I’ve just heard a rumour that “12th Man” Howard Webb has been sensationally sacked by Manure as he forgot to give them their usual penalty AND forgot to send off Demba Ba.

    Dunno how true this story is……

  10. hello to one and all on the blog and a happy new year, been tough to try and get some coverage of the games been away to Sydney for a couple of days thankfully caught some highlights of the liverpool game and looked like a bad one so no worries there haha. got back for the man u game but was to tired to watch it live but did catch the replay for it and newcastle were fantastic in parts of the game they took control and really bossed man u around, simpson really did redeem himself from the liverpool game with his goal line clearance.never see this result in many a year so riding the high as much as possible :)

  11. James Tomkins – Newcastle back in with increased offer

    The news today is that Newcastle are back in with an increased £4M bid for the 22 year-old West Ham centre-back James Tomkins.

    The Daily Star is reporting this morning that Newcastle have decided to increase their initial offer of £2.5M for the England Under-21 defender.

    While Tomkins is playing in the English second division this season, the 6’3″ defender has nevertheless been an impressive figure at the back for Sam Allardyce’s side.

    The news is that London club Tottenham Hotspur may also be interested in getting the 10 times capped England U21 player to White Hart Lane, but it appears that Newcastle are in the driving seat.

    However, we think this new offer for the youngster may also be turned down by West Ham, as Sam Allardyce had talked only about a massive offer persuading his club to sell their youngster.

    But the superb win of last night against the Red Devils will only help Newcastle’s recruitment drive in January and in the summer too.

    James is a very good player, who has played 87 times for the West Ham first team since he made his debut back in 2008.

    And he fits perfectly the profile of players Newcastle want to recruit to the club, top young players who can further improve on Tyneside.

    …. expect to hear the West Ham response to this offer within a day or two.

  12. says forget about Tomkins “West Ham have rejected a third bid from Newcastle for star defender James Tomkins. The 22-year-old was the subject of two previous £2.5m and £3m bids from the Magpies, which were both rejected by the Hammers.
    However, Newcastle have returned with a third offer of £4m for the England under-21 defender, which has also been rejected. “We want to keep James Tomkins, we really do,” said Hammers co-chairman David Gold “I think it is fair to say he is not for sale.”

  13. I don’t realy class £4m as a serious bid for a decent CB – but I presume we will keep offering £2.5m – £4m until we get somebody, no doubt of Championship ability, and hope they can step up to PL class at some point.
    Great if it works – waste of money if it doesn’t.

  14. Milner, did you try out any of those books I suggested over Christmas?

    Supermac, I think Tomkins would be a good Premiership centre back, but he’d probably be a a little bit more than £4 million in January. He’s worth about that as it is.

  15. Pretty sure Allardyce will be making it as difficult as possible to come to a deal for Tomkins

  16. worky,
    i’m doing a ratings blog, be finished tonight & i’ll post it then.

  17. Derek L says:
    January 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    “Pretty sure Allardyce will be making it as difficult as possible to come to a deal for Tomkins”

    I’m sure that Big Sam will be bending over backwards to help his good friend Mr.Ashley take one of his best players Derek :-)

  18. Of course Ashley would sell the stadium naming rights, the problem is finding a buyer!
    Can’t see who would buy it knowing thats it’s unpopular with the fan base and tv commentators conntinue to call it SJP -not bothered that its apparantly called teh sports direct arena as no one actually calls it that

  19. Belice tomkins has handed in a transfer request which sould be good news for us. Means could leave gates open for other clubs to make bids fir him. Seems to be good cb from what i gather.

    Is there any more rumours about potental signings?
    Feel as tho we need a good st.

    Ahway ashley put ya hand in your pocket and splash some of that cash you geting from the free advertising.


  20. A lot of conflicting rumors about Tomkins. I read he handed in a transfer request in an article linked to BBC’s rumors page. Who knows?

    Super-if Cahill only costs 7M and Samba 8M, I think 4M is a very reasonable bid for Tomkins, who has limited top-flight experience and apparently wants to leave anyway.

  21. tunyc, Cahill’s in his thirties and is about ten years older than this Tomkins chap with Samba somewhere in the middle, he’s also a midfielder and they generally don’t last quite as long as defenders. The age makes alot of difference. £4 million is about right though except this is January, the time when strikers with very limited experience in the highest division can go for £35 million! ;-)

  22. i like Tomkins, 5m wud be my max bid tho, due to yung age and little pl time….i remember him looking good tho

  23. Milner says:
    January 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    “i like Tomkins, 5m wud be my max bid tho, due to yung age and little pl time….”

    Milner, I take it that you wouldn’t pay £35 million for a young player with little Premiership experience then? :-)

  24. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    January 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    i’m done mate, it’s in the can man.

    Cheers! I’ve got it Clint. I’ll get on with it in a few minutes.

  25. Worky, since were talking about centre backs, I assume tunyc meant Gary Cahill? Unless I’m missing something somewhere he’s not in his 30s mate he only turned 26 in December.

  26. Also, I’ve just seen on BBC sport that Titus shambles is now facing ANOTHER sexual assault charge… Blokes got more hands than a poker table

  27. Just thought I’d have a quick check, samba is 27 til March. But if Gary Cahill is only going for 7 million then I think that sounds extremely cheap considering what players go for these days. I know chelski are in for him, but I’d still have a punt at that price for a player like that, I rate him quite a lot

  28. scott says:
    January 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    “Worky, since were talking about centre backs, I assume tunyc meant Gary Cahill? Unless I’m missing something somewhere he’s not in his 30s mate he only turned 26 in December.”

    Hi Scott, I think you’re right! I was referring to 32 year old midfielder, Tim Cahill. Now you mention it, aye, tunyc would have been almost certainly referring to defender Gary Cahill. I’m as thick as shite! Well, I think I was in a rush at the time anyway. I thought that Gary Cahill would have been a bit more than £7 million to moneybags Chelsea in January too.

  29. Clint, do you have a picture of Alan Pardew by your bedside in a heart shaped frame? I’m having to keep a bucket by my side reading your blog gush about the Silver Supremo, just in case! :-)

  30. scott,

    that’s been going on for a few weeks mate, he has just gone to court. His brother is already ‘doing time’.

  31. worky,
    that’s a bit unfair mate.
    After a comprehensive & historic win v the reigning champs it’s hard not to give top
    marks to all concerned. I did mean to put AP (& his coaching team) actually.
    I won’t be taking it back though. He got it bang on on the night, then didn’t roll around into. Praise well deserved imv.
    On the point 5’s, it just slightly differenciates players effectiveness on the night.

    Though i don’t get the Cruyff/messi comment mate?

  32. I try not to let personal prejudice or favour come into these things.
    It’s bad form in my book.
    We didn’t win that game without the input of everyone, that includes the manager, naturally.
    If you’re just taking the piss, forgive my missing the point.