SUTTON UNITED have partnered with The Sun for their FA Cup fifth round tie against Arsenal on Monday night – sparking negative reaction from supporters on social media.
The U’s, who have beaten Cheltenham Town, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United on their fantastic Cup run, will welcome the Gunners to Gander Green Lane for their televised clash.
The National League outfit will receive an FA live broadcast fee of £247,500 but the U’s have explored other avenues to bring in extra revenue.
An announcement on Sutton’s website confirmed that SunBets – The Sun’s recently opened betting website – will feature on the front of the club’s shirts.
Green Go Waste, United’s regular shirt sponsor, have agreed to let SunBets take their place for the big Cup clash which the club have called a “one-off opportunity” which will help Sutton to “undertake significant additional ground improvement works”.
U’s boss Paul Doswell said: “Malcolm and James at Green Go Waste have shown an unbelievable level of generosity to the club in allowing this to happen and they actually spoke to me in the bar straight after the Leeds game.
“This money will help so much to keep improving this great club and we’re very excited to be working with SunBets. They arranged for Ian Wright to take a fun training session today with the players, and then arranged for the players, Malcolm and James to have a full tour of Wembley.
“I would also like to thank Andrew Doswell and Stuart Munro at Drew Smith who have agreed as part of the SunBets sponsorship, to allow the two ends of the ground to be rebranded.
“Without these fantastic gestures it wouldn’t have been possible, and it’s humbling to see how much they want to help our club.”
One Twitter user reacted to the announcement, saying: “Poor decision….whatever the financial reward.”
Another added: “This is a real misstep after a cup run which has already reaped massive rewards, beyond disappointed.”
It’s not the first time The Sun have sponsored a Non-League club in the FA Cup. The tabloid’s logo appeared on the front of Crawley Town’s shirt in 2011 as they were narrowly beaten 1-0 at Manchester United’s Old Trafford.