An American billionaire has boosted the finances of amateur football club Bedlington Terriers in an unlikely sponsorship agreement.
Robert Rich, the 488th richest main in the world, became interested in the Northumberland side, who play in the ninth tier of the English football pyramid, when his wife bought him the title ‘Lord of Bedlington’ after the 69 year old traced his family roots back to the town.
The deal will see Rich sponsor the shirts of the STL Northern League Division One side as well as installing a £30,000 electronic scoreboard at the club's home ground.
Super wealthy Rich, who owns three baseball teams in his native US, is keen to keep investment in line with the club’s potential and told local paper The Journal: "I haven't made any promises. Having said that, I would love to see them do well and let them challenge me to increase our participation."
Club secretary David Callop said: "The backing has relieved us of the immediate worries of scraping by. Even at our level, clubs can take some running. For a night match when we might only have 60 or so paying punters, we have to pay £50 for the floodlights and £200 for the officials."
Revealing his ambitions for the future of the club Callop added "In my dream of dreams I would like to see Bedlington step on to the pitch as a League Two side.”