I would like to offer my thanks to commenter COYBIG for picking up on another inaccuracy, though again surely inadvertent, in Mr Green’s latest ramblings.
For some unaccountable reason the mainstream media seem reluctant to point out inconsistencies or errors emanating from Ibrox. Maybe they are working on the basis that James Traynor and Charles Green are an irresistible force, or at least immovable objects.
As an aside I note that Mr Green is quoted in the piece saying the following:-
What I said last night is that I personally am going to fight to get the Ibrox name in the new title.
Now Mr Green is, unless I am very much mistaken, the CEO of Rangers International FC PLC and also the CEO of Rangers Football Club Ltd. One or both of those companies will be selling these rights. As the CEO of the seller, one assumes Mr Green is in position to tell any prospective buyer “Ibrox stays in the name”.
What am I missing?
Or is this a prelude to telling the faithful that the ground is now the Ryanair Arena because the airline offered so much money he was over-ruled by “the money men”?
Anyway, what COYBIG noted arose from Mr Green’s justification for selling the naming rights.
Referring to his best friend Mike Ashley at Newcastle United, he said:-
“Mike Ashley is rich but he’s not stupid and they had a budget to adhere to so there was a period when the management and playing staff had got to their limit.
“When they did the naming rights deal at St James’ Park, it brought cash in and that cash was used to acquire Demba Ba.
“He scored loads of goals then they sold him for £7million so that shows what selling the naming rights can do. If you can use that money well, it’ll bring further money in.”
So what is the problem?
That seems a fine example – sell the naming rights – bring in a new player – he scores lots of goals – then is sold off at a profit.
However, as COYBIG pointed out, unless Mike Ashley has a time machine within the Wonga Arena (or whatever name St James’ Park goes by now) that example cannot be correct!
When did the renaming take place which brought in the cash to sign Mr Ba?
Newcastle United have renamed their ground the sportsdirect.com @ St James’ Park Stadium for the immediate future.
The Championship club said last week it was looking to sell the naming rights to St James’ Park from next season. But it has now decided to use the ground to showcase the retail company controlled by club owner Mike Ashley until the end of the current campaign.
“We will showcase Sports Direct until the end of the season,” chief executive Derek Llambias told BBC Newcastle.
“I’m sure we’re going to get a sponsor in for next season.”
Asked if the name “St James’ Park” would always remain amid an angry response from fans, Llambias said: “Absolutely. In our reign, absolutely.
“It’s adding to it, and if it brings in a good chunk of money to the club, that goes straight to the team, then do you know what, it’s a revenue we should look at.”
So, in 2009 there was not a big money naming deal, but rather a “showcase” of Mr Ashley’s own company.
What happened then?
According to the BBC, the renaming of St James’ Park however did not take place until late 2011, and even then was NOT a lucrative deal.
As the BBC reported on 9th November 2011:-
Newcastle United have renamed St James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena after owner Mike Ashley’s company. The club say the change is a temporary measure to “showcase” the sponsorship opportunity to “interested parties”.
However the St James’ Park title has been dropped as the club does not think it is “commercially attractive”. Newcastle are now searching for a “long-term sponsor to acquire full naming rights”, possibly for both the ground and playing kit.
Managing director Derek Llambias said: “Stadium rebranding offers a lucrative way for clubs to secure significant additional income.”
The club originally planned to allow sponsors to link their brand to the St James’ Park title but that idea, put forward in 2009, is now replaced by the offer to purchase full naming rights.
Llambias added: “Naming the stadium the Sports Direct Arena helps up to showcase the opportunity to interested parties.
“We are now actively seeking a long-term sponsor wishing to acquire full naming rights for the stadium.
“Our shirt sponsorship deal with Northern Rock will also expire at the end of this season, which presents would-be sponsors with the opportunity to acquire both the naming rights and shirt sponsorship deals.”
Did Newcastle achieve this big money naming rights deal? Yes!
On 9th October 2012 the BBC reported that Newcastle had reached a four year deal with legalised loan sharks money lenders Wonga.com.
As the BBC stated:-
Newcastle’s stadium name will revert to St James’ Park after the Premier League club agreed a four-year sponsorship deal with a loan company.
Wonga will become the club’s main shirt sponsor from next season, replacing Virgin Money, and will also invest £1.5m in the club’s academy.
The firm also purchased the stadium naming rights and decided on a return to the traditional name.
The stadium had been called the Sports Direct Arena since November 2011.
Finally, to conclude the evidence gathering, Mr Ba left Newcastle for Chelsea as reported by the BBC on 4th January 2013.
So the time line runs as follows:-
- November 2009 – change of name to “showcase” the opportunity – ground named after Mr Ashley’s company
- June 2011 – Demba Ba signs for Newcastle
- November 2011 – the ground is again renamed after Mr Ashley’s company to “showcase” the opportunity
- October 2012 – Wonga.com sign four-year naming rights deal
- January 2013 – Demba Ba sold to Chelsea
Where did the deal create the money to sign Mr Ba?
Has Mr Ashley hoodwinked Mr Green? Unlikely. Such a canny businessman as Mr Green would not be taken in by such tales.
Maybe Mr Green’s briefing notes were confused – perhaps some good sub-editors are needed at Ibrox?
Does it matter?
I think it does and here is why.
The re-naming of a stadium is an emotional matter for football fans. As was the case with Newcastle the fans were very unhappy at the thought that the name would disappear. Rangers fans are especially protective of their club’s history and of what makes Rangers what it is, as we have seen from their anger at the thought of “title-stripping”. So the selling of the name of the ground is something which will take a lot of selling to the loyal supporters. How better to persuade them than by showing how selling off the stadium name will bring in untold riches which will themselves multiply?
What if the example chosen seems, as Oolon Colluphid might have said “a pile of fetid dingo’s kidneys”!
Heaven forfend that Mr Green will give his faithful any old guff to get them to side with him. Surely not?
Posted by Paul “Tam Shepherd’s Trick Shop” McConville