Feel-good story of the day has to be Aston Villa’s decision to pass up the big bucks in favour of supporting a Birmingham-based charity.

The football club’s shirt sponsors for next season will be Acorns, which operates children’s hospices in the Midlands and has struggled in recent years to secure sufficient funding to maintain all its services.

The partnership deal with Aston Villa aims to raise awareness and funds for the charity across the UK and internationally thanks to global interest in the Premier League.

Money has swamped the beautiful game in the last 10 or 20 years, largely with a negative effect.

I can’t see Aston Villa’s decision kick-starting a new trend, but it is a refreshing break from the norm.

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4 responses »

  1. le craic says:

    Brilliant initiative which hopefully will spread to other teams.

  2. […] read a piece on Paul’s website earlier about Aston Villa forgoing their usual big sponsorship deal next season. Villa shirts next […]

  3. mbjesq says:

    I agree that this is a great story, but disagree about the larger trend. I think (and hope) this kind of social awareness and corporate responsibility sweeps reflects the broader movement away from greed and toward well-considered philanthropy. Barcelona has already shown the merit of this approach, doing well by doing good.

    My take, along with a photo of what the new kit might look like can be found at http://memestreamblog.wordpress.com/2008/06/03/from-villians-to-heroes/

  4. Paul Groves says:

    mbjesg: I hope you are right and Barcelona’s Unicef link was excellent.

    But it still feel it is a trickle at the moment and the pursuit of money – the rising cost of tickets, season tickets, replica shirts – plus the chase for corporate cash, is still as great as ever. Wiitness the swathes of empty seats around the half-way line at Wembley after half-time as all the coporate ticket holders are still in their hospitality suites.

    I won’t even bother getting started on players’ salaries and endorsements. I know clubs do a lot of community work, but it is peanuts compared to the money that is sloshing around the game.

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