Footballing romantics and followers of the world’s finest heptathlete will doubtless disagree but, being neither charming nor athletic, I completely understand why Sheffield United seem determined to sell the naming rights to every piece of brick and mortar at their stadium.
In the modern game, money talks and nostalgia walks. Particularly since the introduction of that important but often ignored piece of legislation called SCMP. (Or Salary Cost Management Protocol for the more financially-minded and bureaucratic among you).
Admittedly, it’s a shame that the words ‘Jessica’ and ‘Ennis-Hill’ will no longer adorn the Bramall Lane stand. Nothing against Redbrik, the local estate agent whose moniker is set to replace hers across the top of the structure, of course. But those claiming the decision can be traced back to the Olympic champion’s comments about Ched Evans’ proposed return are misguided.
Every single penny counts. Not least because the more United’s commercial department can rake-in, the more new manager Nigel Adkins has to spend on wages.
More than ever before, there is a direct correlation between the two.
Nevertheless, having initially bestowed the 29-year-old with this honour, it would only be polite to recognise her achievements at the London games in some other fashion.
Followers of Newcastle will be the first to sample the delights of the Redbrik Stand when Steve McClaren’s side visit South Yorkshire for Chris Morgan’s testimonial on Sunday 26 July. Which is fitting given the hullabaloo surrounding Sports Direct’s marketing creep at St James’ Park. A lesson in how to annoy supporters and historians in one fell swoop.
The thought process behind renaming entire stadiums intrigues me. Well, established ones to be precise.
I always remember a conversation with a friend a few years ago during which he recalled how his other half had been involved in discussions surrounding a change of title at a top-flight arena. The club in question had approached their sponsors about striking a deal only to be told: “Why would we pay to do that? It’s already got a name and that’s what people will always use.”
There are, however, times when finance should take a back seat. Not least when it comes to celebrating former greats.
I know Tony Currie, voted the finest player ever to wear a United jersey, has a lounge named in his honour at Bramall Lane. But it would be fitting if, say, both he and the late Alan Woodward for example were afforded the same billing as a sponsor. That’s not a dig at United or any of the companies associated with them by the way. Simply a thought. There are plenty of worthy candidates to choose from.
The ‘TC Redbrik Stand’ or ‘Woody’s Westfield Health Corner’ both have a nice ring to them I think.