Why Lotus were ready to step in after Norwich City's BK8 mess

Stuart Webber, Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones and Matt Windle at the official opening of the Lotus

Stuart Webber, Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones and Matt Windle at the official opening of the Lotus Training Centre in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2021

Lotus were close to becoming Norwich City's front of shirt sponsor before the BK8 fiasco in the summer, their managing director Matt Windle has revealed. 

The Hethel-based company stepped in after the club ripped up the sponsorship deal with Asian-facing betting outfit BK8 over the company’s use of sexualized images of young women.

Lotus had entered talks to be the main sponsor but failed to submit their application in time. That work allowed them to provide a solution when the phone rang. 

Windle has admitted the company was overjoyed it was provided with an opportunity for Lotus Cars to return on the front of the Canaries' shirts and has reinforced their commitment to working with the club on a long-term basis. 

"We were actually quite close to doing the deal with them beforehand. I ran out of time to get everything together," Windle said. 

"There was a lot of controversy around what happened but we were able to step in really quickly because we'd done a lot of the work already. We were really happy because it's what we wanted to achieve.

"We're committed to a long-term partnership with Norwich no matter what happens. We look forward to growing that partnership in the years to come."

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Lotus' name also appears next to their revamped training centre, with includes the SoccerBot350 - a technology that allows City to do match analysis and training on a revolutionary piece of kit that is the first of its kind in this country.

The brand new SoccerBot 360 facility at the Lotus Training Centre in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Bood

The brand new SoccerBot 360 facility at the Lotus Training Centre in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2021

Windle believes the two Norfolk institutions align closely when it comes to approach and core beliefs. 

"What's nice about Norwich is that their ownership model is good. They like to stay within their means and don't like to overcommit but they are still doing so much more than other places. 

"It's the ambition and the strategy. It doesn't matter whether they go and down a little bit, those two things always stay the same. Can we learn from Stuart Webber? Of course, he's infectious with what he wants to achieve. Even down to talking about the quality of the grass on the new pitches.

"For us, we're a performance brand and a team in the Premier League are a performance brand. So it fits nicely with how we see Lotus fitting in with sport."

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