Phil Cronin, Tombola and Sunderland: some words from the sponsor

Still needing consolation after Sunday’s latest low point in the peaks-and-troughs existence common to all followers of SAFC, we turn to a man who has combined lifelong passion for the club and obvious business flair to come up with a way of giving a deeper dimension to supporting Sunderland …

The name on the shirts our players wear tells you why people in the media, and especially in the North East, want to interview Phil Cronin.

He’s as Sunderland daft as anyone who reads this site, and once drove this splendidly decked out Mini to show his allegiance (to the extent of choosing high-risk parking spot at Newcastle Central Station).

Phil is also chief executive of Tombola, SAFC’s kit sponsors (and that’s the last time in this article you’ll see the t/T capped up; Phil sticks to the firm’s preference for lower case).

Inconveniently for the media, he is not one for interviews. All the more reason for Salut! Sunderland to be grateful that he has made this one exception.

Phil tells us about his company’s important links with the city and club, links that include providing employment for 150 people and should comfortably overcome the high-minded objections we heard last year to Sunderland’s announcement of the sponsorship deal.

He talks about the best and worst he’s known as a Sunderland supporter (yes, he was at Eastlands), offers upbeats thoughts on the club’s progress under Ellis Short, Niall Quinn and Steve Bruce and fills us in on that Mini …

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Soapbox: suffering sponsors


What’s this, a new split in the Salut! Sunderland camp? The ink’s hardly dry on Colin Randall’s piece about Sunderland’s Tombola sponsorship, essentially saying it doesn’t matter too much what appears on our shirts (assuming we cannot just return to the good old days of red and white stripes, badge and each player’s number). Now Pete Sixsmith offers his dissenting view …

Unlike Colin, I do think shirt sponsors are quite important. They often give you a flavour of what a club is about. Until the Boylesports deal, all of our sponsors had been Wearside companies – Cowies, Vaux, Vardy’s and I was unaware that Tombola were a Sunderland based company until I read about them on the club site.

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