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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 12:48 GMT
A word from our sponsors
By Jonathan Rawcliffe

Scunthorpe  player and sponsor
Scunthorpe - driven by success

These days, cash-strapped football clubs will try anything to bring in some money.

Can't afford to splash your company's logo on your favourite team's shirts? Don't worry, you can always become an 'Official Matchday Sponsor'.

Or an 'Associate Matchday Sponsor'. Or Matchball Sponsor. Or pay to have the half-time entertainment staged 'in association' with your business.

In a world where Arsenal have sold the name of their new stadium to an airline, Total Network Solutions sit proudly on top of the Welsh Premier League, and Manchester United endorse a well-known razor manufacturer as their 'Official Male Grooming Partner', what other areas could possibly be left for the money men to exploit?

The answer, it seems, is footballers' backsides.

Thanks to a recent change in the regulations governing kit sponsorship, teams can now have a company name emblazoned on the back of players' shorts.

Oranges

Hard-up Leeds United have recently taken advantage of the new rules, following local rivals Scunthorpe - a club apparently chosen by their off-road short sponsors because: "Like the Jeep brand, Scunthorpe combines ruggedness with style..."

But why stop there? It's only a matter of time before you walk into a ground to be confronted by the words: "Gap, putting the style into turnstile".

The programme seller will be wearing his own kit, complete with company logo and even the half-time oranges will be "brought to you by..."

And you could get in on the act too. How about sponsoring throw-ins? Every time the ball goes out of play, the scoreboard flashes up your logo. Expect it to be displayed almost permanently in a lower division match.

Jose Mourinho with gum
By gum, that's a good idea

Then there's red and yellow cards - delight as players are booked or dismissed and the crowd gets to see your name - who says sending-offs are a bad thing?

An Early Leaver sponsor would be a neat way of bringing in funds while simultaneously shaming all those who insist on going home 15 minutes before the final whistle to "beat the traffic".

As soon as they make a move from their seats, an announcement would be made over the tannoy saying: "Jimmy Bloggs is leaving early, courtesy of our friends at wecanseeyousneakingout.com."

And finally, what about a chewing gum sponsor? If you're lucky enough to get your name on the stuff masticated by Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho, you'd be certain to make a mint.



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