If you saw Newcastle United’s cracker of a 3-0 win over title chasers Manchester United today, you may have noticed a new name on the front of the Tyne club’s jersey’s. Newcastle couldn’t have had a better debut for their newly signed shirt sponsor Virgin Money than scoring three goals at home against the Red Devil’s, albeit one goal was an own goal by Phil Jones.
The new deal was announced on NUFC’s team website NUFC.co.uk explaining that the new Logo and sponsor would be used for the remainder of the 2012 season under the previously signed arrangements, while a new two-year deal would go into effect for the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons. Former and long standing shirt sponsor Northern Rock plc became an acquisition of Virgin Money on New Years day with Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief Executive at Virgin Money stating that “Now that Virgin Money and Northern Rock are united as one business, it gives us great pleasure to continue the shirt sponsorship of Newcastle United Football Club. The Northern Rock sponsorship started in 2003 and it is an important link to the North-East which we are pleased to continue.”
Virgin Money is a banking and financial services company owned by Virgin Group founded by British business magnate Sir Richard Branson. According to BBC Business Northern Rock had been nationalized since 2008 and its acquisition cost £747 million and Virgin is expected to pay the treasury another £200 million in coming months with an additional £50-80 million due if Virgin decides to list the combined business on the stock exchange.
The deal is good news for current Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley who has come under severe criticism recently for his controversial name change of St. James’ park to the Sports Direct Arena this past November. The controversy lies in that Mike Ashley owns Sports Direct and the name change occurred at no cost which gives the sports company essentially free advertising until a new naming deal can be sorted.