Whatever one thinks of the Mags’ owner it’s a clever trick to orchestrate a deal which brings in a fortune for the dubious benefit of allowing something to be called the name everyone uses anyway. This perhaps explains why the signage which was taken down was put into storage and not donated to Alnwick Town as the Northern League team had hoped. The latest sponsorship deal brokered by Mike Ashley has sparked a lot of debate to which Bill Taylor adds his own take.

Bill asks "will Alan Pardew now expect his players to give 2,458%?


To paraphrase Private Eye: “Shomething Wonga, Shurely…” or
“What’s Wonga with this picture?” or
“What a bunch of Wongas…” The possibilities are endless.

So it’s small wonder that the Magpies’ new sponsor, the Wonga loan company, is opting to revert to the Sports Direct Arena’s old name. About the worst you can do with St. James’ Park is call it Sid James Park and it’s almost impossible to say that without conjuring up a memory of those crumpled features and dirty laugh and thus leavening your contempt with a measure of fondness.

I’d been hoping that IKEA would want its logo on the Barcodes’ shirts: “Some assembly required… Midfield? That’s on back-order… Oh dear, the manager’s put the team together wrong again; I’m pretty sure that bit’s supposed to go in goal. Pass the Alan (Pardew) key…”

Ah well. We’ll have to make do with Wonga, euphemistically billed as a “short-term loan company,” More commonly (at least where I live) known as payday loan companies, these places dole out smallish sums and charge often usurious rates of interest.

If you are borrowing to get you from payday to payday, it becomes a rapidly diminishing spiral, subject to the cruel law of diminishing returns. The more you borrow, the more you have to pay back, the bigger a chunk it takes out of your wages, so the more you have to borrow…. think of it as how some of the less-well-financed football clubs operate. You’re likely to find yourself down the pawnshop trying to raise a few quid on a part-worn centre-back.



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There’s been all kinds of controversy about the deal. It ranges from the evils of adorning children’s replica shirts with the logo of an outfit whose annual percentage rate on loans reportedly can exceed 4,000 per cent, to the possibility of Ba, Ben Arfa, Cissé and Tioté refusing to sport the longo as violating the Sharia law against Muslims benefiting from money lending.

According to a Guardian story, Pardew “quizzed Errol Damelin, Wonga’s South African owner, about the business and emerged satisfied with what he heard: ‘I listened to the owner and their customer satisfaction levels are higher than any other bank or lending facility.’ ”

A quick look at some of the on-line comments (quoted as written) on
www.reviewcentre.com/reviews237290.html reveals another side to the borrowed coin:
“I used wonga around christmas when i was short of cash. I didnt think nothing else of them until months later when i went for car finance and was refused on the grounds useing them!! The finance company looked at my credit file and assumed i cant afford to live due to me taking out the short term loan.. I advise anyone to use wonga at your peril, IT WILL CATCH UP WITH YOU!!”

And: “As someone that has just become a victim of Identity Theft with this ridiculous company, I think it would be more than fair to say that whoever created this money grabbing site needs putting down. Sooner rather than later.”

And: “i have incurred bank charges have unpaid direct debits and wonga are doing very little to sort it out only fobbing people off i will be reporting them to the fsa my advice is to stay away from a company like wonga who cant give answers to thier mistakes and pass the buck”

Passing the buck, fobbing people off, not answering to their mistakes, inappropriate use of huge sums of money… sounds a bit like Premiership football, doesn’t it? (If, by the way, you’re wondering where you might have seen the name Wonga before, it was on Blackpool’s shirts when they played in the upper echelon.)

Some cynics are saying the renaming (or should that be de-naming) of the Sports Direct Arena is a ploy by Wonga to cast a cloud of sentimentality over the whole vexed question. Not everyone is fooled. The BBC reports that, for one, Ian Lavery – MP for Wansbeck and a Mags season-ticketholder – won’t be returning to the stadium, saying, “A city like Newcastle and the region should not have any ties with an organisation like Wonga. This business makes profits off the back of deprived people who are desperate and who are the most vulnerable in society.”

