Dom Gall: What a load of Tunnocks! Scottish football’s maddest sponsors

You think Carabao and Checkatrade are sh*t sponsors?


Sponsorship has become big business in football these days. Look at the Premier League, where teams get multi-million pound deals for teamwear, shirt sponsorship, stadium naming rights, tweets and whatever else they fancy from global brands.

Thankfully in Scotland, as with anything else we do, we appear to just think sod it and have a laugh. The launch of the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup earlier this week was just the latest in a string of hilarious deals. Here’s some of my favourites for your reading pleasure:

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It’s old but it’s gold. 18 months ago, Partick Thistle’s Conor Sammon was asked to pose with AN ACTUAL PIZZA after his team’s game to help promote 25% off for season ticket holders.

It doesn’t even say if it was a Man of the Match award or if he got to keep it, but I’m guessing not as he doesn’t look pleased. His face says ‘why the f*ck am I holding a pizza when we’re about to get relegated’. Sadly that was the case for Partick Thistle and you worry that such lucrative sponsorships may be above them now.

LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND – SEPTEMBER 30: General view inside the stadium prior to the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Livingston and Rangers at Almondvale Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Livingston, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Livingston Football Club, I think, have absolutely nailed it these last few years. Not only did they achieve back-to-back promotions followed by Premiership survival, but they did it all with Tony Macaroni by their side.

The Italian food chain signed a deal to be shirt sponsor of the then League One club in 2015 and I bet they never dreamed of what it would become. In September that year they secured stadium naming rights too.

Yes, that’s right, Livingston play their home games at the Tony Macaroni Arena. Made all the better by Scottish patter, it’s now more commonly known as the Spaghettihad. Poetry in motion.

PERTH, SCOTLAND – MARCH 24: Gary Warren of Inverness Caledonian Thistle lifts the trophy during the IRN-BRU Scottish Challenge Cup Final between Dumbarton FC v Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC at McDiarmid Park on March 24, 2018 in Perth, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Right, I started this article to discuss the Challenge Cup, so let’s get to it. It’s a shite competition – it really is – but boy did the SPFL excel with the sponsorship.

For the last few years it’s been called the Irn Bru Cup, with Mans of Matches and top goalscorers receiving limited-edition bottles of Scotland’s liquid gold. What more could you want after banging in a hattrick than an 80p bottle of juice? Exactly.

This year however, they’ve gone one better. Revealed live as the draw took place, the new name is the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup. Not even just the Tunnock’s Challenge Cup, we’re focussing on the wafer. It must be good though, as the Tunnocks representative couldn’t help but have a go on one upon conclusion of the draw.

There was outrage rippling through Scottish football as the humble Tunnock’s Teacake was denied its moment of glory. I feel this demonstrates the creative marketing genius of the SPFL and Tunnocks however as they fight to raise their wafer to the top of the Scottish go-to snack rankings.

As I write this, I have one eye on the future. Just when you think Scottish football has peaked, along comes the next deal that’s better than you could have ever imagined. We really are spoiled and it’s set to continue.

Looking to 2019/20, Lowland League side BSC Glasgow are offering player sponsorship raffle tickets for a fiver. Five pounds. If you win a slot, you can put whatever you want. This is going to be brilliant and I can hardly contain my excitement.

I’m sure there’s plenty of other mad sponsors that can top these – I’ve not even peeked into the world of non-league to see what’s going on down there. Seen a mad one? Let me know.

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What do you think?