Bolton Wanderers' decision to be sponsored by payday loan company QuickQuid is nothing short of controversial. The fans, sponsors, MPs, and just about everyone else seemed to be against it on moral grounds. For most, the reasoning was that £500,000 for two years wasn't worth selling the club's soul. A petition with thousands of signatures and smaller-scale protests have now forced the club to perform a U-turn.
Bolton Wanderers have issued an official statement on the subject, confirming the news:
The club is proud of its place in the local community and has worked tirelessly for a considerable time to build relationships across a wide spectrum of community projects. In particular the successful education programmes, which have seen over 350 students pass through the club in the last two years, and the continued exceptional work of the club's Community Trust.
Whilst we anticipated some negative responses from the initial agreement, we underestimated the adverse reaction to the sector of business in which the sponsor operated. We undertook significant research into QuickQuid and were satisfied that they were a regulated and responsible lender.
Also quoted in the statement is Leader of Bolton Council, Cliff Morris.
"I am pleased with Bolton Wanderers Football Club's decision to reconsider their recent sponsorship proposal."
"We have been in discussion with the club since last week's announcement to raise our concerns and those of the community. Their response clearly shows the value the club places on the support of their fans and the wider Bolton family."
Phil Gartside added:
"We have worked for years to build trust and participation with the community through our Community Trust, education programmes, and other initiatives that are currently underway in partnership with local and national government.
"We don't want our commercial relationships to come between us and our community, and neither does QuickQuid."
Further reaction came from Julie Hilling, Member of Parliament for Bolton West and one of the driving forces for change in the club's decision, who told Lion of Vienna Suite:
"It is fantastic news that Bolton Wanderers have found a different sponsor. I'm very proud of Bolton fans for their opposition to having a pay-day lender sponsoring our Club and very proud of Bolton Wanderers Football Club for listening to their fans and the wider community. Sponsorship by FibrLec is in keeping with the great history of the club and the industrial heritage of Bolton and I'm sure it will be a very successful partnership. I'm absolutely delighted".