ON the face of it, the death of Andre Cassagnes and the announcement that Redcar Bears have a new team sponsor are unconnected – but I beg to differ.
Our Andre went to the great Hamleys in the sky last week having reached the grand old age of 86 safe in the knowledge that in an age when a PC was the local beat bobby, a mobile was a thing they made out of coat-hangers on Blue Peter at Christmas and a tablet was something you took when you had a headache, he was at the cutting edge of hi-tech playthings for adolescents.
Andre, you see, was the inventor of the Etch A Sketch.
For those under the age of 35, this was a wonderful device, loved by schoolkids all over the world, which allowed the user to twiddle a pair of knobs that controlled a stylus to create pictures on a magic grey screen.
And the best bit of all was that if you messed it up, you could just wipe it off and start again.
And that’s pretty much what the Bears have done by announcing what amounts to the most important sponsorship deal in their history.
Boss Brian Havelock was – as ever – blunt and straight to the point. Crowds had dipped below the break-even figure and if a sponsor wasn’t found then, well, the 2013 season would be a bit pants.
So the announcement that Ecco Finishing Supplies of Middlesbrough have come on board is as if the Bears have taken hold a giant Etch A Sketch, erased the gloomy picture of begging bowls, empty coffers and acts of austerity with one of satisfied smiles, an exciting team full of potential and vibrant, enthusiastic crowds on racenights.
It’s a great boost for the club to have a company of this calibre on board – let’s hope there’s no need to twiddle those knobs and redraw the picture that emerges during the 2013 season.