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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Shirt Sponsorship

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Branson dons the shirt

The iconic appeal of a top club's shirt was evident when Sir Richard Branson donned one in Newcastle yesterday for the launch of the rebranding of Northern Rock as Virgin Money.  For it quickly became apparent that Branson, who said that he now supports Newcastle United, has limited knowledge of football.   He referred to the club's 'three love' win against Manchester United and his ball control skills in a photo stunt appeared clumsy, leading bystanders to express the hope that he handled the business better than the ball.

Marketing Barcelona

The former vice-president and general manager of Barcelona, Ferran Soriano, has written a book entitled Goal the title of which is clearly designed to appeal to football fans, but the sub-title reveals its real intended market Management Ideas from the World of Football.    Moreover, the book is published by Palgrave-Macmillan, the publishing house I primarily use, but we took The Transformation of European Football to Manchester University Press who are building up a list in the area.

United show their marketing savvy

The significance of Manchester United's £10m a year training kit deal with DHL is undelined by the fact that it represents half the value of the club's sponsorship contract with insurance company Aon.  The DHL deal is worth more to United than the shirt sponsorship deal the club signed a decade ago with Vodafone.


The four year deal is a pioneering form of sponsorship for an English football club.  It is borrowed from the US where players wear sponsor-branded training apparel to maximise commercial opportunities for their teams.

United get training kit deal

Manchester United are to become the first club to have a sponsor just for their training kit.  This week they will announce a £4m a season agreement wuth logistics company DHL.   This means that in effect the space on Wayne Rooney's training bib is more valauable than that on the first team shirts of twelve top flight rivals.

The Arsenal stadium mystery, Part 2

For a Premiership neutral, many of the big questions about the forthcoming season relate to Arsenal.  It could be a make or break season for them and Arsene Wenger.   I like the kind of football that Wenger provides, but at that level of football, it is also important to win trophies.   Should Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League next month it will leave a gap of around £25m in their finances.

Evo-Stik moves south

After two years as the Zamaretto League, the Southern League has recruited Evo-Stik as its new sponsors.  They already sponsor the Northern Premier League where their deal is reportedly worth £150,000 a year.  The Southern League will receive an estimated £100,000, a great improvement on the £35,000 a year provided by Zamaretto.

Liverpool urged to sign Asian players

Liverpool FC have been urged to sign Asian players by their sponsors Standard Chartered.   Their sponsorship chief Gavin Laws commented. 'One appearance from a player, say from Dubai in the Premier League, and you'd have the whole of Dubai watching it.'

Although Standard Chartered is based in London, much of its income comes from the Asian market.  Laws felt that the exposure would be commercially beneficial to his company.

The organised supporter

The latest in the three part Financial Times series on 'football in crisis' focuses on the supporter, but in particular on 'the organised supporter'.   What is an organised supporter?   No definition is offered, but presumably it means someone whose involvement goes beyond attending games and then moaning on message boards and football phone ins about the manager or their favourite scapegoat player.

Barca fans split over shirt move

Barcelona is more than a football club: literally it is because it is involved in other sports as is often the case in continental Europe.  But more than that is a symbol of Catalan nationalism and is linked to memories of the Republican side in the Spanish civil war. 


 It is also held up as an example of how fans can own and run a club.  Unfortunately, this seems to have led to massive and almost unmanageable debts which is why Barca has had to compromise its principles and accept a lucrative shirt sponsorship deal from the Qatar Foundation.

Qatar swoops for Barca shirts

Having secured the World Cup for 2022, the rulers of Qatar have made their latest move in world football by securing the sponsorship of Barcelona shirts.    It is actually the Qatar Foundation that is the sponsor, but this is chaired by the wife of the Emir of Qatar who was highly visible when it was announced that Fifa was allocating the 2022 World Cup to the Emirate.  The Sh