The lending game: Newcastle United and Wonga

Posted on August 14th, 2013 | 34 Comments |

Wonga loan shark.
Wonga: Sinking their teeth into the North East.
A radio programme which is well worth listening to if you’re a Newcastle United fan is BBC Radio Four’s “the Lending Game,” a 40 minute look at Wonga’s controversial sponsorship of Newcastle United.

This is what the online blurb for the programme says:

“As Wonga moves into the mainstream with its sponsorship of Newcastle United, is the so-called payday lender responding to, or shaping, changing attitudes on money and morality? Chris Bowlby goes back to his teenage home on the Tyne to look at the rise of Wonga through the lives of the Toon Army.”

Amongst other things, it contains a fairly revealing interview with Newcastle United financial director, John Irving, who told Chris Bowlby that the clinching factor for working with Wonga was the company’s desire to “work with us on fans, the Academy and the Newcastle United Foundation,” who work with the Wonga customers of the future, youngsters from underprivileged families in the North East. However, the interview with Irving is abruptly halted later in the show by a female press officer (possibly Wendy Taylor) when the interviewer brings up controversial subject of former refusenik, Papiss Cisse, who was still in discussions with the club over wearing the shirt when the programme was being made.

As well as speaking to Wonga representatives, Newcastle United fans and others, An interview with a local Councillor also gives a very small glimpse in parts at how Wonga are buying their way into other local institutions such as the Evening Chronicle, silencing potential negative coverage in the paper (and also it’s sister paper the Journal) by throwing £30,000 into the Chronicle’s “Wish Sport” appeal.

Since the latest appeal was announced on the 1st July, the Chronicle’s coverage of Wonga has changed markedly. For instance, as fellow blogger Mark Brophy pointed out in his ‘blog, “Wonga’s easy ride at the Chronicle” and “Local press criticism of Wonga just got more unlikely” the Chronicle’s last reference to Wonga as a “payday lender” occurred only three days after the abovementioned announcement on July 4th. From now on, journalists at the Chronicle may only refer to Wonga as a “Digital Finance Company,” and will have to give them a very easy ride generally. Like Mark Brophy, I’m checking. Getting back to the programme though, the editor of the Chronicle, Darren Thwaites, refused to be interviewed on the matter.

I listened to the programme whan it was first broadcast on Tuesday evening, however it is still available on the BBC iPlayer for the next six days or so, and it will also be rebroadcast on Sunday at 5.00pm.

The lending game on the BBC website.


Will you be buying / have you bought a Wonga shirt for next season?

 (view results)

Loading ... Loading ...

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1091 articles on this blog.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts

34 Responses

  1. It was an excellent programme and well worth listening to.

    Sponsorship of Newcastle United by Wonga takes football and its exploitation of fans to a new low.

  2. i notice you didn’t mention the millions wonga paid to get St James’ name back coz that wouldnt suit your argument, some people are agenst things just for the sake of it I suppose

  3. …what I don’t yet understand, is why we changed to Wonga, when it’s questionable that they offered more money and in fact old Dickie Branson at Virgin had this to say..

    ‘The club in their wisdom did the deal with Wonga without talking to us, whether we would have matched that who is to know.’

    So the club didn’t even see if Virgin would match the offer…what? The whole thing stinks to me and the ‘naming rights’ con is just another part of the whole charade. Are we really supposed to believe that Wonga are this great, generous uncle; that give us ‘extra money’ for the club not being called ‘Sport Direct Arena’ and they give loads of money to the academy kids, and ‘local community’ charities. What a load of bollicks Ashley & the now departed Lambias, what are you really up to?

  4. @stew – is there still people who believe that Wonga actually paid to re-name St James’? Or was it not a humbling climbdown by club with an easy excuse…..I guess you think that Ashley ‘saved’ Newcastle from financial meltdown as well?

  5. @ArmyKev
    It’s the sort of sweetener that the club use under this regime to con people into accepting unpopular decisions. Remember the news on the official website about the St’ James Park gates being ‘lost’ in farmland and miraculously returned in time for the new season – and superhero sponsors Wonga painting over the Sports Direct sign on the Gallowgate roof…..days before the announcement of Kinnear returning as Director of F’all. They’ve done it before as well, if ‘good news’ comes out on the official website expect bombs to follow.

  6. at the time i compared it to when you pretend to throw a ball for a dog but don’t.

    all the mugs went off wagging their tails while while the real story was the further selling of the club’s soul to bunch of loan-sharks.

    the name wasn’t theirs or ashley’s to give or take in the first place. at least the council and metro refused to rename their various signage and it was good to hear lineker refuse to advertise fat mike’s cheap tat on motd.

    as for the gates, i’ve been going to sjp for nearly 40 years and i’d honestly never seen them. at first i thought they were talking about the old corrugated ones that the NF scum used to stand in front of peddling their filthy propoganda.

    if had been those gates then there would have been a story.

    honestly, some of our lot are so f***ing stupid they get excited about some gates!

