New shirt sponsor announced

Charlton announced their new shirt sponsors for 2016/17 last week - Betdaq (a sports betting exchange).

The club has a long tradition of sponsors with local links and existing relationships with supporters: Fads; Kent Reliance Building Society; Andrews Air Conditioning; University of Greenwich. The shirt has also provided publicity for lesser known names in the IT world like Mesh and Viglen and property developer Llanera.

The move to an online betting company would seem to suggest that it has become increasingly difficult for the club to attract sponsors from what we might call the more "wholesome" end of the market. We are aware of some reluctance among local companies to be associated with a club that is in conflict with many of its supporters and previous sponsors Data Techniques recently agreed to sponsor (via a charitable donation) an alternative replica kit currently being marketed. We note that Blackpool FC's sponsorship last season by local hoteliers Village has been discontinued after Village discovered that association with the club was - to say the least - not going to give it any advantage.

The Betdaq sponsorship may well be a sound financial deal for the club which will play its part in supporting a promotion challenge this year but it is also undoubtedly another sign of disassociation from the local community. If the club is not for sale and Duchatelet wants to repair the damage he has so far inflicted we can only hope that, through success on the field and improved public relations off it, the Charlton Athletic brand can gradually regain the status it once enjoyed and thereby become more attractive to potential sponsors.