Richard Branson – We Didn’t Get Chance To Match Wonga Bid


It’s quite surprising but Richard Branson has said his company Virgin Money were not even consulted by Newcastle before it was announced that Wonga would be the new shirt sponsors, and that deal was not met with positive vibes from Newcastle fans.

richard branson newcastle players

Richard Branson – in Newcastle last January

Wonga is one of those companies who offer short-term loan deal (payday loans) and charge amazingly high interest to the specific people who just cannot afford it.

And they do not have a very good name in the business world – and the Wonga name will be on Newcastle shirts starting next season, in a deal that is said to be worth £24M to Newcastle over the next four years – our biggest shirt deal ever.

Those pay-day type loans are not legally allowed over here in North Carolina, and it would have been great to have had Virgin Money still sponsoring the shirts over the next four years.

But Richard Branson said they were not even told about the deal, and didn’t get a chance to match it, and he was asked if he would have liked to have remained sponsoring the Newcastle shirts:

“Yeah, we would love to have stayed in touch with the club and the players. It was a great time, the timing was perfect when we took over, we became Virgin Money on the day they beat Manchester United, a great start for us.”

“The club in their wisdom did the deal with Wonga without talking to us, whether we would have matched that who is to know. These things happen I guess.” “We will definitely still sponsor sports, we are still involved in major events, we will still keep an open eye one this.”

Wonga have also paid to have the St. James’ Park name returned to the stadium – so that was positive – and they will also invest in Newcastle’s Youth Academy in addition to sponsoring the shirts.

Ir’s surprising to us that Newcastle didn’t even mention the Wonga deal to Richard Branson.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

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90 comments so far

  • Big Pappa Cissé

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #1

    Shame as I would much rather have Virgin money on the front of the shirt rather than wonga but it is what it is. I don’t think we can be so naive as to think that Ashley would jump on the wonga deal without knowing how much Virgin were likely to give us. You don’t become a billionaire by making rash decisions like that.

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  • Graeme

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #2

    If its true, that nobody other than wonga was considered or allowed to put in alternative proposals, we could have well shot ourselves in the foot, yet again!!

    No doubt the truth will eventually come out!!!

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #3

    Take this with a pinch of salt I think.

    Branson lost out on the west coast rail line a few months ago to a new bidder and he has done nothing but put them down and question them since, so much so the government have held a review.

    He clearly is very clever in business and people usually say these to help themselves and not others.

    Although if true it is odd and not something I imagine Ashley would do as I’m sure he’d be keen to get the most money.

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  • saxonfenken

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #4

    Can not say I am to chuffed with the Wonga Name, and would much rather have Virgins [who wouldn’t] Logo because Richard is a winner, but hey we got St James Park back,

    GOT TO BE WORTH SOMETHING

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #5

    Transfer,
    Or that Wonga agreed to put 25% of the money in Mashleys account in the Cayman islands.

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  • Graeme

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #6

    Transfer @3

    The Government had no choice but hold an enquiry – they investigated what Branson said and found out he was correct. The Government had completely cocked up the whole process and actually used different outlines to the bidders and different criteria to evaluate them.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #7

    JFA

    I doubt he’d risk all the flack for the sake of a couple million.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #8

    Graeme

    Yeh I know he turned out to be right but thats my point. He will not take things going against him lying down whether he has a genuine grievance or not.

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  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #9

    Seems a bit odd really. Why on Earth would the club not approach them and offer them the chance to at least match it? Something is amiss, but where?

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  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #10

    Also, isn’t it a bit odd for Branson to only be mentioning it now?

    Conspiracy theorists….I pass this case on to you…do us proud.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #11

    Transfer,
    Then I think you underestimate the extent of the mans greed 🙂

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #12

    JFA

    He just made 100mil this week selling 5% shares so can’t see him having done a dodgy deal for 2mil.

    Maybe this one was a deal done by Llambias…he could use the 2mil to buy a new suit….he looks like a comedian doing the working men’s club rounds in the 80’s when i see him.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #13

    Transfer,
    I see what you mean Mahmoud Ahmadinejad turns out better than Dirk Dastardly.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #14

    JFA

    He actually does. He’s got that weird grubby brown suit that looks like the same material they used to line the seats of an old club.

    I don’t even know where people buy these things. It’s like the question of where does the physics teacher at school buy his turquoise trousers.

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  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #15

    Would a double billionaire really be fussed over an alleged 6M in his offshore account? Well perhaps, but yes I think we’d all have been happier with Virgin.

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  • bills-son

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #16

    JFA – I think you totally overestimate the extent of Ashley’s greed. Totally.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Comment #17

    rotonda

    It genuinely puts me off buying the shirt next year. Not just because I don’t like the style of company but also cause their logo is bloomin awful.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #18

    bills,
    but spot on with his dress sense.

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  • toonLYF

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #19

    I decided a while ago that I won’t be buying the shirt for next season simply because the wonga logo looks cheap and crap. Besides the shirt design won’t be as nice as this years so ill probably just get another one from this season to freshen things up when the shop is selling them off half price or whatever. Lovely top this year and the Virgin logo looks sleek as out!

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  • STB

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #20

    Wonder if DL is “chums” with the Wonga crew. ..
    I assume that it is the MD and not the owner who has the delegation to manage the sourcing contracts.

