Manchester United fans all around the world will be eagerly scouring for transfer news and gossip over the possible arrival of new players during the close season.
But just as important to many supporters over the break will be being among the first to get their hands on the club’s new kit. The English Premier League champions have just launched a new home kit for the forthcoming season which pays homage to their 100th year playing at their Old Trafford stadium. United’s new shirt features a large chevron across the chest, which echoes the same pattern United wore on their shirts during the 1909/10 season when Old Trafford first opened. What do you think of the new kits launched by Manchester United and Chelsea How do they compare to other shirts Add your comments to the ‘Sound off’ box below. Red Devils defender Rio Ferdinand revealed the players are just as excited as the fans when it comes to wearing the latest club uniform.
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He said: “You feel very proud every time you put the United kit on. When I first signed that was the thing I was most looking forward to — putting it on and seeing how it felt. I was like an excited kid! I’m sure we’ll all be buzzing when we run out in the new kits next season.” Ji-Sung Park hopes the chevron design will help inspire the players to reach new heights in the forthcoming season and added: “I like to think of it as ‘V’ for victory and hopefully we can win every game we play in the new kits!” See our photo gallery of the good, the bad, and the ugly of football shirts throughout the years. » Although United fans are not quite as lucky as Ferdinand and Park and will have to wait until July 16 before they will be able to proudly show their colors. FA Cup winners Chelsea also have a smart new home kit which features a gladiator-style breast plate design and draws inspiration from looks that have graced the Kings Road over the years, especially seen in the ergonomically fitted shape and crew collar. The new shirt, which is on sale now, certainly meets the approval of Chelsea winger Salomon Kalou who told the club’s Web site: “The new kit is nice, so now let’s see what happens in it during the new season.” Of course, football kits are not just a way of visually separating two teams on a playing field; they are increasingly an important part of a club’s commercial operations. The world-record transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid could be worth up to $75m a season in revenue to the Spanish giants, according to research commissioned by Weber Shandwick Sport with one of the world’s leading sport business experts.
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Speaking on behalf of Weber Shandwick Sport, Professor Simon Chadwick, Director of the Centre for the International Business of Sport (CIBS) at Coventry University, suggests that with Kaka already moving to the Bernabéu, Real Madrid could benefit from $175m a year in additional revenue generated by the two stars. He said: “Ronaldo can be viewed in the same bracket as David Beckham when it comes to global commercial impact, if their image is controlled right and Real Madrid improve their results in the UEFA Champions League as a result of their arrival. “Becks sold a million shirts in his first six months at Real Madrid when he was just one of several ‘galacticos’ turning out for the all-whites, alongside the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Raul and the Brazilian Ronaldo. “Even if Real signed one or two of the other stars, there would be a real focus on Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Kaka talents on the pitch, but also their brand off it. That will pay for their transfers several times over, even with a bumper salary package.” Dan Jones, partner in the Sport Business group at accountancy firm Deloitte, told CNN that shirt revenues were not massive, but they were still important in taking the club’s brand around the globe. Jones said shirt sales are dominated by the biggest clubs and figures would “closely mirror” the top of the “Football Money League” rich-list which would Real Madrid and Manchester United as the two biggest shirt-sellers worldwide. The outlook for sales for the forthcoming season might not be as profitable as previous years though as the global economic situations impacts on the spending power of the average fan.
The “Football Fans’ Inflation Index” released earlier this year by Virgin Money has showed large increases in the cost of an average game day for fans which could result in a drop in kit sales. Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters Federation in England, added: “It will not be surprising if sales of replica shirts suffer as a result of the recession. The bottom line for fans is that you need a ticket to get into the game but you don’t need a replica shirt, and when money’s tight, it’s the non-essentials which will go.”