true faith : POLITICAL FOOTBALL (Wronga … Again)

by • June 30, 2014 • UncategorizedComments (4)475

The news last week that so-called ‘payday lenders’ Wonga, otherwise known as loan sharksWonga Wonga, have been ordered by the Financial Conduct Authority to pay £2.6 million in compensation, probably came as no great surprise to readers of True Faith. It certainly didn’t surprise me.  Not that the story wasn’t appalling. The compensation will have to be paid to a staggering 45 000 customers, who received threatening letters from solicitors who simply didn’t exist. This was fraud on a massive scale. That it doesn’t somehow come as a great shock, very succinctly tells the story of just how untrusted Wonga are.

There are reports that Wonga may also face criminal charges, which given the size of the fraud, again should hardly come as any great surprise. We shall see what happens. But, if criminal charges are brought and are upheld in court, where on earth does that leave Wonga as sponsors of Newcastle United? Even if they aren’t brought, doesn’t the whole sorry affair reflect badly on those football clubs unfortunate enough to be sponsored by them?

David Cameron has been rightly criticised in the last week for his lack of judgement in employing Andy Coulson, now convicted of charges relating to phone-hacking at the News of the World, as his aide. Surely similar criticism has to be made of Mike Ashley? Not only is he happy to turn a once-great football club into little more than an advertising hoarding for two companies, one of these is now having to pay out £2.6 million in compensation for fraud. Yet, again to no great surprise, Ashley has been silent on this matter. Somebody somehow should be questioning him, even if the local press are still banned from St James’ Park.

As for the other company it was of course revealed last summer that Sports Direct employ 90% of their workforce on zero hours contracts. There has been at least some good news on this front as the exclusivity clauses, which meant that those employed on zero hours contracts must sit and wait for a phone-call and not be allowed to work for anyone else, are to be outlawed. Hopefully employers like Ashley, not to mention the charming folk at Buckingham Palace who have used exclusivity clauses, will take note. At least a tiny part of today’s terrible bias towards unscrupulous employers has been overturned.

I remember the dark days of 1981, before Keegan came to the rescue and the similarly dark days a decade later, before Saint Kevin rode to the rescue again, but am I the only one who thinks that the situation at Newcastle United is in some respects at its lowest ever ebb? Can anyone remember such apathy, even from many of those who renewed their season tickets, many I suspect for no other reason than they would miss match-day as a social occasion?

Perhaps most pertinently, how much longer do we have to endure the good name of our club being dragged through the mud, by the highly unethical corporate greed of the likes of Ashley and Wonga?  That we live in a very unfair society, where very wealthy, very powerful and often deeply immoral people are far too often able to get away with their appalling behaviour should not be an excuse. There needs to be huge change both at our football club and in the society, whose lack of decent morals it sadly reflects at present.

© Peter Sagar June 2014      


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4 Responses to true faith : POLITICAL FOOTBALL (Wronga … Again)

  1. David Rutherford says:

    Lowest ebb ever? Well last season was the first time in my life I’ve ever wanted Newcastle to lose so I’d say it’s a resounding ‘yes’.

  2. wallsendstu says:

    I attended during the Westwood and Mckeag era and remember crowds dropping to alarmingly low numbers yet I never thought of turning my back on the club. I then enjoyed the Sir John Hall era with Keegan in charge as it went from one extreme to the other. I had to give up my season ticket a number of years ago due to health and a period of unemployment. Thanks to Sky I have been able to watch a number of NUFC games so never thought I was missing out. Gradually over the seven years of Ashley’s tenure and the last couple with Pardew serving up constant lies and terrible football my interest has got to the point where I never bothered getting the bt channels where as previously I had Santander and ESPN so I didn’t miss a match and I doubt I will bother watching too many games on Sky next season as the current owner and manager have drained my interest. So with regards to your question my answer has to be “yes”.

  3. Chris Moore says:

    I was actually saying to my pal on Saturday that this is the first time in my life I’ve dreaded the start of a season, to the point of actually not wanting the league programme to kick-off at all. Lowest ebb indeed.

  4. nick says:

    absolutely spot on .
    my feelings exactly, 37 years since i first stood in the leazes end.