Everton yesterday announced that Danish sportswear manufacturer hummel would be taking over from Umbro as the official kit provider for the club. The new three-year contract will bring to an end a tumultuous period where Umbro’s designs were somewhat well-accepted by the fans, but was also beset by delivery issues and cold, hard cash. The Toffees make the switch from one iconic football brand to another, the latter being endorsed by no less than Alan Ball, a member of Everton’s Holy Trinity and one of the proponents of the ‘School of Science’.
Shirt sponsor Sportpesa is also on their way out after the Blues made the decision to end the agreement with the controversial gambling firm. Despite signing a five-year contract with the conglomerate of Kenyan, Bulgarian and American investors, Everton are walking away after three seasons that have been filled with media faux pas and controversy around the betting industry.
When questioned by supporters during the January Annual General Meeting, club CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale admitted that the club would prefer to sign up with a different sponsor in the future. After the decision to part ways was reached ‘by mutual agreement’, Everton at the time said -
“This has been a difficult decision but one that allows us to best deliver on our commercial plan and to grasp the new opportunities now open to us.
”The club would like to thank SportPesa for all of the work that has been done together. Our partnership has seen our first team visit Africa on two occasions, as well as former players and club staff take part in numerous activations in the region.
”This has allowed us to grow our own footprint in Africa and further strengthen our special relationship with the continent.”
Now it appears Everton will have a hattrick of new logos on next season’s shirt with the news that talks over renewal of the shirt sleeve sponsorhip deal with Rovio Entertainment have ended [Echo]. The Angry Birds logo has drawn equal amounts of amusement and derision from the fans over the three years since shirt sleeve sponsorship was permitted by the Premier League.
Some names have already been floated by the rumour mill regarding both the shirt and sleeve sponsor. Uzbek-born Russian steel and tech tycoon Alisher Usmanov remains on the periphery of the club despite voicing interest in investing in the club where his friend and business partner Farad Moshiri is the majority shareowner. USM, Usmanov’s holding company, already has a number of other agreements with the Toffees, including sponsoring their Finch Farm training ground and stadium branding on matchdays, and now also have naming rights for Everton’s new stadium to be built on Bramley-Moore dock. MegaFon is the third largest telecom operator in Russia and is another of the firms within Usmanov’s extensive portfolio.
As recently as last month the Blues have also been linked with SwissX as a potential shirt sponsor. Billionaire financier Alki David is the man behind the company that is one of the world’s leading producers of cannabidiol (CBD) products. In an interview he claimed an interestingly contrarian reason for why he wanted to sponsor Everton’s stadium -
“When I first came to England, everybody was supporting Manchester United and Liverpool, and everybody was red. Being contrary, I liked blue and I liked the logo so randomly I selected Everton to support. So it’s sort of a mystical come around.”
There has been more recent and unsubstantiated rumour that another legendary company would make a surprise return to the shirt. NEC is owned by the Sumitomo Group in Japan and have expressed no publicised interest in sponsoring the club. However, NEC & MegaFon have collaborated on projects in the Russian communications industry, and as always that is enough to set the tongues wagging.
Fans meanwhile have gone into creative overdrive with their concepts for the new kit.
The first of many. Enjoy. pic.twitter.com/6mPjiVMkNK— Everton Designs (@EvertonDesigns) January 14, 2020
If and when we get to a new season, we’re certainly going to see some changes around Everton, bar the famed royal blue shirt, of course.