With the news of Bolton's two-year, £500,000 sponsor contract with QuickQuid having officially been announced, it's no surprise that the majority of fans, both those supporting Bolton and other clubs, are anything but pleased.
I can understand the outrage and I'll get into it in a second, but the way I see it, despite the large, orange logo that will be displayed on our shirt, I'm not supporting QuickQuid. A logo on a shirt does not change the team from the Bolton Wanderers to the QuickQuid Wanderers. There won't be a front office official coming to knock on our doors and ensure we've taken out a loan or anything, banning us from the Reebok if we haven't.
This is still our team. And no one's forcing you to buy this shirt if you disapprove so much. Wear your old one, buy a vintage one online, design your own if that's what you please, but don't don't don't give up supporting a team because the shareholders, not Gartside as everyone thinks, have made a decision to better the team while also bettering their pockets.
After reading the fans' comments on the decision, I've noticed a growing worry about what representing QuickQuid as some sort of "role model" will say to the youth that support Bolton. I can understand no one wants to be related to a company like that in anyway, and especially not have their children wear the logo, but you know, call me crazy: I don't think anyone is going to look up to the company and not the players.
But most importantly (and I literally can't stress this enough) it's a Bolton shirt, not a QuickQuid shirt. How is wearing QuickQuid unethical when Reebok and Adidas are some of the biggest names in sports? Someone wants to try and tell me a "loan shark" is bad and disgraceful, but underpaid sweatshops in third world countries where people work a whole day for a dollar or so is okay? We won't support QuickQuid by buying shirts, but we name our stadium Reebok Stadium? It just seems all sorts of backwards to me.
At the end of the day, does the sponsor on the shirt matter, or is it the player wearing the shirt that matters? QuickQuid won't be the reason we get promoted, it won't be the reason we win the Championship, it won't be the reason we continue to do be better. That will all happen because of who Bolton Wanderers are as a team.
I can understand the issues that people ethically have with a company like QuickQuid, but how many of you owned a shirt with 1888Bet on it? Isn't a betting company that thrives off a person's addictions and then sends them to the loan company for more money (and more business) just as bad as the loan company itself?
Like it or not, this sport is a commercial market now, one that we as a team have to make some sacrifices to afford staying in. We don't know who else was in the running for being our sponsor, but how many companies would give that kind of money to a team without so much as a TV deal? Any local business would have pleased the masses, but a local business probably wouldn't do us that much good. With a debt of about £100 million we need something that will help get us out of this hole (and preferably fast) so that then we can go on and support any small business of our choice and maintain our name as a family club.
To me, the biggest pity isn't going to be the hideous shirts. It's the fact that we as fans aren't being listened to. Teams like Blackburn only get some 9,000 fans a game, where as Bolton still gets 17,000-20,000 a week, even when we lose. They might boo, they might leave early, but they still show up.
So it's easy to see exactly WHY fans are upset. This is their club and as of late, choices have been made to make it less fan-oriented. You would think with all the anger that existed with the mere idea of a QuickQuid sponsorship, the head officials would have taken a different path. This badge, and this club, is important to the fans, and I know it's important to me-and I can tell people will do everything in their power to fix this, be it petitions or just plain refusing to buy the shirtss.
But if I’m honest, it’s refreshing to see Bolton fans moaning with and not at each other. This is our club, our home, and the only way that it could get better is if we work together to make a change. Don’t buy this year’s kit if that’s what you feel like doing (if the reaction is anything to go by, sales are expected to drop drastically), but don’t let one company take the joy of supporting this club from you either.
What do you think? Has the club thrown it's morals out the window or is it merely trying to survive in a sport that's turned into a market?
Update: As of 2 hours ago (7:18 BST) according to their Facebook page, The Purple Property Shop have decided to end their business with the Wanderers, citing the decision to accept sponsorship from QuickQuid as the reason because of the business's belief that "a football club should support its community and promoting extortionate lending is at odds with this philosophy."
Update 2: A protest against the decision is due to be held at Town Hall Square in Bolton at 17:00 BST on Thursday.