Newcastle United have agreed to a £ 20 million shirt sponsorship deal with Virgin Money for a period believed to be around two years, after a breakthrough in the contract negotiations between the two parties.
Newcastle and Virgin had been locked in contract talks for weeks before the owner of Virgin Sir Richard Branson agreed to bail out cash-stricken Newcastle based bank Northern Rock and buy all the shares.
According to the reports that were received, the deal was concluded late on Tuesday, the 3rd of January, 2012 when Virgin Money agreed to meet the demands of the club and signed on the dotted line.
The club played its first match with their shirt emblazoned with the logo of the new sponsors in the 3-0 rout of English champions Manchester United on the 4th of January – a shock result that allowed some fans to make serious money by backing Newcastle at some of the best online football betting odds this season.
The new shirt sponsorship deal has gone a long way in securing the club’s financial stability, coming as quickly as it does after a deal to rename the famous St. James’ Park to the Sports Direct Arena was concluded a couple of months back, bringing in extra cash for the club.
Northern Rock, which had been the shirt sponsors for the club for almost eight years in a deal that ran until the end of the current season, was taken over by Virgin Money on New Year’s Day this year and this led to complications in their contractual obligations with the club.
It is believed that Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley will offer Virgin Money the chance to combine their shirt sponsorship deal with the naming rights of the stadium and bring an end to the controversy over renaming the stadium.
Newcastle United will be making the difficult trip to Anfield on the final weekend of 2011 in the Barclays Premier League. Even though a visit to Liverpool is always very tough, Newcastle United will have reasons to worry because they have just one victory in five matches.
The win over Bolton on Boxing Day was their first to stop the rot, which began with the defeat against Chelsea a few weeks ago. A number of injuries in a defensive department did not help things for Alan Pardew, but he seems to have stabilised things at Tyneside.
Newcastle United will most probably be up against former striker Andy Carroll given that Luis Suarez has been suspended for his obscene gestures during the match against Fulham. Andy Carroll has largely been disappointing since making his £ 35 million move from Liverpool almost a year ago. Recently, Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew admitted that he should be more than interested in taking Andy Carroll back to St James’s Park.
Newcastle United are going through a difficult place at the moment with a number of strikers either suffering from injuries or set to depart for the African cup of nations. As a result, Alan Pardew has been discussing the possibility of loan move for Andy Carroll, but he can be sure that the former Newcastle United striker will be the starting 11 for this match.
“Newcastle took a chance on Ba when he failed a medical at Stoke and they have been rewarded. I think he has been the pick of their signings this year but he’s not the only good player they have brought in. I’ve been impressed with Yohan Cabaye and a few others as well,” Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said when asked about Newcastle United’s transfer policy.
Alan Pardew has said that the fans of Newcastle United deserve a special price for standing by the club at through thick and thin. Many expected that Newcastle United will not be able to return straight back into the Premier League after their relegation to the championship a few seasons ago.
However, spurred on by their frantic support, Newcastle United have been able to come back into the Premier League. Even better is the fact that they are now capable of challenging for the European places, and manager Alan Pardew reckons that one of the main reasons for it is due to the support of the crowds.
Newcastle are now at the lowest they have ever been on the Premier league betting indexes, and their fans are widely acknowledged to be the passionate crowd amongst the various Premier League teams.
One of the best examples of their support team in the recent match against Swansea city. Even though Newcastle United struggled to break down the newly promoted Swansea city, there was no disgruntle amongst the fans. This, according to Alan Pardew, was one of the main reasons Newcastle United were able to avoid defeat against Swansea city. Alan Pardew says that he will be repaying their faith by leading the team to victory in the match against West Bromwich Albion tonight.
“I thanked them for their patience on Saturday. No one wants to see a 0-0, especially when it’s freezing cold. The one thing I do know about Wednesday night is that we’ll have the floodlights on. It creates a special atmosphere, and that’ll be an advantage for us,” Alan Pardew said ahead of the match with West Brom.
Newcastle United can claim back into the top six with a victory over West Brom, but it is easier said than done, as West Brom will be looking for victory after last week’s defeat to Wigan. Newcastle face Manchester United in the New Year, and will need their fans to be at their best to help them overcome the Red Devils like Blackburn Rovers did.
Newcastle striker Demba Ba believes his current side have a lot in common with the Hoffenheim team which shook up the Bundesliga in the 2008-09 season.
The German club were newly promoted but led the league at the halfway point of the season before cementing a seventh place finish, which was still beyond their expectations.
Ba’s personal contribution was 14 goals in 35 games and although Newcastle’s precise circumstances are not identical to those of Hoffenheim, he believes that there are a lot of common factors.
“What I saw in Hoffenheim is the same thing here,” Ba told BBC Newcastle.
“We have a young manager who knows how to manage and the team is similar, good footballers, good with the ball.”
