English football club Farnborough has announced that its first-team players have agreed to change their names via deed poll to those of football legends such as Pele and Diego Maradona as part of a sponsorship deal with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power.
The deal will run for one year and is worth at least £100,000 (€117,000/$155,000).
The club plays in the sixth-tier Conference South division, which has online payment processor Skrill as its title sponsor, and has been able to exit administration following the agreement.
Farnborough’s new line-up will feature names such as Gordon Banks, Roberto Carlos, Alan Hansen, Bobby Moore, Franz Beckenbauer, George Best, Paul Gascoigne, David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi, Gary Lineker and Johann Cruyff.
Paddy Power has also become kit sponsors and changed the name of the club’s Cherrywood Road stadium to Paddy Power Park.
A spokesperson for Paddy Power said, “We couldn’t be happier to support Farnborough FC. Not only does it secure the future of this great club but we hope that each player is spurred onto greatness by their new name.”
The BBC reported that another non-league club turned down a similar deal with Paddy Power due to a fear of undermining their credibility.
Farnborough Manager Spencer Day, who has changed his name to Jose Mourinho, added, “The economic times we are in are very difficult. Our job is to win football matches and entertain the crowd.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the club having come out of administration and the pros outweigh the cons 1000-1. We are going to use everything we can to get this club sustainable.”