Brands hail Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd career

Past and present sponsors including Nike, Umbro and DHL have rallied to celebrate the achievements of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after the club confirmed he will retire at the end of the season.

AlexFerguson-headshot-2013

He will become a United director and ambassador but will no longer be involved in the day-day-day running of the club. During his 27-year rein he won 13 league titles, two Champions Leagues, the Cup Winners’ Cup, five FA Cups and four League Cups to become the country’s most successful manager.

He pipped inter-city rivals Manchester City to secure his final Premier League with the Old Trafford-based club last month.

Ferguson’s decision to step away from management has been acknowledged by former and current United sponsors, who have hailed the Scot’s role in building the most successful club English football with 20 League titles.

Nike, the official Manchester United kit manufacturer, has issued the following statement: “Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the greatest managers the game has ever seen and he will be greatly missed by all of the Nike employees who have been lucky enough to work with him during the last 10 years.  We’re sad to see him stepping down from his role as Manchester United manager but we’re delighted that he will remain at the club as a Director and Ambassador.  We wish him every success for the future.”

Umbro, which was the club’s kit manufacturer between 1992 and 2002, has been asking fans to select their favourite shirt from the decade on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Sharp Electronics, which became the club’s first shirt sponsor at the beginning of the 1982–83 season, has taken to Twitter to wish the scot a “Happy retirement”. The electronics company has posted a picture (see below) of the club winning its first Premier League tittle in 1993 with the caption “Where it all began. 13 Premier League titles for @MUFCOFFICIAL”.

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Meanwhile, current sponsors DHL and Thomas Cook are preparing statements to celebrate the manager’s time at the club. Both Chevrolet and Aon have also issued separate tributes to Ferguson.

Charlie Dundas, managing director for Repucom UK and Ireland says the Sir Alex’s departure will not damage the United brand, arguing that success “on the pitch is the sole guarantor of commercial attractiveness”.

He adds: “The Man Utd brand and Sir Alex will always be intrinsically linked. The legacy of success – like that of Sir Matt Busby – will never be lost. But for sponsors and supporters the truth is that no individual is bigger than a club and every manager will retire just as brilliant players have come and gone during his reign.

“The brand strength that Manchester United has built to extraordinary levels during the Ferguson years and the commercial success that has followed means the foundations for the future are as good as they can be. The new manager will bring new fans, a new way of interacting with the media and a fresh approach to what goes on on the pitch.”

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