It started as a single Twitter message sent out a couple of days ago by the great football blogger @mirkobolesan. It read:
"Napoli = Mars, Hellas Verona = Canon, Arsenal = JVC, Everton = NEC, Liverpool = Crown Paints, Man United = Sharp. #propersponsors"
|David Johnson in|
It’s almost 34 years since Liverpool became the first team to sport a company name on its shirts. It was Japanese hi-fi and TV manufacturers Hitachi that had the honour of starting a trend which would ultimately spread its commercial influence right the way down to 'grass roots' level.
|Left: Alan Smith of Arsenal;|
Right: Bryan Robson of Man United.
|Alan Shearer during his|
Blackburn Rovers days.
Sometimes, however, you don’t even need a successful era to be forever linked with a particular club. As @mirkobolesan pointed out in his first selection above, Napoli will always be tied with the confectionary company Mars – primarily because the shirt sponsorship deal coincided with the arrival of Diego Maradona in 1984. One could make a similar case for the Italian pasta company Buitoni who shared the sponsorship until 1991, and herein lies an ongoing dilemma.
|Diego Maradona showing two|
sponsors for Napoli.
The more you think of the classic shirt sponsors each team has had, the more your head spins. What makes Hafnia more iconic as an Everton supporter than NEC? If you're from the red half of Merseyside, is Hitachi the ultimate in corporate partners, or would you go for Crown Paints or Candy or Carlsberg?
The importance of a company logo on a team shirt has become more important and more intrinsic to the very spirit of the game than anyone could ever have imagined prior to 1978. Which shirt sponsors would you give honorary status to and for which clubs? Leave us a comment using the link below and give us your thoughts…