Manchester Utd unveils Chevrolet-sponsored kit

Manchester United and Chevrolet are looking to invoke the football club’s illustrious heritage in a video featuring a host of its legendary players to mark the start of the brands’ seven-year shirt deal.

Video: The History of the Manchester United shirt

The video builds anticipation for the partnership, the biggest shirt tie-up in the club’s history, by showcasing the kits of years gone by. Set to fans singing the club’s “Glory Glory Man United” football chant, the film charts their journey to the team’s Old Trafford stadium as they remove shirt after shirt to reveal deals with previous sponsors such as Sharp and Aon.

Former players such as Sir Bobby Charlotn, Clayton Blackmore and Denis Law appear throughout, before the video reveals current stars Wayne Rooney, Adnan Januzaj, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and David de Gea wearing the new design.

The large Chevrolet logo on the front of shirt marks a dramatic change from previous versions. It comes after United secured a multi-million deal with the business, the fifth shirt sponsor in the club’s history, for a reported world-record £53m fee.

Some fans are not impressed with the prominence of the logo and have voiced their concerns on social media. One supporter tweeted: “The new Manchester United kit sponsor ruins the shirt looks disgusting”.

Chevrolet is unlikely to be too perturbed with the initial reaction with the business hoping to harness the club’s reach into markets such as India to accelerate its own expansion plans. General Motors is pulling its flagship brand from Europe by 2015 due to disappointing sales but has said the move will not affect its sponsorship strategy.

The launch comes as the club is reportedly close to announcing a new kit provider following a tussle between current makers Nike and its rivals Adidas, Under Armour and Puma.

A report from The Independent today (7 July) alleges that Nike has exploited a loophole to significantly reduce the amount of tax it pays on sales of Manchester Utd kits. Just £1m has been paid to the taxman in the past five years with the business avoiding payments of around £9.1m, the article suggests.

Nike says its actions are within the laws of the UK, adding tax liability across its business was reduced due to losses incurred when it owned Umbro.

In a statement it adds: “Nike’s overall tax liability in the UK in fiscal year 2013 (Nike UK Ltd, Nike Retail BV – UK, Converse Europe Ltd and Manchester United Merchandising Ltd) was reduced by offsetting profits against significant operating losses at one of our former UK based subsidiaries, Umbro International Ltd.

“Nike complies with all applicable tax laws in the countries in which it operates. We generally do not report the amounts we pay in taxes on a country-by-country basis, however we do provide an overview of our U.S. and non-U.S. tax expense in our annual report.” 

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