Premier League sponsors in 2010/11 dominated by money, tech and gambling sectors
OK, fair enough, no need to shout and make that face. I know that a cursory examination of the Premier League's shirt sponsors for the new season is no dependable panoramic view of the state of the macro economy. But, given that self-elected experts didn't see the very big wave coming, it might be better than nothing. After all, nothing seemed more portentous a guide to the state of banking a couple of years ago than watching Newcastle United wearing Northern Rock's logo (at a time when branches saw snaking queues of worried customers) play West Ham United wearing a covered-up logo (because travel firm XL had gone belly up leaving the Irons' equally hapless Icelandic backers in an even more precarious position).
What's immediately apparent is that banking and financial services companies are still spending big on marketing, especially with the northern and midlands clubs: Villa, Birmingham, Blackpool, Stoke, the Toon, Liverpool and Manchester United all have a financial hook-up of some flavour this year, as well as one southern team, Fulham.
Tech is also very prominent if you'll include dotcoms and sponsors intersecting above to cover Villa, Blackpool, Bolton, Chelsea, Fulham, S*****land, Spurs, West Ham, Wigan and Wolves. That's half the division, and Autonomy's backing at the Lane even sees a welcome return to the top for business software.
Two firms, FxPro and 188 Bet are hedging their bets with double sponsorships and a quarter of the world's richest league's clubs are online gambling concerns (more than a third if you include FxPro, a web-based service for amateur financial traders).
All of which makes traditional businesses such as airlines(Arsenal, Man City), brewers (Everton), paintmakers (Blackburn) and home maintenance firms (West Brom) seem quite quaint.
Those sponsors in full:
Arsenal: They may have flown from the Highbury Library but will The Professor finally be caught spending money from Fly Emirates?
Aston Villa: Doom and gloom seems to prevail but that might be just the way their lugubrious fans talk. With big players on the way out at least the Holte End can play with their own money on the FXPro Financial Services website.
Birmingham City: Brummies are playing it safe with a modest investment policy and the support of F&C Investments.
Blackburn Rovers: Watching Big Sam's boys hoofing it is about as interesting as watching Crown Paints dry.
Blackpool: The Tangerines and their cheeky chappie boss Olly have an appropriately unpretentious sponsor in money management website Wonga.com.
Bolton Wanderers: The club hosting the worst away day in football is punting on 188 Bet.
Chelsea: The new money is coming from all points of the United Nations so it's fair enough that Korean giant Samsung are involved again.
Everton: Always puzzlingly short of a big cash injection, Moyesiside supporters can console themselves with a refreshing drop of Chang Beer.
Fulham: Known for slebs, the river, hedge fund runners, fine dining and discarded Â£50 notes, the Cottagers are under new management and have a fitting new sponsor in FxPro Financial Services.
Liverpool: The coffers have been empty and speculation about ownership swirls but sponsor Standard Chartered adds a patina of steadiness.
Manchester City: The backing is from airline Etihad: handy for flying in another 200 players.
Manchester United: Recently demonstrating fiscal probity, the Reds will hope Aon is less of a risk than former sponsor AIG.
Newcastle United: Still providing the rest of the league with laughs aplenty, Northern Rock offers a brand to match chairman Mike Ashley-supplied new kit's trim of jester hat, bells and large, pointy boots.
Stoke City: Safe, steady and very, very dull, the Potters are backed by building society Britannia.
Mackems: Often a knocking bet to go down, the Stadium of Light is taking a punt on website Tombola Bingo.
Tottenham Hostpur: With analysis of its content showing a Premier League that is wide open, could Autonomy's endorsement be a shrewd move?
West Bromwich Albion: Noted for fans' hilarity and general boing-boinginess, the Baggies have a sponsor that is useful in an emergency with sensible sponsor in Homeserve.
West Ham United: Chirpy cockneys love a flutter so Sbobet.com represents a good fit. They're big in Asia so it will be interesting to see if the Hammers import players from over there.
Wigan Athletic: Many are staking them for relegation and the club foolishly located between several domestic giants lacks big crowds but is at least supported by 188 Bet.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Sporting Bet provides the betting money that cheerful Mick must spend wisely. Odds on Roy Keane assisting him are longish.