Of course, you could say that about the club itself and no one, not up to now anyway, has suggested abolishing NUFC for the public good. Doubtless they’ll soldier on, with or without the Wonga name emblazoned across their chests. And look at it from Mike Ashley’s point of view – he badly needed a sponsorship deal and who knows when he might need a fast loan to tide him over. Don’t be surprised if Wonga opens a cash counter in one corner of the boardroom…

Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

12 Responses to “Wonga deal sparks massive interest.” Subscribe

  1. Billy from Byker October 12, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Oh dear you can tell the Derby’s due and an attempt at humour acting as a pressure release valve before the inevitable happens.

  2. Nick O October 12, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Couldn’t argue with any of the points made here, Wonga and their like are only little better than the thug down the pub who loans money to the vulnerable and then writes his own rules about the repayment arrangements.

    But wait just a minute, am I the only SAFC fan who is thoroughly uncomfortable with our own shirt sponsor, and will never be buying or wearing any shirt with that logo? Apart from anything else I think it is cowardly of Tullow Oil not to use their own name for this project and create some spurious ‘foundation’ instead, carefully presented to make it look like some sort of charitable or campaign group. Never before has SAFC made a decision that has caused me to question whether I even want to go to games any more.

    The marriage of football and big business has never sat all that comfortably with me but the Tullow Oil deal leaves me feeling thoroughly unwell.

    • Phil Johnson October 12, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      I’ve read many reports concerning Tullow Oil and accounts of the Invest in Africa deal but have yet to find ONE that has contained any substantiated proof of any exploitation, or wrong doing.

      Allegations should not be accepted as fact – especially when they have been demonstrated to be untrue, or based upon, at best, flimsy evidence!

      Until it is PROVEN that Tullow have been involved in either anything illegal or morally wrong then my stomach will not be suffering from any palpitations!

      For yours, can I suggest a good dose of Pepto-Bismol and that you stop blaming the club for your, apparent over indulgence!.

      • Nick O October 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

        Well on the one hand there’s the general issue of how you feel about western companies taking advantage of literally non-existent H&S and environmental regulations in some countries in Africa, and running off with all the money, which is more a matter of ethics than something that can either be proved or disproved, but on the other if it’s a list of facts you’re after perhaps you just haven’t wanted to find enough.

        You could try starting here:

        http://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/01/19/7896/west-africa-oil-boom-overlooks-tattered-environmental-safety-net

        or here:

        http://www.imanighana.com/wordpress/?p=275

        or just start Googling up various other articles on the Jubilee Field disaster of 2011, Tullow itself, or oil exploration and extraction in Africa and take it from there.

        You don’t have to agree with me but I am just so disappointed that SAFC are associating themselves so closely with such a tawdry industry.

        • Phil Johnson October 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

          I think that you will find that, many, UK tradesmen find the officials tasked with enforcing, often, ill thought out H&S regulations to be nothing short of a bad joke.

          So, the fact that you decided to begin your rebuttal of my comment with a reference to them would suggest that you are employed by a local authority, in a related capacity.

          The articles you quoted I had, already, read and have been discredited by people who (I would assume) are better placed than you or I to understand the facts.

          That these facts may, of course, not suit your stance does not mean that the laws of the nation states, benefiting from the revenues, have been breached – the opposite is true!.

          Should it be to the detriment of a company’s reputation if a nation’s elected leaders do not then allow those revenues not to reach the people who elected them?

          I don’t think so!

          It seems, to me, that you are attempting to impose our standards on other countries in much the same way as similar minds would support action making our government (that means us) responsible for reparations for slavery 200 years ago, when it was an accepted norm and something with which we just “joined in”!

          Did I mention that Pepto-Bismol is, also, recommended for those with weak livers?

          • Phil Johnson October 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

            I should have added that, normally, any suggestion from a Brit, American etc that we are, somehow superior to those governing African countries and know what is best for them would be met with cries of “RACIST”!

