BOLTON Wanderers have announced that payday loan company QuickQuid will be their new sponsor.
Following several days of online speculation about the identity of Bolton’s new sponsor and a possible deal with QuickQuid, the payday loan firm was announced as the club’s principal sponsor as part of a two-year-partnership deal on Wednesday.
Bolton spokesman, chairman Phil Gartside, said: “We are excited to welcome QuickQuid as our new principal partner. In our discussions it became obvious very quickly that both parties wanted to develop a partnership that engaged with all elements of the football club and community, and as much as anything else, to bring some real fun to matchdays.
“This is one of QuickQuid’s initial UK sports partnerships, and I am delighted that they have joined with us at Bolton Wanderers.
“Their energy and enthusiasm to help develop initiatives in collaboration with the community trust, and to support education and other sporting opportunities in and around Bolton has been extremely refreshing.
“And of course, they are also very excited to be supporting Bolton Wanderers in what should be an enthralling push for success on the pitch over the next two seasons.”
The deal represents a great deal more than just logos on shirts, in addition to the QuickQuid logo featuring on the club’s new kits and training wear, the payday lender has committed to invest in schemes run by the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, for instance the lender will be supporting the community trust as it rolls-out its new employability certificate scheme to help youngsters in years 10 and 11 improve their employment opportunities when they leave school, they will be working closely with the trust to further develop schemes like its active families programme, and to extend its sports participation scheme to include an expanding range of sports. They will also be working on extracurricular initiatives such as new entertainment events and support for BWFC Juniors and family schemes plus support for the club’s Friday Night Football and Advanced Coaching Sessions.
Cryptically the Reebok Stadium outfit – who finished seventh in the Championship last campaign – and QuickQuid also say they are “committed to bringing some additional enjoyment to matchdays for supporters around the excitement on the pitch”. So presumably there is going to be an inflatable payday loan castle or a comedic payday loan mascot or perhaps QuickQuid are supplying some half time entertainment in the shape of dancing girls and/or boys.
Head of partnerships at QuickQuid, Greg Hohnstein, opened the door for an extension of the, currently, 2 year deal, saying; “We are delighted to be working with Bolton Wanderers over the next two seasons – and possibly longer. We were immediately impressed by the evident passion of the club and its supporters and we are excited to be part of a strong partnership as it develops over this period to help bring success on the pitch, and positive results and opportunities in the wider community.”
The deal hasn’t gone down well with all quarters of Bolton however. In a flagrant display of hang wringing Bolton West Labour MP Julie Hilling lamented the club’s decision to display a payday loan company on their kits and The Bolton South East MP, Yasmin Qureshi, said: “It’s completely wrong. These companies prey on the vulnerable and they should be illegal.”
Hilling told the BBC “It is a sad day for the club. The [payday loan] industry exploits vulnerable people who need ready money. “I think accepting a sponsorship deal legitimises these companies in a way that’s unacceptable.”
A spokesperson for the payday loan industry said “payday loan companies make money available to users when they have few other options and need money in a hurry. This sponsorship deal goes beyond simply pumping money into an already wealthy club, it is putting a lot of money into the community and is an example of a successful national business giving something back to the Bolton community.”
A number of Bolton supporters have also chosen to speak out against the deal, launching an online petition against their club, as a protest over the controversial shirt sponsorship agreement with the payday loans company. Almost as soon as the deal was announced this week the club faced a backlash from fans. The online petition, calling for the Championship club to “Reverse the decision to allow the club kit to be sponsored by QuickQuid”, had secured more than 1,900 signatures by lunchtime on Thursday. The supporters have also arranged a protest at Bolton town hall at 5pm on Thursday.
This isn’t the first time a football club has come under fire for its choice of sponsor; last year Newcastle United came under fire for agreeing a sponsorship deal with the short-term loans company Wonga.
So far, however, there is no sign of any change of heart taking place with the Bolton camp.