Newcastle United have today announced that they have signed a 4-year contract with payday lender 'Wonga' to be the new shirt sponsor as of next season.
The Magpies recently announced that their current deal with Virgin Money will finish a year early at the end of the current season, and it had been immediately speculated that ‘Wonga’ would be the new shirt sponsor.
Newcastle United has agreed a new four-year deal with wonga.com which will make the digital finance company the Club’s lead commercial sponsor.
In addition to sponsoring the team shirt from the start of the 2013/14 season and working on a range of other initiatives with fans, Wonga will invest at least £1.5m in two of the Club’s most important projects.
This will hardly please Newcastle supporters since Wonga is not a respected company, and charges ridiculous interest rates on their pay-day loans, and sometimes in excess of 4,000%, APR, which is nothing less than a complete and utter rip-off.
Michael Martin, editor of Newcastle fanzine True Faith, described himself as “close to breaking point” upon hearing the news.
He told the Daily Mirror: “The people who run Newcastle, for the fans, have a social responsibility.
“I would love them to honestly answer one question: Would you, Mike Ashley, seriously recommend borrowing money from Wonga at those interest rates? If you can’t answer yes then they shouldn’t be our shirt sponsors.
The decision has also been met by criticism from MP Ian Lavery, who described the company as “financial predators who make their money from people suffering from unemployment, low wages and in the greatest financial need”.
A club statement from Wonga said they will also invest “at least” £1.5M in the club Academy and the Foundation Enterprise Scheme.
Although the news has not been taken well by fellow Geordie fans, you’ll be happy to know that the stadium has been renamed to St James’ Park, at the request of Wonga.
What do you think? Would you rather a smaller brand name offering less money or the lucrative ‘Wonga’ deal?