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B&Q pull out of deal with Football League over title sponsorship

EXCLUSIVE: Football League's attempt to hammer out a deal with B&Q break down

By
Charles Sale

PUBLISHED:

16:25 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:34 GMT, 23 April 2013

The Football League have suffered a huge setback after potential new title sponsors B&Q suddenly pulled out of negotiations.

The DIY chain had been expected to sign a three-year contract worth 21m to replace nPower as the backers of all three Football League divisions from the start of next season.

But talks broke down on Monday with the Football League unaware why B&Q, who had previously shown huge enthusiasm for the sponsorship, had changed their mind at the last minute.

No go: B&Q have pulled out of a deal to become the Football League's title sponsors

No go: B&Q have pulled out of a deal to become the Football League's title sponsors

Turning off the lights: NPower's sponsorship of the Football League will come to an end this summer

Turning off the lights: NPower's sponsorship of the Football League will come to an end this summer

Fresh deal: Domino's Pizza are in the mix

Fresh deal: Domino's Pizza are in the mix

The disappointment at the breakdown of the deal is compounded by B&Q, who have stores near numerous Football League clubs, being regarded as such a good fit for a sponsorship that has proved difficult to fill.

But their exit leaves the Football League commercial department having to go back to the companies who had shown interest before attention was turned to finalising the B&Q deal.

One of those companies is restaurant chain Domino's Pizza, who have released a football app and a football sitcom on their Facebook page.

Domino's marketing director Simon Wallis said: 'Football and Pizza are a match made in heaven.'

Mersey Beat: The month when belief was restored at Goodison Park

Mersey Beat: The month when belief was restored at Goodison Park

They envisaged a month of inactivity, a window that would have seen them peering in helplessly while their rivals got caught up in the frenzy.

Fortunately for Evertonians, the realities of January proved startlingly different. Nobody would have been prepared to suggest on New Year’s Day that Everton would enjoy the most successful transfer window of the 20 Barclays Premier League clubs but events in between ensured that was very much the case.

Thanks to some wheeling and dealing, persistence and creativity, the squad with which David Moyes will go to war for the remainder of the campaign is far removed from the one he took to West Bromwich Albion for the first game of 2012.

Window shopping: David Moyes was successful in the transfer market

Window shopping: David Moyes was successful in the transfer market

True, it could have been different. Had the balls not fallen into place, Moyes would have found his ambitions to improve Everton’s playing staff compromised and the ramifications would have been negative, such as the squad becoming dispirited and supporters becoming disenchanted.

Football is a game of fine margins, on and off the field, but this time everything has gone in Everton’s favour, which is why it was no surprise to see Moyes more ebullient than at any stage in the past year following the victory over Manchester City.

It all started in mid-December, when it was announced that Landon Donovan would be returning to Everton on a two-month loan. That was the first piece of good news Evertonians had been given in a while and the day he walked into the club’s Finch Farm training base lifted the atmosphere.

Domino effect: Donovan was Moyes' first signing of the window

Domino effect: Donovan was Moyes' first signing of the window

Then came the signing of Darron Gibson.
He might not be an ‘A’ list name but, again, it was encouraging step,
more so for the squad. They respond to seeing new faces arriving and
Gibson was well-received, while scoring the winner over City has
endeared him to the Gwladys Street.

What really accelerated things for Everton was the sale of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to Spartak Moscow. Moyes, finally, had money to spend and that enabled him to pursue the 5milllion purchase of Nikica Jelavic.

Everton’s manager has known of Jelavic since his days at Rapid Vienna and he strikes as exactly the type of player who will flourish under Moyes. Goals may not be as easy to come by in England as they were in Scotland for the Croatian but he will give Everton’s attack a focal point.

Coup: Moyes used the funds from the sale of Bilyaletdinov to sign Jelavic

Coup: Moyes used the funds from the sale of Bilyaletdinov to sign Jelavic

More from Dominic King…

Mersey Beat: Bellamy does not fit the 'new' Liverpool mould… but his impact is not in doubt
27/01/12

Mersey Beat: Time for home comforts as Dalglish enters month of milestones
20/01/12

Mersey Beat: Moyes and Clattenburg to renew acquaintances… it will be anything but cordial
13/01/12

Mersey Beat: King Kenny's been true to his word but hard work must continue
06/01/12

Mersey Beat: Ever-pool of Liver-ton It's Merseyside's team of the year
30/12/11

Mersey Beat: Liverpool must front up and be ruthless without Suarez
23/12/11

Mersey Beat: Downing needs to raise the bar, rather than keep hitting it
09/12/11

Mersey Beat: Everton to pay fitting tribute to Goodison Park legend Speed
02/12/11

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

he final pieces of business, however, were arguably the most significant.

Offloading Louis Saha to Tottenham made sense on all levels; he, perhaps, had gone stale, was in the final six months of his lucrative contract and had endured a series of fitness issues. He was not Everton’s future.

But what really iced the cake was bringing Steven Pienaar back from Tottenham to Goodison. When news filtered through to the players before the City game that there was a strong of possibility of the dealing going through, the lift it provided was immeasurable.

