Struggling lower league clubs have welcomed the news that football bigwigs have sanctioned a move which will allow them to alter their names to incorporate sponsors.
Now Premier League big boys such as Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea are set to lobby for a similar move in the top flight but will be met with stiff resistance from both the league officials as well as disgruntled fans.
Soccer authorities rubber-stamped a proposal to allow the change in the light of the worsening financial crisis in the game. From next season clubs in Leagues One and Two will be able to modify their names to include the brands of companies keen to cash in on the publicity.
Some clubs have already got lucrative deals lined up after being given assurances that those in the corridors of power would sanction such a move. And we can exclusively reveal those teams who will change their names in the summer ahead of next season’s campaigns.
In League One, Plymouth Argyle have sealed a deal to add retail giants Argos to their name to replace the historic Argyle and will now play as Plymouth Argos; Bristol Rovers change to Bristol River Island and Accrington Stanley will become Accrington Stanley Hand Tools.
And in League Two, Welsh outfit Newport County have signed a contract with chocolate giants Mars to adopt one of their brands and will play as Newport Bounty, while Cambridge United are set to turn our as CamBridgestone Tyres.
Fans are furious that their clubs’ histories and integrity are being discarded in the development but chief executives argue it is a solve-all way to increase the revenue into clubs who are fighting for survival under increasing budgetary concerns.
CEO of Plymouth Argos Nelly Fissler said she was delighted to be able to announce the name change but that also she understood fully the concerns of some of club’s supporters. In between browsing through an Argos catalogue, she said: “We are delighted to be able to announce the name change but that I also understood fully the concerns of some of club’s supporters.”
Despite repeated requests to desist from over-egging the pudding regards the new branding, Nelly completely ignored us and went on to say: “The order form is taken to the checkout and the items paid for, then the customer is given a receipt which indicates where they should wait for their items to be brought to them from the storeroom. Customers can also shop and pay for their items online on the Argos app or by the Argos website.”
Meanwhile, Accrington Stanley Hand Tools CEO Pip Turner said the move would enable the club to buy a new dishwasher for the players’ canteen and also allow a summer spruce-up of the home team’s dressing rooms. Surveying the Crown Ground with a contented look on his face, former Ronnie Corbett impersonator Turner said: “The club can now buy a new dishwasher for the players’ canteen and also allow a summer spruce-up of the home team’s dressing rooms.”