  7. I’m glad there are a lot of fans who can see through this utter rubbish.
    The whole thing with W****.COM, Has been dodgy, To say the least.
    Worky, You might be right about Ashley owning that infernal company!
    The more you think about them, The more the thing stinks of Ashley, And has his grubby paw prints, All over it!

  8. joe hawkins says:
    August 15, 2013 at 10:46 am

    “Worky, You might be right about Ashley owning that infernal company!”

    I’ve never said that Ashley owns Wronga if that’s what you mean, Joe?

    What did John Irving mean when he said that the club chose Wonga because they “wanted to work with us on fans?” What are they going to do with us?

  9. It doesn’t look like Loic Remy id going to be available until the middle of September, At the least.
    This Club only signs crocks, That’s the only way we get anyone.
    What was the point of bringing a bloke in on loan, Pay 2 million for the privilege, Pay so much of his wages, And he is not even fit.
    We are continually told by the marionette we need strikers, And this kid is going to be sitting on his backside.
    So effectively we are still in the same boat, It’s typical of the shoddy way this Club is being run!

  10. DJG says:
    August 15, 2013 at 12:22 am

    “and superhero sponsors Wonga painting over the Sports Direct sign on the Gallowgate roof”

    It was superhero Pedro who did all that, DJG. They showed pictures of him gannin’ up there with a roller and some white paint.

  11. Sorry Worky, You said you had a conspiracy theory about it, I should have written that.
    In reference to working on the fans, It seems to come across like they have been brought in by Ashley, To try and brainwash people, Into a certain way of thinking.
    It will only work on “The Sky Sports Specials”, And most people will avoid that crappy company, like the plague.

  12. joe hawkins says:
    August 15, 2013 at 10:46 am

    “I’m glad there are a lot of fans who can see through this utter rubbish.”

    Not everyone is like the people on blogs like this though, Joe. Many will just read the Chronic, the Journal and the Sunday Stun and go to the match every other Saturday.

  13. Here he is with his little roller

    Beardsley, whose father Sammy was a painter working on the Tyne Bridge, said: “It was always a privilege to play in front of the Gallowgate.

    “It’s one of the most famous stands in the country – if not in world football – so it’s great to see it being put back to its original state.

    “It’s a fantastic gesture from our new sponsors. I’m sure it’s something which will be really appreciated by our supporters.”

    Errol Damelin, founder and CEO of Wonga, added: “This moment is all about our commitment to the fans.

    “When we restored St James’ Park to its original name, we said we’d return some traditions to them. This is another symbolic part of that promise and we’ve got more in store.

    “Beyond the stadium naming, we’re building our sponsorship up with real investment in the club, the Academy and the local community.”

  14. That’s the trouble Worky, There’s still too many of “The sky Sports Specials” knocking about.
    The complete divvies who get interviewed outside the stadium, Who look like refugees from “The Jeremy Kyle Show”.

  15. Worky: are you doing a season preview?

    My prediction:

    11th. Another frustrating year, but Pardew saves his own skin by getting a tiny bit of humility or a bollocking from Uncle Joe to give us a decent run. Goes a bit tits-up in final 10 games, when Pardew regains his over-confidence.

    I just have this feeling that the penny might have dropped with Pardew that he is only 2 bad games away from the sack and he might let the team play on occasion.

    Anyway, we will have to be really bad to be worse than Hull, Palace, Stoke and Cardiff.

  16. GS says:
    August 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    “Worky: are you doing a season preview?”

    GS, I got my orders from the Daily Mail’s lair at Northcliffe House to do one on, so there’s one there from me. They asked me seven season preview type questions:

    Hopes for the season?
    Predicted finish?
    Biggest worry for the season?
    Key player this season?
    One to watch – which up-and-coming could make their breakthrough?
    Match-day tips for St James’ Park (Best place for a pint? and Stand with the best atmosphere?)

    And I tried to answer them:

  17. Hey Worky: I read your piece and I think it sums up what a lot of us feel. However, all we need at NUFC is a few decent results and the mood will change. I think you should express that more in your national prognostications. You seemed very downbeat.

    We will survive this. In fact, I think we may even come out better than some of the teams that are being financed by oligarchs and the other assorted shysters. It will end in tears if you have 5 sheiks, oligarchs and hedge fund managers all going for the same holy grail.

    We could see a fall from grace at Man U on the scale of Liverpool and Leeds so the season could be interesting.

    Haway the lads.

