Strike Me Down

Posted by on Jan 18, 2010 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

It was today announced that Northern Rock will continue to sponsor Newcastle for a further four seasons from 2010/2011. Apparently, the nationalised bank thinks that the deal represents an excellent commercial opportunity. “Brand awareness and promotion are important elements in the continuing development of the company which is in the best interests of tax payers”, the CEO lied.

When will these people get it? Was the £25m they’ve already pissed up the wall to prop up a club who get worse press than Kerry Katona for the last six seasons not wasteful enough in the circumstances? OK, so it pales in comparison to bankers’ bonuses, and one can understand why the bank, which started out as a North Eastern building society, backed the Magpies last time around, but having blimped into a national business one has to question the decision. Local ties went out of the window when we all acquired a piece.

The CEO’s corporate speak rankles. Do people have such short memories that they’ll be mesmerized by associations to a club who (Northern Rock hopes) are on the up? It sounds pious, but if the bank was looking for “brand awareness” then why not withdraw the funding and donate it to charitable causes? If you want to win our hearts, then send the money to Haiti. However crude, what better PR is there than that?

I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised by a bank acting without class, especially when football’s involved. The two are match made. At least the latter might go belly up if Michel Platini follows through. The last word goes to Brecht, who hit the nail: “what is the crime of robbing a bank compared with the crime of founding one?”

is co-editor of The Two Unfortunates. He's 31, supports Plymouth Argyle and takes a particular interest in the fortunes of those Football League clubs west of Bristol. He tweets @lloydlangman.


  1. Paul
    January 19, 2010

    I believe Northern Rock are ahead of schedule when it comes to repaying the taxpayer – so perhaps their ongoing strategy is actually quite successful?

    Obviously we'll have to wait and see on that front, but I can't help feeling that you may have got on your high horse prematurely.

  2. Ben
    January 20, 2010

    I must confess I felt an element of unease about the announcement – largely, though, because it would draw more flak in our direction. But if Northern Rock are in a position to renew their sponsorship deal, and if they feel that this is in the best interests of the business and therefore the taxpayer (and let's face it, corporations seem to be unanimously of the view that advertising and sponsorship are worthwhile), then I think the deal is fair enough. Of course, if you feel the Rock, as a nationalised business, shouldn't be permitted to strike such deals, then that's something to take up with the appropriate financial authorities or even the government.

  3. Guy Maxwell
    January 21, 2010

    I think that your premise that local ties are old hat is flawed in the extreme. In these hard times, there is an argument for local communities to bind together, to create a greater sense of shared spirit to get through current difficulties.

    Sure Northern Rock could have donated all the money to Haiti, but then again the government could simply sell all of the expensive buildings in London and relocate the Civil Serice en masse to Scotland; it could disband the armed forces. Many things could be done, it doesn't mean that they should be done.

    Northern Rock are based in Newcastle, it's biggest customer base is in the North East, and its association is real rather than simlpy PR. For that they should be applauded not ridiculed.

  4. gerschenkron
    January 27, 2010

    Given that Northern Rock would be out of business were it not for the taxpayer, this new sponsorship deal is a joke – well said Lloyd.

    @Guy Maxwell: In what sense is spanking money at NUFC “binding local communities together”? Get a grip! Times ARE hard – money should be refunded to the national purse to redistribute to those who truly need it – not Joey effing Barton!

    @Ben: Noone's seriously expecting NUFC fans to complain about this but if it were my team I'd

  5. scarf
    January 31, 2010

    How many jobs could have been saved with that £25m? One has to question the priorities of those running NR, especially given it is now a nationalised company, as both Lloyd and gerschenkron has correctly pointed out.


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