Newcastle United and SAFC putting rivalry aside for business project

The winning campaign came from Year 7 pupils of St Wilfrids RC College in South Shields
The winning campaign came from Year 7 pupils of St Wilfrids RC College in South Shields

A ground-breaking project has resulted in budding entrepreneurs promoting unity between the Black Cats and the Magpies.

More than 100 young people from north and south of the River Tyne were involved in the Football and Business in Partnership Enterprise delivered by the Foundation of Light, Sunderland AFC’s registered charity, and the Newcastle United Foundation.

The unique initiative, supported by Port of Tyne, developed business, social and personal skills and helped the students gain a certificate in Business and Enterprise.

Part of the six-week long programme was to create an advertising campaign to promote a strong message to keep rivalry friendly between the fans of both Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC.

Four schools took part and came up with strong advertising campaigns to promote greater harmony between both football clubs’ supporters.

The winning campaign came from Year 7 pupils of St Wilfrid’s RC College in South Shields and was designed by Alexi, Ben, Codi and Kyle.

They showed how football can bring people together without hostility. They demonstrated this with really strong images of the tributes paid to the Newcastle fans who died in the Malaysian air disaster, compared to ugly derby match scenes when fans had lost control. Their slogan ‘North East United’ is featured on the striking design, which includes the iconic Angel of the North symbol and a ‘good luck’ message to all North East teams this season.

Susan Wear, director of corporate affairs for the Port of Tyne, said: “We are very proud of the effort and thought that all of the school teams put into this project.

“It was very difficult to choose a winner from the finalists, but the pupils at St Wilfrid’s really understood the emotion that football evokes and linked it to the impact this has on the image of the North East. They came up with a positive message that hopefully will begin to inspire better understanding between the fans of two football teams in two great cities.”

The programme used Newcastle United Football Club, Sunderland AFC and Port of Tyne as business models.

Chris Towers, education officer at Foundation of Light, said: “Port of Tyne’s hands-on approach and commitment to making the pupils’ concepts into reality has really brought this project to life.

“All of the youngsters taking part produced really creative and thought provoking work which demonstrated their pride for not just Newcastle and Sunderland but for the whole of the North East.”

Kate Bradley, head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: "All of the young people worked incredibly hard throughout this project and it's fantastic that through the support of Port of Tyne the winning group are seeing their campaign live across Newcastle and Sunderland. The Football and Business in Partnership Enterprise is a really innovative project that really captured the minds of the pupils we worked with.”