Waitrose left with FA Cup dilemma.

Arsenal fans stock up for the big game.

Arsenal fans stock up for the big game.

Having sponsored the Royals since 2008, Waitrose have built a strong relationship with the club, offering supporter discounts and catering for the first team. On face value, the chance to have their brand on display at a showpiece cup final, should prove a delectable prospect for any business. However, it turns out that the issue is more complex than that.

As a well known, go to shopping destination for the Emirates faithful, today’s FA Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Reading has left the premium supermarché chain with a sense of divided loyalty.

After a recent Sky Sports poll, which saw responses numbering into the millions, revealed that Arsenal fans would support a boycott of their beloved grocers in the event that their team were to lose, senior members of the John Lewis partnership are said to be in meltdown.

Speaking to Really Like Football, an unnamed source said “FA Cup weekends are generally a great money-spinner for supermarkets. By money-spinner, I mean, loving consumer engagement opportunity.

After extensive studies of purchasing habits on such occasions, we ensure that our stores are stocked with all the match day essentials to cater for your typical Gunner, lad.

Popular items include imported craft lagers, British orchard ciders, freshly sliced hams and cured meats, Mediterranean breads, as well as our extensive range of gourmet pâtés, relishes, chutneys and oils.

Were this boycott to go ahead, we’d be literally swimming in artisan coffee beans for years.”

With their sponsorship option up for renewal at the end of the season, and with the chairman of the Arsenal supporter’s trust on record stating that “Marks and Sparks represents a fine alternative”, the time may be right for Waitrose to cut their losses.

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