All that encouragement, then, contributed to Everton regaining their fight. The performance against City was a throwback to a couple of years ago when the club were moving forward at pace, a powerful, committed effort that knocked their exalted visitors out of their elegant stride.

To see Moyes – who had considered deals for Bayern Munich’s Daniel Pranjic and Fulham’s Andy Johnson on deadline day – punching the air with his face contorted in glee at the final whistle was perhaps the most significant sight of the season for Evertonians.

It has been impossible to escape the feeling of negativity that has pervaded Everton for much of the past six months, as supporters groups have put pressure on chairman Bill Kenwright, attendances have dwindled and results have ebbed and flowed.

Clearly, consistency is now required but it felt like the Everton of old returned on Tuesday night. January was always going to be significant for Moyes and Company but those 31 days could not have been much more encouraging. How they go on from here will make compelling viewing.

Can Tottenham take over as kings of the capital?

London eyes a new order: Can Spurs take over as kings of the capital

Andy Townsend was Chelsea captain, Martin Keown played almost 500 games for Arsenal and Jamie Redknapp was Spurs skipper long before his dad arrived and turned them into title contenders. The power is shifting in London. Lee Clayton listened as Sportsmail’s experts discussed how it has happened…

Jamie Redknapp Andy Townsend Martin Keown

Andy Townsend: Jamie, your dad has done an amazing job. Spurs are terrific to watch, they play with such attacking power and are having a right go. You can’t write them off as contenders, although they will have to beat Manchester City and Manchester United to take the next step.

Jamie Redknapp: He’s having the time of his life. He has young, hungry players. He loves going to work – and I told him I thought it might all be different this year.

Townsend: What do you mean

Redknapp: I just thought it would be a difficult season. Don’t forget the Luka Modric mess in the summer, when he wanted to go. The chairman, Daniel Levy, did a fantastic job by keeping him. Had Modric gone, it could have been like a domino effect. Modric away to Chelsea, then Gareth Bale might have wanted away, too. I said to Dad: ‘I fear this is going to be a real hard test.’ Instead, Modric stayed, then Dad bought Scott Parker and he has been a revelation. Not just on the pitch, but off the pitch. He manages in the dressing room, sets the example and leads on the training pitch. And you can tell Modric likes playing with him, they trust each other.

Martin Keown: While Spurs kept two players, Arsenal lost two. That has made a significant difference to the teams. Bale is not an international globetrotter, which helps. He seems happy to play for Harry, when he could be in the Barcelona team now. One day he will be. Arsenal and Chelsea will be very happy when that day arrives. Bale plays like he has two engines. An incredible sight.

Redknapp: He’s a smashing kid, too, a gentle lad. Conducts himself well, no arrogance. But he’s explosive on the pitch.

A new order Gareth Bale (right) and Emmanuel Adebayor celebrate during Spurs

A new order Gareth Bale (right) and Emmanuel Adebayor celebrate during Spurs” 2-0 win over Norwich

Who has finished London”s No 1 most

Arsenal 10

Chelsea 7

QPR 1

Tottenham 1

Keown: With Bale, as much as it pains me to say it, they will finish No 1 in London. Parker has been significant, too, but I still don’t think Spurs will go higher than this current position.

Redknapp: I agree! As it stands, they are favourites to finish third; the Manchester clubs have the edge. But Spurs have 38 points from their last 15 games, which is two points more than City and United have managed.

Townsend: But City beat them 5-1 and United won 3-0. That’s what I mean, they have to reverse those results if they want to push on. It’s City for the title for me, with United second.

Redknapp: I can’t argue with that. They also have to go to Chelsea and Arsenal, so there is work to be done. My top-six prediction is City, United, Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Townsend: So that’s Chelsea outside the top four, for you. Roman will be thrilled if that happens! I think they will sneak in behind the current top three, which will mean Arsenal missing out. I don’t see them sustaining this form if Robin van Persie is injured. They look an ordinary team. I will go for City, United, Spurs. It gets a bit foggier after that, but then it’s Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool for me.

Keown: There is an instability about Chelsea. They keep sacking managers. At least at Arsenal, you know who is in charge. Who is making the decisions at Chelsea: the young manager, the owner, or their powerful group of players

Redknapp: If Arsene Wenger makes the Champions League with this team, it might be his best achievement yet. They don’t have the quality of years gone by – of the team who had Dixon, Adams, Bould, Winterburn and that other fella, what was his name

The Invincibles: Arsenal

The Invincibles: Arsenal”s undefeated team of 2004 with the Premier League trophy

Townsend: Keown – that’s harsh, by the way.

Redknapp: Oh yeah, I forgot. Then there were the Vieira/Henry/Pires years. Pires scored plenty, so did Ljungberg. They had attacking menace. And they weren’t bad at the back.

Townsend: They were the guv’nors when I was playing in London, although Spurs had one good season under David Pleat. And West Ham had a good season some time (1986) when I was at Southampton. Did they finish second

Lee Clayton: Third. Let’s talk more about that. Alvin Martin scored against Southampton that season in a 1-0 win. You played, Andy.

Townsend: Let’s not. Move on.

