Classic Football Kit Sponsors
Football kit sponsors are a bit like a football clubs crest evolution - having a really good one can turn the shirt into an absolute classic.
Anyway, here are some iconic kit sponsors, in no particular order...
No.1 Juventus and Ariston
Eight years of domestic-appliance bliss for the Turin giants, from 1981 to 1989.
No.2 Saint-Étienne and Super-Tele
From 1979-81 the likes of Platini, Rep and Rocheteau had the weekly French TV magazine emblazoned across their shirts.
No.3 Eintracht Braunschweig and Jägermeister
Despite popular belief, there was life for Jägermeister before it became heavily associated with Red Bull and Jägerbombs in the 2000's. "Die Löwen" (the Lions) became the first football team to feature a sponsor on their shirt in 1973, despite the DFB having a ban on shirt sponsors. They got round it using a loophole that allowed them to have a symbol that bared a resemblance to the club's official crest. Iconic German Paul Breitner famously wore the shirt in the late 1970s, and by that time the name was on it too.
No.5 Ajax and TDK
Ajax's first sponsor on that beautiful shirt and in our eyes still its most iconic. TDK were huge in the 80s with their blank D90 cassette tapes, and from 1982-91 the simple white TDK lettering fit perfectly on that vertical red band.
No.6 Manchester City and Brother
The printer company were on City's shirts for 12 years, from 1987-1999. Instantly conjures up memories of Georgi Kinkladze, Niall Quinn, and ..err the Gallagher brothers back in the days when they got on together slightly better.
No.7 Roma and Barilla
The Giallorossi had a tasty 13 year deal with pasta company Barilla from 1981 to 1994. Indeed, such was the length of the deal that the Roma crest evolution was occurring much more often than the shirt sponsor.
No.8 Nantes and Europe 1
The 70s & 80s saw French clubs adopt huge sponsor logos & this was the best. Europe 1 was actually a radio station & sponsored Nantes in their glory years of 1976-83 & then from 85-88 & 89-99. Here's Bossis & Burruchaga wearing them...
No.9 Anderlecht and Général de Banque
The huge G logo of the company was really iconic on the shirt of that great team from 1981 onwards. So much so that many of us believed it was part of the shirt design rather than an actual sponsor.
No.10 Sampdoria and ERG
The Italian oil firm's logo was positioned above the iconic white, red and black band on the shirts of Lombardo, Vialli and Mancini etc during the club's real glory years from 1988 to 1995. Sampdoria owner Riccardo Garrone was also one of the owner's of ERG. They would later sponsor the shirt again in various forms from 2002 to 2011.
No.11 Manchester United and Sharp
United's first shirt sponsorship deal and still their most iconic. Japanese electronics company Sharp signed a five year deal for half a million pounds in 1982 and stayed on the shirts until Vodafone replaced them in 2000 with a £30m deal.
No.13 Boca Juniors and Quilmes
Boca shirts were covered by Argentina's most popular beer from 1995 to 2001.
No.15 Milan and Motta
The ice cream giants were originally formed in the city of Milan, so it was a tasty fit when they paired up between 1992 & 1994. Their iconic lettering looked fantastic on the Rossoneri shirts, although they were missing in the 4:0 Champions League final crushing of Barcelona as it was the last final that UEFA insisted on unsponsored shirts.
No.17 Marseille and Panasonic
The Japanese electronics giant were synonymous with Marseille during their glory years between 1989 and 1992 when the likes of Waddle, Papin and Boli did their stuff. Their logo seemed to fit in just seamlessly with that iconic shirt with the stripes on the arm. Beautiful.
No.18 Arsenal and JVC
Another classic tie-in between one of the giant English clubs and a Japanese electronics firm. JVC were the first shirt sponsor of the Gunners back in 1981, and were on their shirts for 18 years, including the famous double of 1998. The simplicity of their logo on those famous shirts will always make it one of the game's most iconic kit sponsors.
No.19 Flamengo and Lubrax
The sight of Zico and Sócrates both wearing the famous red and black hooped shirt for a short period in 1986-87 is enough to ingrain this shirt in the memory. Brazilian oil brand Lubrax were Flamengo's first sponsors in 1984 and it's another logo that seems to fit the shirt perfectly.
No.21 Bayern Munich and Commodore
In the early 1980s Commodore was the world's best-selling home-computer company (its Commodore 64 featuring two of the best ever computer-football games - the classic International Soccer and then the surprisingly brilliant Emlyn Hughes International Soccer), and their logo adorned 1. FC Köln shirts between 1984 and 1989.
No.22 Racing Club Paris and Matra
Back in the 80s French entrepreneur Jean-Luc Lagardère set about trying to turn Racing Club Paris into a rival of Paris Saint-Germain. The signings of Littbarski, Francescoli, Fernández & Bossis were basically bankrolled by his automotive company Matra, and as well as their name appearing on the shirts the club would also be renamed Matra Racing in 1987.
No.23 Brighton and Hove Albion and Skint
Yes, it is a pretty accurate description of the Seagulls financial status at the time, but also a Brighton-based record label who sponsored the club from 1999-08.
No.25 Milan and Mediolanum
It's safe to say that hardly anyone outside of Italy had a clue what a Mediolanum was, and despite being on their shirts for 5 years from 1987 to 1992, no-one was any the wiser. A bit of research on the old interweb though has shown that they were a financial company!
No.26 Ajax and ABN-Amro
The Dutch bank's logo went down the famous red band from 1991 to 2008.
No.27 Inter and Pirelli
One of football's longest running shirt sponsorships. The tyre manufacturer has been emblazoned on the Inter shirts since 1995. It's a decent fit as the company were formed in the city in the 1800s. As with the Inter crest evolution, there have been some iconic sponsors on the Nerazzurri shirts, and Pirelli followed in the footsteps of Inno-Hit, Misura, FitGar and Fiorucci.