Newcastle gamble on shirt sponsor
A year later? Qatari businessman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani bought the “Anchovies” and there ended the deal with William Hill – the new owner cancelled the contract, the name of Unesco, the UN cultural agency, now appearing on the team’s shirts.
Back at Newcastle they’ll trust it’ll all work out, somehow. It isn’t, of course, the first time they’ve had problems with sponsorship by a financial institution, Northern Rock becoming the first bank in 150 years to suffer a “run” in 2007, at the same time their name appeared on Newcastle’s shirts.
Opposition fans were, needless to say, kind about it all “you should have banked with The Woolwich” among the more friendly chants at the time.
Turns out that Lewis Hamailton is a bit of a tweet
Sizzling cheeks of the week: Lewis Hamilton.
Monday: “Just noticed @jensonbutton unfollowed (me), that’s a shame . . . I thought we respected one another but clearly he doesn’t.”
Not long after . . .
“My bad just found out Jenson never followed me. Don’t blame him!”
Lance the only dope remaining
Despite the findings of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which, you might have heard, published its reasons this week for deciding to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and to ban him from the sport for life – “The most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen” – the American was not without his supporters, not least Nike.
In a statement they first released in August, the company said it planned “to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation”, while being “saddened” that he “may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted”.
Impacted? Well, yes.
British cyclist Alex Dowsett, meanwhile, claimed Armstrong was still “a legend of the sport”, later telling the BBC “I don’t think I could shake his hand” after receiving a bit of heat.
Samuel Sanchez, the 2008 Olympic road race champion, insisted Armstrong “remains innocent until the contrary is proved”, despite the report detailing testimony from 26 witnesses, including 11 former team-mates.
“About all the accusations that have been poured against him,” he said, “we have to see what is the goal of all of them, whether it is an economic motive or they want to harm his image”.
Another cyclist, Stephen Cummings, in what some labelled “the Jimmy Savile defence”, said: “It is easy to point your finger on all the bad things, but you could look at the good things he has done as well . . . like his cancer charity.”
Need it be said, Joey Barton took to Twitter to share his views, although it’s unlikely cycling appreciated his intervention: “I am not for one minute condoning Lance Armstrong’s drug abuse but the man is still a legend. Drugs seem quite the ‘norm’ in that sport.”
Bradley Wiggins, the reigning Tour de France champion, was, though, less forgiving, describing the evidence against Armstrong as damning.
But he dismissed the notion that his titles should be awarded to those who finished just behind him.
“Strip him of his titles and give them to second place – who’s already tested positive and been banned from the sport? Give it to third place who’s subsequently been banned?
“There was one year where they’d have to go down to fifth place to award the victory – it’s almost irrelevant now, there’s a void in those seven years that Lance won the Tour.”