When Kerry Katona comes onto the television dressed like a Quality Street and preaching to the audience about the need for good financial help, I have to admit to gesturing wildly at the screen.
So when it was announced over the weekend that Sheffield Wednesday had rejected a sponsorship deal from a payday lending company, I got a glowing feeling from the season ticket in my purse. The company, who have not been named by Wednesday, were reportedly offering around 25% more than any other sponsorship deal for next season. By my calculations from a payday lender that equates to about 4250% in the small print so it was heartening to know that the club rejected their offer for ethical reasons.
Club chairman Milan Mandaric told The Independent: “We felt the business model the company operates was not one with which we were comfortable to support as our main partner. In addition, we take great pride in our standing as a community focused football club and believe this partnership would not have been welcomed by the majority of our supporters.”
Mandaric, who has had his moments where morality and money have potentially crossed the line, appears to have captured the mood of the fans who are struggling in this economy. When fans are paying out what spare cash they have on the luxury of season tickets and merchandise, the club also has to be seen to be acting in their best interests.
The club isn’t a stranger to putting ethics before cash. In 2009 the team’s shirt sponsorship was donated to the Sheffield Children’s Hospital for two seasons. At this time The Owls were teetering on the brink of administration and a lucrative sponsorship deal would have kept the taxman happy for a number of months.
Despite this Wednesday followed in the footsteps of Barcelona and Aston Villa and walked out onto the pitch each week promoting a local charity. The deal forged strong links with the hospital that remain to this day.
The Owls have always been a family club and this goes to prove that football can think beyond profit margins. I just hope they don’t let me down by signing with a betting company instead!