Redknapp: I never played against the West Ham ‘Incredibles’ (yawn) – Arsenal’s Invincibles were the best team I played against and possibly the best team of the Premier League era. Now they have important decisions ahead. What will they do with Robin van Persie’s contract expiring at the end of next season It is a nightmare for them. They lost Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. When I was playing, you might be offered a little bit more money and so, if you moved, you chose the club you wanted ahead of the money. Now City can offer 100,000 a week more. It’s life-changing. Arsenal are all about tradition, but City are all about the future. Who were top dogs when you were in London, Martin

Keown: It wasn’t Tottenham! Chelsea spent a lot of money trying to get past us. I remember one game they were leading 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, but then Kanu scored a hat-trick. It was like that. Every time they accelerated, we responded.

Three and easy: Chelsea celebrate their third title back in 2010

Three and easy: Chelsea celebrate their third title back in 2010

KINGS OF THE CAPITAL

QPR were the highest London team in the first Premier League season, finishing fifth.

Tottenham have only finished higher than all the other London clubs in that time once – in the 1994-95 season.

Chelsea have been the top London club for the past seven seasons.

West Ham have finished higher in the table than Tottenham six times in the Premier League era.

The last time no London club finished in the top four was in 1995-96. Arsenal were the best finishers that season, coming fifth.

Ten London clubs have played in the Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Fulham, West Ham, Charlton, Watford, Crystal Palace, Wimbledon and QPR.

Ninety-five points is the highest total of a London club in the Premier League – Chelsea in 2004-05. Watford hold the record for the fewest with 24 in 1999-2000.

Chelsea’s Frank Lampard has made the most London derby appearances (123) since the Premier League started in 1992-93. Sol Campbell (103) is second. Thierry Henry has scored the most goals, netting 43 times.

Townsend: Wenger was slow to react this time. He allowed Fabregas and Nasri to drift along, then he had to sell and it disrupted the start of the season. He wasn’t decisive with the goalkeeping issue, or his centre backs. They look stronger now, but they rely on one man – Van Persie – too much.

Keown: He’s not a bad player to rely on, with 16 league goals this season. His future is a problem, though. This Arsenal team without him would fall a long way short, although I like a lot of what the club are doing. I was at the ground on Tuesday and the ‘Arsenalisation’ of the stadium is good; all the statues, the respecting of history, the tributes to former players. They are working hard at getting it right, although they need to win something soon.

Townsend: They might have a bit of a wait on their hands.

Keown: They are moving in the right direction. I know they drew 1-1 against Wolves but their tempo was very good in the second half; there was an urgency. It’s a start.

Townsend: The difference between Spurs and Chelsea is that I’m not sure Andre Villas-Boas knows how he wants to play. With Spurs, they get it wide, they get it forward; there is speed and tempo and width. Chelsea don’t have that. I do worry about the Spurs left back, though. He is an accident waiting to happen in a big game.

Redknapp: I disagree. He’s having a good season and, like Kyle Walker on the other side, Benoit Assou-Ekotto is defending better. Apart from that mistake against Chelsea, he’s as good as anyone this season.

Townsend: We’ll see when David Silva runs at him.

Earning their Spurs: Tottenham look like finishing as the top London club

Earning their Spurs: Tottenham look like finishing as the top London club

Keown: There aren’t many weaknesses, though. The signing of Emmanuel Adebayor on loan was another we shouldn’t forget. He leads the line well and is working hard. Spurs have a threat from him, Bale, Van der Vaart – where is the Chelsea threat Daniel Sturridge has made a huge impact but Fernando Torres remains a problem. Is Villas-Boas looking at him and thinking: ‘I am going to work hard to get the best out of him’ Or is he thinking: ‘He’s not my signing’ Torres needs early balls into the channels to turn and run on to, like Steven Gerrard used to play to him at Liverpool. Selling Nicolas Anelka, who is a terrific player, to China is not clever. And I’m not impressed with the treatment of Alex, either. You need those players. They have won medals and have experience. That’s what I mean about Chelsea being unsettled. It’s why I think Arsenal can finish ahead of them.

Townsend: Spurs are the No 1 in London now, definitely; the manager has them playing to their strengths. He’s a top manager.

Keown: Harry has a good team of coaches around him, too – Joe Jordan, Kevin Bond, Clive Allen, Les Ferdinand, Tim Sherwood. And I guess his son might know one or two things about the game. How often are you in your dad’s ear, Jamie

Redknapp: We speak regularly but Dad relies heavily on the people around him. It’s a strong group. They work well together.

Keown: Will he take them with him to the England job, then Does he need a defensive coach, too

Redknapp: No comment! I don’t know. He’s happy at Spurs. Very happy. But there is still a lot to do. Arsenal won’t go quietly. They lost Fabregas, who has scored eight league goals for Barcelona this season, and haven’t recreated that midfield threat. It’s not easy. They won’t roll over and allow Spurs to finish above them that easily.

Keown: I hope that’s true.

Townsend: But this is Tottenham’s best opportunity. This is their moment. If they are going to shift the power in London, Spurs have to do it now. The Manchester clubs will be laughing at all this, by the way, a local squabble for third while they fight for the big trophy.