            Not, though, when it does not appear to suit the agenda!

          • Nick O October 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

            Phil, as I said, you are entitled to your opinion, as I am to mine, yet you make another attempt to “disprove” what I’m saying which is a little pointless.

            Saying that the things I’ve read have been thoroughly disproved by your certified experts isn’t really an argument. Who appointed you as arbiter of the truth? Anyway I’ll have one more go and then go and have me tea:

            Paragraph 1: an industry with the potential to destroy whole ecosystems and thousands of square miles of coast isn’t the same as a bloke putting up a lintel and being frustrated by red tape.

            Paragraph 2: Incorrect.

            Paragraph 3: See my opening remark. Who decides what is true? Why you?

            Paragraph 4: I could say the same to you, but wouldn’t because it’s pointless.

            Paragraph 5: Doesn’t make any sense (although i think we know what you’re getting at, and I didn’t put up that argument).

            Paragraph 6: You’re entitled to your opinion.

            Paragraph 7: No, you assume wrongly, I wasn’t.

            Paragraph 8: Cheap, and the same joke you attempted before.

            Addendum: So your second reply contains a rather off-topic pre-emptive defence against something that I didn’t go anywhere near (reparations for slavery?? Has any African country ever even asked for such a thing??), and your extra bit contains an off-topic pre-emptive defence against accusations of racism. Is this because the word ‘Africa’ is in the story? Can you see where I’m going with this?? Have a good evening.

          • Phil Johnson October 13, 2012 at 3:00 am #

            Nick.

            You asserted that “you make another attempt to “disprove” what I’m saying”.

            That suggests, to me, that you believe you have, somehow, provided proof that what you are saying is correct.

            I have, so far, not seen any evidence of that!

            Opinions (whether they are mine or yours) are just that – opinions.

            I believe that those of, accepted, experts in their field, who are acknowledged as knowing what they are talking about,have more credence than those of journalists with their own agendas and column inches to fill!

            Regarding your comments relating to paras 5-7.

            How else was anyone to interpret your, earlier, assertion that “taking advantage of literally non-existent H&S and environmental regulations in some countries in Africa, and running off with all the money” if not as a belief that African leaders are incapable of running their own countries and negotiating contracts?

            As I stated, that would be condemned as a racist conclusion if used in any other context and (maybe) should be in this one too!

            Regarding slavery, I think that you must have been missing something because, for years, certain African countries, driven on primarily by African Americans, have been pushing for an apology for the slave trade.

            Now, if this were to ever be issued, it would be seen as an admission of culpability and claims for compensation would follow.

            A simple Google search will provide reams of evidence about this.

            https://www.google.co.th/search?q=african%20americans%20suggesting%20the%20uk%20should%20pay%20compensation%20for%20slavery&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&source=hp&channel=np

            However, what these people should remember is that it was Africans for whom slavery was an accepted norm (following defeat of a tribal rival) that found they could then profit by then selling those enslaved to Europeans.

            Finally, I would assume that biology is not your strongest subject if you believe that the stomach and the liver are one and the same!

  3. Bill Taylor October 12, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Just trying to let you guys down lightly, Billy.

  4. Tom Lynn October 12, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Mags team for the derby to include:

    Ben a.p.r.fa
    Loanas Guiterrez
    Cheque Tiote
    Dividend Santon
    Carloan-accini
    Mike Wongasson
    James Purchase
    You-can-buy

    Pardew demanding they give 4,217% against the lads!

    Boom, boom!

  5. Jeremy October 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    There are clearly at least two Mags who read your post Tom. Brilliant!

  6. vince richardson October 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    Must admit we are in no position to laud it over NUFC’s sponser.I agree with Nick O this oil business leaves me uneasy.I see Invest In Africa as little more than a corporate PR job……making billions and returning millions,…..meanwhile some of the poorest nations in the world have their precious natural reserve wealth sent abroad.

    Im not buying the shirt.

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