  18. That’s a very rosy take, GS. You’ve been in the states too long.

    I’d predict 14th. Squad depth still lacking and as I say every season: with injuries it’s not if but when.

    Being better than promoted sides and Stoke doesn’t excite me much. And we might lose to them on any given Saturday due to AP. Bottom line for me is the squad looks the same as at the start of last season. We’re striving to stand still. Everyone else is trying to improve. Danger.

  19. Not a bad piece, worky, though the “hopes for the season” part is particularly bleak.

    I disagree about the breakthrough part-Anita has been capped by Holland and Marveaux is 27 with an impressive and established skill set. I guess I could see the latter “breaking out” of limitations due to injuries but the guy I’d point out is Bigirimana, who may be our main CDM by the end of the season if Tiote can’t find some form. He looked the real deal to me last term. I also think Haidara could be a revelation if he gets time. He appears to know how to defend, unlike what I’ve seen from Santon. I have to admit: at this point I have little hope for Vuckic which may work out for me as anything he does will be, as we say here, gravy.

  20. tunyc: there were only 3 points between 11th and 14th last year so we are not that far apart.

    If we hadn’t had the Alan Pardew tactical master class against Reading we may not have had to worry that much about relegation.

  21. What game was it last year that “Mr. Selective Memory” said we were safe? That’s why I can never trust him, he believes his own rhetoric/hype.

  22. Tunyc

    Have to disagree with you about Haidara’s defending. I think that when Santon went out near the end of last term was when the defense totally fell apart. Haidara seemed to me to struggle when 1 on 1 with a winger as well, rarely preventing the cross from coming in.

    My biggest problem with Santon’s defending is when he coughs up the ball and you can see him jogging back into defence despite a threatening break going the other way.

  23. Totally agree FSS about Haidara. He was skinned in a couple of games and then got injured. M’Biwa looked like our best left back and we shouldn’t play him and Coloccini in the center together as they are too short a combination.

  24. GS says:
    August 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    “Hey Worky: I read your piece and I think it sums up what a lot of us feel. However, all we need at NUFC is a few decent results and the mood will change. I think you should express that more in your national prognostications.”

    That’s how stupid people think though, GS. It’s better to look at more fundamental things and think in the long term rather than just look at things superficially at a certain point in time without enough context. That’s why I get things right more often than most, though not our league finish next season I suspect. I was forced into that one.

  25. Ray Allen was very underrated.

    I always want to be optimistic about NUFC. I bet an Arsenal fan a fiver once about 20 years ago that we would finish above them (I think they finished 5th and we were 16th the season before). Blind optimism, but being tainted by Pardew.

  26. GS says:
    August 15, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    “What game was it last year that “Mr. Selective Memory” said we were safe?”

    It was the Stoke win on March 10th, GS.

  27. I see Bent is having a medical at Fulham with a view to a season long loan. Can we have him for a month until our INJURED loanee is ready? No, f@ck, it is Shola on 65 minutes then.

  28. FSS-I don’t know, haven’t seen too much of Haidara so maybe you’re right.

    Santon’s marking, the most basic skill for a defender, is lazy and inadequate. He cost us a few goals with it and at least one match. He strikes me as a winger, not a defender.

  29. Santon was a winger tunyc before the Chosen One converted him to a defender !!!

    Both Santon and Debuchy are guilty of sauntering back when they should either have designated cover or rockets :)

    I recall last season when poor old Tiote gave away a penalty against Stoke after racing back to defend cos Debuchy was strolling back to his position. I presume Pardwho tells these DM’s to “sit” and cover for the roving full backs or maybe he doesnt ?

  30. Good article WT. I just know there’s a rabbit off somewhere between Damelin and the Fatman as well.

    Everyone’s trying desperately to rid these f@ckers of their Loan Shark tag but once you’re a band of robbing money lenders you never lose the image :)

  31. Wonga wanting to work with the fans:

    – bunch of mugs we can use as walking billboards for loan sharks

    – bunch of mugs we can peddle our 5,000% loans to

    No one is forced to buy the shirts and be used as as bunch of mugs.

    No one is forced to buy tat from Sports Direct.

    Sports Direct employ 90% of their workers on zero-hour contracts. No idea from one week to the next how much money is coming in. When ends cannot meet, in desperation turn to loan sharks like Wonga.

    Please support the legal action an ex-employee is taking against Sports Direct.

    The underlying problem for football, is too much money pouring in and it has corrupted the game. Now all that counts is greed.

    Fans are no longer supporting a team or a local club, they are supporting a business. And so long as they continue to file through the gate, buy the tat, nothing will change.

    How far do you have to go back, when it was local lads playing against another bunch of local lads? Now it is a bunch of overpaid posers, whose only loyalty to a club is the size of the weekly pay cheque.