Major announcement - Major disappointment

In July 2010 it was reported Quantum would not be continuing in their role as major sponsor of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.

To some surprise shortly after the announcement, the club reached out for assistance in the search for a much needed replacement.

The club asked fans to use their networking skills and contacts to try and conjure up some interest in the role, they even offered a healthy commission to anybody who could lead them down (or at least provide directions to) the yellow brick road to a new major sponsor.

Rolling forward to November 2010 and it was announced that co owner of Manly, Max Delmege, would be selling off his 36% share of the club and Quantum were to be the purchasers and new owners to work alongside the Penn faction.

The news was welcomed by Manly fans as it appeared as though the tiresome board room bickering would be left behind and Manly would be able to move forward, full steam ahead, with securing a new major sponsor for the 2011 season and beyond being the top priority.

Die hard Manly fans eagerly awaited the news through the summer, Santa Claus made his annual pilgrimage to the local shopping centre, we watched the Australian cricket team fail in another Ashes campaign and the kids (finally) went back to school.

Surely now we would hear something? What was the company Manly supporters could promote on the freshly pressed jerseys for the next few years?

This off season has been a positive one for Manly fans. Brett Stewart has returned to the paddock, club memberships are on the rise and two recent trials have delivered promising results and whetted the appetite for another tilt at the Telstra Premiership.

And then yesterday, less than two weeks from the much anticipated regular season kick off, the announcement was revealed.

Co owners Penn Health and Quantum would be carrying the major sponsor responsibilities themselves, taking their place prominently plastered across the home and away jerseys respectively and the search for a future major sponsor would continue.

What a letdown.

The announcement was far from satisfying for any Manly fan who takes an interest in their club beyond what happens on the field, and was not the cherry on top they were looking for to cap off a long summer.

In seven months, a successful professional Rugby League organisation, a club which has not missed a final series since 2004 and who were the NRL Premiers and World Club Champions two seasons ago, could not find a suitable major sponsor - that's confounding to most.

Whether it was through a lack of tenders, financial commitment of those who offered or being unable to find the right amalgamation of club and sponsor, it's disappointing that Manly could not execute what they set out to do seven months ago.

Manly fans can only hope their club's efforts will eventually reap the rewards they're looking for, moreover some early season wins relegate this entire chapter to the back of the minds of the majority, until the next off season that is.


You can follow Ben on Twitter @Benjamin_Pope