Oh No!

Manchester City lose their sponsor (and their shirts) in collapse of Accident Group, writes Heather Tomlinson
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Manchester City Football Club are having to hunt for a new main sponsor now that their £4m deal with First Advice is on the brink of collapse.

The financial advisory firm is part of The Accident Group, the personal injury insurer that went into admin- istration late last month. Most First Advice employees have been made redundant and only a skeleton staff remains, leaving around £2m owed to Man City for the next two seasons.

Alistair Mackintosh, Man City's chief executive, said that the club was waiting to see whether a bid would emerge for First Advice, and had talked with interested parties. However, five "very interesting" new sponsorship offers had been received, some from the UK and some from the Far East.

Some of next season's shirts have already been printed with First Advice logos, and Man City may fail to print new shirts in time for the peak season for sales. "All the fans want the latest shirt, so they could potentially miss out on around £250,000 of revenue," said Nigel Currie, director of GEM, a marketing and sponsorship group.

Man City will have to battle with their neighbours Blackburn Rovers, who are themselves searching for a sponsor for next season.

The sponsorship blow to the Manchester club comes despite a good season, which saw them win a revenue-earning place in the Uefa Cup. They are also moving to a new stadium, vacated after the Commonwealth Games.

A spokesperson for PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Accident Group's administrators, told The Independent on Sunday: "The sponsorship [deal] will depend on a buyer for First Active, we're keenly aware of that."

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