owner Mike Ashley has been widely lambasted for changing the name of the club's
ground from St James' Park to the Sports Direct Arena.
so, you might think: we're talking about a multi-millionaire renaming a
119-year-old stadium after his chain of shops just six weeks before Christmas.
is far from the first person to set go ahead with such a brutally shameless sporting
cash-in; and perhaps even more surprising, his actions are actually fairly tame
compared to some of the things that have happened in sport over the years.
So here, in
no particular order, is our run-down of the top dozen - or rather bottom dzoen - sporting stars and teams who
proved that they will do anything for a quick payday.
- - - -
Gareth Southgate, Stuart Pearce and Chris
Waddle's Pizza Hut adverts
Cleverly done? Yes. Well acted by the standards of sportsmen in adverts? Yes.
in on your failure to score a penalty for England at a crucial moment? No, no
The England trio might have argued that they were poking a bit of fun at themselves for failing at Euro 96 and Italia 90, but it was the three of them who were laughing all the way to the bank.
Jimmy White changes his name to Jimmy Brown
We've got a
bit of sympathy for the snooker legend on this one: the six-times world championship
runner-up knew that his powers were waning fast when he signed a £100,000 deal
to promote HP sauce in 2005.
did he really need to agree to change his name by Deed Poll to Jimmy Brown to help
promote the popular condiment?
Boston Chicago Cubs rename their ground after
Field is revered as one of American sport's most iconic venues, but it was the
first sporting stadia to be overtly named after a sponsor. Cubs Park was
renamed in 1926, soon after being taken over by chewing gum millionaire William
claim that Wrigley Field was beaten to the punch by the equally iconic Fenway
Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The club's owner John Taylor claimed that the
1911 stadium was named after Boston's Fenway neighbourhood; the fact that he
just so happened to own a property company called Fenway Realty didn't exactly
Olympic showjumper Harvey Smith rechristens
horse after sponsor
Smith was always the bad boy of the show jumping world, once famously giving a
v-sign to judges after a particularly good round. And he had further v-signs in
store for those who complained about him re-naming one of his horses 'Sanyo
Music Centre' after a lucrative sponsorship deal, thereby circumventing BBC rules
cheeky deal led the way for an even more successful tie-in set up by John
Whitaker, who renamed Milton, his prize steed, Everest Milton in honour of the
double glazing company. The company got great value for money for their
endorsement as Everest Milton went on to become one of the most successful horses
in show jumping history.
Eintracht Braunschweig turn players into
amazing to think about it now, but before the 1970s it was considered
sacreligious to even suggest putting a sponsor's logo on a football shirt. All
that changed in 1973 when Bundesliga side Eintracht Braunschweig persuaded
authorities to allow their players to run around in strips carrying adverts for
Jagermeister (yes, that
it took a few more years before the FA agreed to allow shirt advertising. The cherry
was popped when Bob Paisley's all-conquering Liverpool team - then the English
and European champions - started running around with 'Hitachi' emblazoned on
their chests in 1979, the first English football league club to wear sponsored
shirts in a competitive match.
Waddle and Hoddle try to become popstars
crimes against music are many, but while most were done with tongue firmly in
cheek - think Gazza's 'Fog on the Tyne' - we can't forgive Glenn Hoddle and
Chris Waddle for their grotesquely earnest efforts.
back of England's popularity following a decent showing at the 1986 World Cup, the
duo's abysmal 'Diamond Lights' contributed to mankind only in the sense that it
acted as a horrific warning to footballers who might later be tempted to become
The Glazers at Manchester United
back, it seems such an obvious trick: in the era of the so-called leverage
buy-out, what risk was there for the Glazers to take over Manchester United
with a vast loan secured against the club itself?
not that much different to taking out a mortgage, when you think about it. For
all the vilification of United's owners among the club's fans, their
money-making record at the club (whose revenues have nearly doubled since the
takeover) means that you'll never hear the club's creditors complaining about
the direction it's being taken.
Scotland's 1978 World Cup cash-ins
Scottish players threw themselves into their off-pitch activities with gusto
ahead of the tournament in Argentina, releasing a song claiming that they would
win the World Cup. Going on an open-top bus tour (yes, before the tournament)
and advertising everything from carpet shops to the Chrysler Avenger ("if
there were a World Cup for value, the Chrysler Avenger would win").
Any club that's ever charged more than £15 for
a replica shirt
shirt prices have long been bordering on the criminal, and in 2003 the Office
of Fair Trading found that Manchester United, the FA and Umbro had all entered
into price fixing agreements to keep the costs of the shirts artificially high.
forward eight years and nothing has changed, with the latest outrage being the
£52 Team GB Olympic football shirt, for a product whose manufacturing costs are
estimated at under £10.
the likes of United can point to sky-high wages and transfer fees to justify
their legal extortion; what wages or transfer fees will the BOA have to pay to
get a team of U23s to play at the Games next year?
George Foreman's Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling
the adverts for the kitchen appliances peddled by the former boxing world
champion and sometime lay preacher, you'd think that the big man himself had a
sideline in electronic engineering and had designed the grill in a few spare
hours in his garage.
Do we need
to say that it's not really true? The machine was invented by an American
called Michael Boehm and picked up by Russell Hobbs, who signed up the
then-45-year-old Foreman to peddle their device after he became the world's
oldest ever heavyweight champion.
deal reportedly entitled him to around 40 per cent of the profits from the
grills, making him an estimated $200 million - far more than he ever earned in
Pat Jennings dresses as an oil filter plug to
The hall of
shame of footballers appearing in TV adverts is a separate top 10 in its own
right that we'll get to some other time, and the Brut adverts starring Kevin Keegan
and Henry Cooper will earn a prominent spot.
favourite has to be legendary goalie Pat Jennings turning himself into a human
oil filter (explaining that with a filter, like a goalie, "the more it saves, the better it is") to advertise Unipart's new car part.
Ashley Cole endorses the lottery
defender - who earns a lottery win a year since defecting to the Blues - and his
pop-star wife Cheryl signed up to promote the National Lottery Dream Number
game in 2006. What can we add that the picture doesn't explain better?