We’ve stuck the boot into the subject of Saudi sportswashing ahead of the new football season kicking off.
Following a summer that’s seen more takeover bids than the entire series of Succession, we’re jumping feet first into the fray, tackling one of the most divisive subjects to hit the sport, any many others – and mercilessly lampooned it.
Our new TV ad, which features a skilful assist from former Liverpool striker and England International Peter Crouch, homes in on the influx of state-backed billionaires pumping ‘oily money’ into the beautiful game.
And while we were at it, we completed a deep dive to find out how fans really feel about subject of having the wheels of their clubs greased by dollar bills.
It turns out the majority wouldn’t feel so bad about a state-backed takeover bid…once it’s their club on the receiving end of the oil money pump!
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In fact, research we commissioned reveals that while 64% might moan about a state-backed takeover, ultimately, 84% would change their tune if a Saudi sugar daddy romanced their club.
“Football has put the oil in loyal of late, with fans changing their tune faster than Jordan Henderson when a Saudi-backed billionaire rolls up in their gold-plated sports car to bankroll their morally bankrupt dreams. We couldn’t resist a sheik-y dig at the utter absurdity of it all. And don’t even get me started on Jay-Z!”,” our own aspiring oligarch Paddy Power said.
We felt it only right to poke fun at the enormous range of geo-political dilemmas being tackled by footie fans of late, with the likes of Man Utd being courted by a Qatari royal and more footballers flooding the Saudi Pro League than British holidaymakers to Butlins this summer.
To capture the state of play, our new TV advert focuses on the reaction of supporters from the fictitious Hardlypool FC as a riled-up fan rants about the latest state-backed takeover bid reported (by Crouchy) on TV in their local pub.
“They can keep their oily money. Our club’s got something money can’t buy. History. Legacy. Community!”
But his impassioned speech is suddenly interrupted when a fellow fan bursts through the doors to announce: “We’ve been bought by an oil baron! We’re rich!!!”
Without missing a beat, the disgusted fan’s frown is turned upside down as he suddenly bursts into a heavily revised version of Ginger Rogers’, ‘We’re in the Money’.
Leading a troop of fellow ‘Pigeons’ fans in song and dance, they emerge from the ‘Golden Goose’ Pub as the celebrations spill onto the street.
The group go into full-scale footie chant mode as they make their way towards their newly minted club grounds, singing “gone are my ethics and gone are my fears, we’ve been mid-table for too many years”, in unison they chant “Loadsa money, oily money, transfer money, we’ve got a loaded oil sheikh to bring us on”.
The advert, loaded with visual gags, punctures the idea of fans making ‘a song and dance’ about their morals and flip flop on the drop of a dime…or billion dollar bill as the case may be.
But there’s a sting in the tail when an attempt is made by the ringleader of Hardlypool FC to buy a season ticket for his club and he’s flatly informed there will be a 12 year waiting list. A pleasure real fans also have to endure.
The advert will air for the first time on August 10th and football fans familiar with us here at PP Towers can expect plenty more Sheikh-y activity as the Premier League season gets underway, but you can watch it right here cos you read to the end. Well done.
Newcastle fans. Look away now.
A sheikh-y little number to get the season started.
🔞18+ BeGambleAware pic.twitter.com/hXjwNtwV4o
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) August 10, 2023
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