These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

THE NAME GAME

Printed in the Southern League Midlands Division match v Bedworth United. We won 2-0 in front of 241 spectators and are now second!


Only Newcastle United’s clown owner Mike Ashley could come up with such a crap re-branding. Forget St.James Park, Newcastle now play at the sportsdirect.com@St.James' Park Stadium. Doesn’t that just roll off the tongue; I can already hear Toon Army fans scratching their heads to try and incorporate it into songs.
Just as I hate it when old pub names are lost under some trendy new moniker, I can’t stand it when traditional football stadium names go the same way. Surely there’s other ways of raising sponsorship, or god forbid, reducing players wages so clubs don’t have to bow to the corporate hammer and squeeze every drop of cash out of everything.
York City went from Bootham Crescent to Kit Kat Crescent, Bournemouth’s Dean Court became the Fitness First Stadium, but is now looking for new sponsors. Everyone’s favourite football romantics Accrington Stanley played at the Crown Ground, until it was renamed the passion killing Interlink Express Stadium, then the Fraser Eagle Stadium until that company went bust. Dagenham and Redbridge’s Victoria Road has become quite the mouthfall – welcome to ‘the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium’. Witton Albion have played at the Bargain Booze Stadium, Cambridge United briefly played at the Trade Recruitment Stadium and are now at the R Costings Abbey Stadium, while Kettering's Rockingham Road has just been renamed Elgoods Brewery Arena. When Graham Westley took over as chairman/manager/god at Farnborough Town, amongst other things, he renamed the ground 'The Aimita Stadium' after his company, but as soon as the pratt left it was changed back to Cherrywood Road. Locals at Stocksbridge Park Steels delightfully named Bracken Moor Ground have refused to call it the Look Local stadium, much of the dismay of the sponsors the Look Local newspaper.
Sometimes it does work - sort of. Pontefract Collieries for some reason play at the Abstract Stadium, while Rugby Leagues Castleford Tigers play at the Jungle after former sponsor Jungle.com. When Argos bought the company, they severed all their links with the Tigers but the club decided to keep the name. The Oval, bastion of English cricket, is now "The Brit Oval", following a sponsorship deal with an insurance firm. Of course compared with American sports, British sponsorship is the epitome of subtlety. Thank god we haven’t yet got the Pizza Hut Park and or Dick's Sporting Goods Park!
Mind you, if renaming football stadiums is bad enough, what about renaming whole football clubs, which seems popular in Welsh football. The owner of TNS waged a war with the BBC to get them to read out Welsh Premier League results – nothing to do with the fact that it would have been free advertising for his company. TNS are now The New Saints, wherever that is. The oldest football club in Wales, Cefn Druids have already been renamed 3 times by different sponsors and are currently Elements Cefn Druids.
As for Newcastle, well the Newcastle United Supporters Trust summed up the new name perfectly “Newcastle is beginning to resemble one of Mr Ashley’s famous sales at Sports Direct - chaotic, cheap and a shambles. Now, as his latest slap in the face to the fans and the city, he wants to sell off the famous name of St James‘ Park. Everything he does now seems to be calculated to thumb a nose at his customers.”
If the idea of re-branding is to make more money, then it seems rather short sighted if you manage to alienate your customers – sorry football supporters – along the way. Maybe Ashley should have hooked up with some bath and toilet manufacturer and renamed St.James Park down-the-plughole.com?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Oranjepan said...

Interesting questions.

One additional point - many clubs were offshoots of company sports programmes during the amateur days.

The best example is PSV Eindhoven, which retains its' links as a wholly owned subsidiary of Philips (that's what the P in PSV stands for), and many Japanese or Korean clubs have their origins in this area too.

Before Juventus looked to rebuild the Delle Alpi they considered moving away from Turin, reflecting their origins as the Italian 'youth' team, but this was trumped by the connection with Fiat (the members of the youth team were given jobs with the car maker).

I'm not sure that fluidity of identity isn't a good thing, just so long as it resonates through the whole organisation.

TNS - that's Oswestry, right?

1:42 am

 
Anonymous WOODY WEFC said...

Out of interest is there a name lined up for Sloughs potential new ground yet?

Didnt want to post this on the forum as its not meant to stir up any ill feeling but could Slough really turn down a bit of extra cash? After all Didcot seemed to of got away with the Npower ground

3:11 pm

 

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