THE unique sponsorship deal between the two Sheffield clubs might make good business sense - but it will leave a sour taste in the mouth of some supporters.
Peter Shaw, a director of Sheffield Wednesday supporters group Wednesdayite, expects there to be a “mixed reaction” to the decision to join forces with United.
The arrangement will see the Steel City rivals sponsored by Westfield Health, one of the UK’s leading not-for-profit health insurance providers, and the Gilder Group, one of the oldest motoring dealerships in the country.
It means there will be identical logos on both clubs’ shirts next season.
Both United and Wednesday are expected to pocket a significant six-figure sum from the deal.
Nonetheless, Shaw acknowledges the deal will anger some fans.
“I would expect a mixed reaction,” he told The Star.
“Some will see it as a commercial opportunity, others will have doubts and some will just be against it because they don’t want to share anything with United.
“It has never been done before so there is bound to be uncertainty.”
He added: “I think it is an unusual step but we have to trust Andy Daykin’s (Wednesday’s commercial director) judgement.
“Personally, I don’t see the problem with it. It is being pragmatic and sensible.
“There will be some who are resistant to sharing any joint venture with the other club but most people will see this as a sensible arrangement.”
There are fears the sponsorship deal could lead to a merger, but Matthew Bell, editor of Sheffield United fanzine Flashing Blade, has rejected those claims.
“It is a load of nonsense and people are reading too much into it,” he said.
“It is a storm in a tea-cup. People who think that because we have got the same shirt sponsor we are going to merge together are talking rubbish.
“I don’t understand where some fans are getting this idea from.
“It is just a name on the club’s shirt.”
Shaw added: “As far as I am concerned, people are putting two and two together and making five.
“I don’t think there is an appetite for that (merger).”