Commenting on the news that pay day loan company, Wonga, is to sponsor one of the UK's best supported clubs, Newcastle United, Karen Reay regional secretary of Unite, the biggest union in the north east, said: "This is the day when Newcastle's owners sold this city's great footballing name for 30 pieces of tainted silver.
"Pay day lenders are preying on the poor and desperate in the north east, which has some of the highest levels of debt and borrowing in the country. Newcastle United is now being used by Wonga to normalise legal loan sharking.
"Newcastle fans, who could be borrowing up to £325 per month just to get by, let alone get along to a game, will feel sickened that the club they love will now be associated with the extortionate rates of credit that make their lives a misery.
"Mr Ashley and the Newcastle board must think again and kick Wonga into touch. Fans and the city will not be fobbed off by the renaming of the stadium. It will always be St James' Park in our hearts. Our city's proud footballing and community culture will be tarnished by this deal - it cannot go through."
Unite has been tracking how working people have been hit by the government's punishing cuts programme. The survey - which reaches some 300,000 people - reveals more and more working people are being stuck in the cycle of borrowing, repaying and then borrowing again from pay day lenders, such as Wonga to pay for essentials like food and fuel.
For more information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Alex Flynn, Unite head of media and campaigns, on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665 869.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The union’s general secretary is Len McCluskey.