Virgin steps into Northern Rock boots to sponsor Newcastle

London: Virgin Money said it had struck a two-year deal to sponsor Premier League football team Newcastle United, just days after buying the banking business of current sponsor Northern Rock.

The Virgin logo will be used on team shirts for the remainder of the current 2011/12 season, under the previous sponsorship deal with Northern Rock. Virgin`s new deal will be for the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. It was likely to be worth a similar amount to the last deal, estimated at about 3 million pounds a season.

Newcastle-based lender Northern Rock nearly collapsed in 2007 after suffering the first run on a UK bank for a century and was nationalised the following year.

It was split in two, and Virgin Money -- the banking arm of billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson`s Virgin Group -- bought the "good bank" part of the business in a deal worth up to 1 billion pounds.

The deal was completed on Sunday and gives Virgin Money 4 million customers, 2,100 staff and 75 former Northern Rock branches, with a 14 billion pound mortgage book.

Northern Rock has long had close ties to its local north-east England community and had sponsored Newcastle United since 2003.

Bureau Report