World of Chig   

Proud to be a Villan

At last, a good news football story, going against the grain of high pay and corporate greed which permeates Premier League football these days, and I'm very happy to say it concerns my club. Aston Villa announced today that they are ditching their shirt sponsors and the enormous advertising revenue which they could be receiving, in favour of promoting the Acorns children's hospice charity on next season's shirts. It's apparently the first time a British club has promoted a charity instead of being paid money by an advertiser, but Barcelona have done it too. The Acorns is a wonderful charity that most of us here in Birmingham know about already, but now their logo will be seen on Villa's shirts by fans around the country and TV viewers around the world. Superb.

It's all the better because I have made a somewhat forlorn, principled stand for the last two years and refused to buy the Villa shirt, even though I have the previous five or six versions, with various different sponsors on them. The shirt sponsorship by an online poker company was a step too far for me. I have no moral objection to gambling - indeed I have the occasional bet myself - but the thought of gambling being promoted on the shirts, in a game followed by children, I found quite sickening. Making shirts in children's sizes, advertising a poker company on the front, just seemed very wrong to me. Well done then to Villa for going in the other direction and actually promoting something which benefits children instead.

You see, there are advantages to having your club bought by a multi-millionaire who doesn't need the advertising revenue. I shall be buying the new shirt at the first opportunity. Hurrah!

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