As with his spell at Hoffenheim, Ba has been instrumental in Newcastle’s good fortunes this season, clocking up an impressive 11 goals in 16 games. Those tracking the African Cup of Nations betting will have been very impressed by his efforts.
His goals helped ensure Newcastle were unbeaten until they faced league-leaders Manchester City and a penalty against Manchester United in their next game saw the side grab a valuable point from a tough fixture.
He was back among the goals during the side’s trip to Norwich City, but his fantastic brace was in vein as defensive frailties saw Newcastle ship four goals to go down 4-2.
The Magpies may end up paying the price of Ba’s fine form though, with a call up for the African Cup of Nations looking almost certain for the Senegal striker and he could miss up to eight Premier League games if his national side go all the way.
Even though Newcastle United were going into a tough run of fixtures – which included the teams like Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea – Newcastle have been able to maintain their strong run of form, and keep their position in the top four.
Even though they lost their unbeaten record against Manchester City, they did extremely well against Man Utd to come away with a draw. Whilst the penalty that led to the equaliser was highly disputable, Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa believes that there should be no reason why Newcastle shouldn’t challenge for the title. This comes as quite strong statement because Newcastle United were only promoted last season!
The Premier League has been won by just four clubs since its inception in 1992. Even though there may be a case for a change at the top of the helm, it is nothing but extremely tough to see Newcastle United going even close to winning the title. The 1-1 draw with Man Utd may have given them a great deal of confidence, but they need to be winning regularly right up until the end of the season.
Speaking after the win against Manchester United, Hatem Ben Arfa said “I think that if we gain in confidence, we can go far, and why not challenge for the title? I think the only thing that makes a difference is confidence. We really have great footballers here now, and if we carry on like this, then we can do something.”
Having completed almost a third of the campaign, Newcastle United are nine points behind leaders Manchester City.
Newcastle United striker scored a hatrick against Stoke City, but believes that there is much more to come from him.
A penalty in the 81st minute completed Demba’s hatrick, and won all three points for the Magpies, which helped them up to 3rd in the Premier League table. After 10 matches they are one of just two unbeaten teams in the league, and are on course to win a place in Europe next season.
Newcasle United fans are falling over themselves to meet Ba, who has only been at the club for a matter of months but has slotted in effortlessly. He believes that when he has fully settled, he will be able to score even more goals.
“I am playing at a good level but I can still get better, that is for sure. I am going to just continue working hard.”
“It’s going to be very tough to stay up where we are in the league, but at the moment we’re really enjoying it. I’m happy for the fans and for the club.”
Newcastle have signed midfielder Sylvain Marveaux from French club Rennes in a major coup for the north-east club. The 25-year-old left-sided player had also been linked with Liverpool but will complete a move to St James’ Park for an undisclosed fee on 1 July.
Magpies manager Alan Pardew said: “It’s a coup to have signed Sylvain, who has had interest from a number of clubs.
“He may not be well known to many of our fans, but he is a player we have been keeping an eye on for some time.”
Joey Barton looks set to depart the Magpies at the end of the season, according to the Free Bets website. The 28-year-old, who has a year to run on his present contract, was unable to agree terms on a new deal.
Magpies boss Alan Pardew has been quoted as wanting to retain Barton, who joined Newcastle from Manchester City in July 2007 for £5.8m.
Huyton-born Barton has scored eight goals in 82 appearances at Newcastle.
Barton has previously stated his happiness at Newcastle, and was even quoted as wanting to extend the contract in February of this year.
Hatem Ben Arfa’s return from injury will be delayed after a new set-back according to Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
The 23-year-old had hoped to make his comeback from a double leg-break against Wolves next month.
But Pardew admits the forward, who sustained the injury against Manchester City following a horror tackle from midfielder Nigel De Jong, will not be rushed back too soon and may miss out the rest of the campaign.
‘I am going to protect him. I can’t just throw him in,’ said Pardew, confirming that the player’s rehabilitaion – most of which has been spent in Paris – will continue over the forthcoming weeks.
‘The Wolves game sound optimistic, even though I’m sure, in his own mind, he has set that as his target.
Former Newcastle star Obafemi Martins has said that the exit from Newcastle is hurting him till now. Birmingham signed Martins, 26, on a six-month loan from Rubin Kazan and the striker made his Blues debut during the 1-0 win against Stoke on Saturday. The Nigerian forward is likely to feature in Tuesday’s Premier League clash against his former club Newcastle, and the player, who left the Magpies for German club Wolfsburg in a £9 million deal in 2009, has confessed he is still coming to terms with his St James’ Park departure. “The only bad memory we had was when we got relegated,” he said in the Daily Telegraph. “It was normal when I left because they couldn’t afford the money, that’s why they asked me to go. I have good memories of there with the fans and the players.