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Soccer deal will test MG Rover workers' loyalty

MG Rover has signed a two-year deal to sponsor Aston Villa in a move that is sure to dismay Birmingham City supporting employees and customers. The company says the deal is a “marriage between the Midlands' premier car manufacturer and premier football club” which will raise the profile of the MG and Rover brands through TV and press coverage.

“We are seen as one of the major players in the automotive industry,” says Terry Hunt, MG Rover Group UK retail sales director. This deal enables us to market the brand at national and international level.”

A spokesman for Birmingham City said a lot of its fans worked at the Longbridge plant and some might be surprised by the company's move to back the team's bitter cross-town rivals. But MG Rover is confident the decision will have little impact on the company's standing in its Midlands' heartland.

“We have a professional workforce and they will continue to do their jobs,” says a spokesman. “We find they don't work any less if Birmingham loses on a Saturday.”

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