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2019 Day 2 - Commercial Break

We continue with our yuletide round-up of Magpie-related strangeness by checking out a few of the occasions when advertising has caused raised eyebrows - which is the whole point I suppose...

October 1998 and broadcaster Channel 5 chose to promote their live coverage of the second leg of United's tie away to Partizan Belgrade with a mocked-up image of Magpies midfielder David Batty clad in a home shirt, stockings and suspenders - a humorous reference to Manager Ruud Gullit's promise of "sexy football". 

Batty's agent wasn't impressed, but Channel 5 retorted that player and club had given their prior consent. 2-1 up from the first leg, United exited the competition thanks to a 0-1 loss in Serbia - that goal coming from the penalty spot after Batty fouled an opponent. And laddered his tights.


Staying in Europe but returning to our UEFA Cup campaign of 1996/97, Newcastle's games against French League opposition caused something of a wardrobe issue for the club. 

While the home games against both Metz and Monaco saw the usual Adidas home shirt with a Brown Ale logo worn, French TV restrictions on the display of alcohol shirt advertising meant that an alternative was required.

For the visit to Metz that November, United wore a logo-less shirt (left) but by the time they travelled to Monaco the following March, sponsors Scottish & Newcastle Breweries were represented on the shirt by branding for their CenterParcs leisure break chain. 

A 0-4 aggregate loss ended our interest in the cup and by the time we returned to France when paired with Troyes in the 2001/02 Intertoto Cup, our NTL shirt sponsors were acceptable to the broadcasters.

Staying in the 1990s and Newcastle managers were starting to get in on the act. Following 1995's Adidas campaign featuring Kevin Keegan and some of the players, BT hired Kenny Dalglish and daughter Kelly for a TV commercial (his wife Marina wanted nowt to do with it and press-ganged Kelly into appearing).

The premise was that Kenny's bargain call package was so generous that he could afford to call the 35,000 occupants of St.James' Park to personally thank them for their support. Sadly though the advert premiered in October 1997, hours after Newcastle had been clobbered 1-4 away at Leeds, Dalglish & co. leaving the field with the boos of the away support ringing in their ears. They failed to win any of their next five games.

The advert can be viewed online here

We'll leave you with a picture taken at Newcastle's 1974 FA Cup Final hotel, Selsdon Park near Croydon.

Back in the days when players sought to boost their earnings around major games by organising their own commercial activities, the Magpies were no different and enlisted the services of London-based journalist cum agent, Reg Hayter to boost the player's pool coffers.

That resulted in the players endorsing Walls sausages; with similar deals involving Wilkinson Sword razor blades and even milk struck. Maybe they should have plugged ice lollies, as they were easily licked... 

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Page last updated 02 December, 2019