By Goodison News speaking to Kevin Campbell

20th Jun, 2022 | 7:10pm

Sky Sports pundit raves about controversial Everton sponsorship deal with stake.com

We’re delighted to welcome former Everton striker Kevin Campbell as our exclusive columnist. Each week the former Toffees captain will be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Goodison Park…

Everton have done a “phenomenal job” in securing a new “club-record” sponsorship deal with stake.com according to former captain Kevin Campbell.

The club announced on 9 June that, after ending their arrangement with previous sponsor Cazoo early, they had reached a new deal with the betting company, which should help fill the significant hole left by the absence of the USM support after the club scrambled to cut ties with Alisher Usmanov when Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Toffees badly need financial relief but the new partnership led to criticism, with gambling campaigner James Grimes of The Big Step telling BBC Sport it was “massively tone deaf”, and the government are set to update laws around the industry’s sponsorship of football this month, but Sky Sports pundit Campbell doesn’t see why the deal is being focused on ahead of others.

Speaking exclusively to Goodison News he said: “Listen, *laughs* the ethical questions will always come up because there’s always people for and against. 

“That fact of the matter is Everton have struggled [over the] last season, and to get a shirt sponsor that’s willing to put that sort of bread in, best outside the top six, is a phenomenal job.

“The fact is it’s a betting company and casino or betting platform etc., this is the way it’s going. 

“You watch, this is the way it’s going. 

“Again, you can call [up] about ethical [concerns] and all this kind of thing but we could look into everything and get ethical about it. 

“There’d be certain fors and againsts. 

“I just think the club has to do the business that is best for them.

“Some fans are going to like it and unfortunately some fans aren’t going to like it. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.

“If we’re honest it’s hand in hand, football and gambling, so it’s just one of those things. 

“I think why shouldn’t gambling platforms be able to sponsor?

“I understand about the ethics but as I’ve said there’s many other companies who if you really looked into the ethics it could be questioned.”

It’s a sign of the dire straights that the club has found itself in with it’s finances that they were unable to refuse the highest offer on the table.

The Athletic reported that a government ban was “unlikely” but at a time when the tide is beginning to turn against the fact that gambling is plastered all over football, and the dangers of addiction are getting more publicity it isn’t a strong look for the club.

That is especially true when Denise Barrett-Baxendale had said around the time the Toffees ended their previous deal with Sport Pesa, via The Athletic: “In an ideal world, moving forward, we would look to have a different type of sponsor on the front of our shirts”.

The club has to climb out of its current mess somehow but there will be plenty of people who would have preferred they weren’t doing it this way.