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  • Mister Tuff

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #21

    Oh dear this story seems to have a bit of an unpleasant whiff about it. One poster suggested we would know how much Virgin were willing to give – what – so now we have psychics employed at the club. What a load of tosh. The whole idea surely to get the best deal FOR THE CLUB would be to put it out to tender -playing one against the other -in the hope an offer is increased. Whether you get a better offer is only known through using this well tried system.
    I recall reading about the Wonga deal -and what these new monies would provide -there was great emphasis on getting the best deal. If you do not put it out to tender you just will never know.
    Public bodies by law have to put things out to tender -or run the rsk of being accused of corruption.
    The West Coast Mainline affair – was spotted by Branson immediately the winner was announced -he knew the bidder could not ever run the line with the bid submitted. His “nose” paid off and we now hear the bidding process was not conducted properly and has cost us the taxpayer £50 million.
    One poster suggests some of the Wonga money may be diverted into a private account – one of the reasons for tendering is to dispel these types of suggestions.
    There is one thing I definitely believe I would trust Branson more than el Gourdo or Owlhead.
    In my previous posts about the Wonga deal I suggested may come back and bite us -there is still time yet.
    The question remains -why was it not put out to tender.

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  • Topbanana

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #22

    Both sides would know that the deal was due to end.
    A succcessful business ie Virgin who has ploughed money into advertising would know what they had to do to make or take talks further. Don’t and can’t believe that no talks took place.

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  • toonLYF

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #23

    Ibiza, my theory is that Branson will be signed as our new striker. This statement is simply a ploy to put his name fresh in the minds of the fans. The reason the Virgin sponsor couldn’t continue is due to potential of dressing room unrest, as our new striker (Branson) would not only be the talk of the toon, but would have his multi- million pound company on the front of the shirt. Other plays may begin to feel inadequate, so wonga it is.

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  • boater

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Comment #24

    “You have no idea how f**ing horrible we can be”. Derek Llambias, 2011. Given that, there was only going to be one winner between Wonga and Virgin.

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  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #25

    LYF…A decent effort, I mean… Really, Is that what has happened? Thanks for keeping us up to date, can’t wait to see our new ST in action.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #26

    Just as a bit of a feel good factor spreads over the toon the Dastardly duo come up with another nasty surprise,funnily enough just when we haven’t got a home game for three weeks.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #27

    The thing is though this is purely Branson’s word. There has been no official statement from the club and if there was a case to answer I imagine he would have flagged it up long before now.

    Does sound like sour grapes to me.

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  • check the toastie

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #28

    From previous article, if Haidara does play Santon should play further up the pitch, another option and reason to oust Jonas from his automatic selection.

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #29

    SSN,breaking news :
    ” Mike Ashley spokesman Derek Llambias plays down corruption claims by Richard Branson,but unveils plans to erect a bronze statue of Margaret Thatcher outside of SJP,claiming it was her who inspired Mike to start his own business.”

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  • Assam Toon

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #30

    http://www.sunderlandecho.com/sport/football/newcastle-united/ben-arfa-must-fight-for-newcastle-united-starting-role-1-5448947
    news coming in that HBA will have to fight for starting spot. Who exactly replaced him? It is stupid to think that someone else may start in his place. and what’s with the cabaye speculations? he is the last player i would want to see leave newcastle. it will completely bring down our entire machinery imo.

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  • Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #31

    Jail…This timing isn’t really down to Newcastle though, is it? It’s Branson who has made the statements, one would argue he’s a little late to join the party.

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  • G

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #32

    Are Virgin Money, any better from the ethical sense from Wonga? They have a different customer base, but essentially it’s all the same and boils down to making money. All I can say is that I don’t really care too much about this story. The Virgin logo looks nicer, but that’s about it.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #33

    JFA

    Haha…I heard it was going to 30ft high.

    I genuinely think they will have spoken to virgin who offered to renew it at x amount (or maybe delayed talks)….they looked around got offered y amount by wonga and thought well this is much higher than virgin offered us so i wont waste my time with them, they have lost out and signed the deal.

    Might not be the case but more likely than corruption.

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  • croftus5678

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #34

    maybe wonga offered a take it or leave it offer and wanted an answer there and then !

    either way its our greatest deal we have had so no reason to turn it down + stadium name change which gets fans on side (worth millions alone after the balls up as we never wanted to sell our name) and branson said he “may” have matched it ! which prob means he would not have or if he had he would have had our stadium name also.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #35

    G

    Virigin are a normal bank, every needs it and usually free to use. Issue loans at a respectable rate and to people they believe can make repayments.

    Wonga prey on those who need money fast, usually the poor, and charge high fees and interest to borrow.

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  • Munster Mag

    Feb 27, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #36

    Transfer, not so sure about that. The club says little until llambias went mad recently. Remember the silence on Shearer? Thing is, the Wonga deal apparently is nothing to write home about? I am pleased with many aspects pf how the club is now run, but always mindful of stunts like the disgraceful renaming of SJP. Remember if Cardiff can turn red – so can we! Great marketing opportunity u see – could make us 10 mill in a year which we could waste on Amalfitanos etc! 🙂

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  • G

    Feb 27, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #37

    TS, I understand that, but ultimately any financial institution in the country is fairly guilty of the above. Granted, the pay-day lenders charge extortionate rates, but usually a lot of the people who use those services have already been back-heeled by the ‘Normal Banks’ when they have asked for help. That, in my opionion makes them as guilty as the parasites. I know a lot of people who bank with Virgin, or have mortgages with them, and I hear horror stories all the time (no better or worse than any other bank / building society I suppose), but it’s usually dealing with one that leads you to the other.

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  • Munster Mag

    Feb 27, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #38

    G, they are completely different ethically I’m afraid.

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  • DokToon

    Feb 27, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Comment #39

    glad i stil sport my nothern rock and got my virgin money shirt this year already…

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  • jayphoto

    Feb 27, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #40

    Wonga is the biggest deal we ‘ve ever had! Why are we complaining?? Theyve been a fantastic sponsor at blackpool investing in the youth team and the community! Personally think money is money, fair play whoever got wonga to pay all that money to name a stadium the same name itd been for 100 years! Financial wizardery!

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