We have had to come to terms over the years with the hyper-commercialisation of football. Many clubs are big business operations concerned with sales of kit and sponsorship deals off the field.
Yet football also remains a community pastime that knits places together and attracts fierce loyalties, mostly peacefully. The rage about the change of name of St James’ Park reflects the willingness of many to try to take back their sport from big money.
And every now and then a football club will go too far in its corporate links. That has clearly been the case with Newcastle United allowing Wonga to sponsor them and their players to display Wonga symbols on the field.
We have all seen the news about Wonga, whose business model was clearly unsuitable and which has had to write off over £200,000 million in unsound debts to over 300,000 people. They even faked letters from made up law firms to get their loans back.
These legal loan sharks with astronomic interest rates have preyed on the most vulnerable who are living hand to mouth, including many in the north east. This chicanery and greed sullies the good name of Newcastle United and football.
It may well be that Wonga has to withdraw from the sponsorship deal as it pays out compensation and works out if and how it can rescue its brand. For my money, blowing the whistle on the deal would be good riddance to bad rubbish.