A thank you to Sunderland

With today’s announcement of financial trading and sports betting firm Spreadex as Sunderland AFC’s new Principal Partner, it brings down a curtain on Great Annual Savings Group’s two-year stint on the front of the famous red and white shirt.

GAS will remain a long-term partner of the club and the Group’s colleagues will remain ever-present at matches, having made many valued connections and friendships as Principal Partner.

The business would like to place on record its thanks to everyone at Sunderland AFC, the supporters and the City of Sunderland.

During the sponsorship, GAS has consistently engaged with supporters of the club and businesses in the city, including running competitions for prizes and hospitality for supporters.

During 2020, GAS pledged £1 for every new Twitter follower gained over a weekend in August and donated £5,000 to Sunderland and County Durham Foodbank as a result.

The initiative was backed by supporter group Red and White Army and the club itself.

Craig Shields, Operations Director at GAS, said: “It is a bittersweet feeling for us, as we celebrated promotion in May, knowing we would not be Principal Partner next season in the Championship.

“Ultimately, the Lads have enjoyed a successful couple of years backed by GAS, lifting the Papa John’s Trophy and then finally earning promotion with the GAS logo on their chests.

“That was a great feeling for the many Sunderland supporters who work for us and was the cherry on top of an enjoyable two years.

“Working with the retail and marketing teams at the club was also a great experience and we were flexible in the usage of our logo to ensure the shirts looked good for supporters.  We really believe they were four of the best kits we’ve had for years.

“Thank you to the people who make the wheels turn at the club behind the scenes.  They are a passionate bunch, many of whom have been there for decades and their passion shows in their work.

“The partnership has been a useful exercise in building our brand awareness in the region and beyond and has become tool in acquisition of customers and recruitment of colleagues.

“We would like to wish Alex Neil and the players good luck for the season and also to Spreadex.  We hope you enjoy the experience and buy into the people of Sunderland as much as we have.”

Sunderland striker Ross Stewart

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.