The history of shirt sponsors – do you remember all of your club's?

Fans of clubs around the world spend the summer months poring over transfer rumours for new additions to their side.But as well as top-class players, team shirt sponsors regularly change in the close season.

Not a summer goes by when we don’t see top-flight stars posing in officially-branded polo shirts in front of a new car or awkwardly exchanging smiles and handshakes with the CEO of a Japanese mobile company.

The birth of shirt sponsorship in Britain was a little more low-key.In 1979, European conquerors Liverpool became the first English side with a shirt deal.

The £100,000 agreement with Hitachi over two years allowed them to brandish the brand in games that weren’t televised – and not in Europe or the FA Cup.

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Kenny Dalglish shows off Liverpool’s new Hitachi sponsorship with daughter Kelly in 1979

Chelsea’s new Yokohama deal – shown off by John Terry – is worth £40million a year to the London club

And far from being seen as a crushing blow to tradition, the continental concept was welcomed with open arms as a chance to inject funds into a desperately flagging domestic game.

They soon caught on down south.Arsenal signed with electronics firm JVC in 1981 for a British record £500,000 over three seasons – a far cry from the £30million a year they currently bag from Emirates.

With many still getting used to the idea of English clubs parading various companies across their famous colours, then-chairman Peter Hill-Wood admitted his reluctance.

Dominic Matteo wears a Carlsberg branded Liverpool strip in 1993 – a sponsorship which lasted for 18 years 

He said: ‘I was against advertising and sponsorship more than anyone.I felt we would be losing a little bit of our identity but I have been persuaded the other way.’

As it turned out, JVC lasted a lot longer on the Gunners kit, featuring until computer games giant Sega took over in 1999.The £2.5m was welcome, less so was the fact they had to cover the sponsor up when playing at Fiorentina – ‘sega’ is Italian slang for masturbation.

Across London, the £40m a year Chelsea will receive from new sponsors Yokohama puts them just below Manchester United and truly in the European elite.

However, the Blues were looking to far-flung corners of the globe for sponsorship long before Roman Abramovich turned up.Their shirts were emblazoned with Gulf Air for the second half of their Division Two promotion campaign in 1984.

Patrick Vieira (left) and Tony Adams show off Arsenal’s deal with Sega by playing on a Dreamcast console

Arsene Wenger proudly stands outside the Emirates stadium to announce the Gunners’ airline deal

The deal lasted about as long as Chelsea’s intention to ‘take top players from Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.’ It did, however, take John Neal’s team to a pre-season friendly in Baghdad, with Saddam Hussein in attendance.

After fleeting associations the curious Bai Lin Tea, Grange Farm and Simod, the Blues finally struck gold with computer gurus Commodore in 1987.The US-based firm earned Chelsea a cool £1.25m – a new British record.

By now, every team was running around with a bold-type logo on their chests. Some of these shirts have become cult classics, with Tottenham’s Holsten, West Ham’s AVCO and Everton’s NEC all popular with fans for being synonymous with periods of success.

Alan Shearer signs a huge flag with Newcastle Brown Ale branding – the club’s shirt sponsor at the time 

It wasn’t long before the Premier League arrived, with clubs eager to capitalise on the publicity of the new top flight.

It didn’t quite pan out.Most of the top clubs were already tied into long-running deals, while others opted for the traditional starting point of local businesses like Newcastle Brown Ale, Norwich and Peterborough building society and Ipswich’s Fisons pharmaceuticals.

Liverpool again led the way with their Carlsberg deal running from 1992 until 2010, making it the longest-ever in British football.

Anyone growing up during this period will clearly remember Manchester United players lifting trophies while their shirts screamed out ‘Sharp’.

The Japanese electronics company were United’s sponsors from 1983 until 2000, initially on a £500,000 two-year contract.

Man United launch their Vodafone deal, with Ryan Giggs (left), Paul Scholes and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer (right)

(From left) Wes Brown, Mikael Silvestre, Teddy Sheringham and Solskjaer played their part

Scholes, Giggs and Solskjaer poke their heads through a mountain of Vodafone-branded mobiles

And much like their dominance of domestic honours at the time, it took the men from Old Trafford to finally break through the sponsorship ceiling.

Peter Kenyon striking up a record £30m deal for Vodafone to become United’s main sponsor in 2000 broke barriers not just for the club but for British football.

Despite hosting world-class talent like Dennis Bergkamp and Gianfranco Zola and being broadcast across the world, the Premier League was still lagging well behind in the sponsorship stakes.

Until the Vodafone deal, teams like Germany’s Arminia Bielefield were raking in more per year than the likes of Chelsea and Spurs were from Autoglass and Holsten respectively.

United’s move kicked the rest into action. Chelsea weren’t slow in announcing a £24m contract with Emirates, while Arsenal snapped up a similar deal with O2.Finally, English clubs were in the sponsorship big leagues.

The Premier League’s top clubs are now at the other end of the scale. United’s deal last summer with Chevrolet predictably shattered records, with the car giant paying £47m a year.

Chelsea are now just behind, followed by Arsenal, with Liverpool’s £20m-a-year Standard Chartered deal next.

England’s top flight now easily outstrips every other league when it comes to sponsorship, too.

Premier League clubs earn in total double the amount of their nearest rival the Bundesliga, with Spain’s La Liga, France’s Ligue 1 and Italy’s Serie A – once cream of the crop – lagging far behind.

Here’s Sportsmail’s comprehensive list of EVERY sponsor your top-flight club has had…



JVC (1982-1999), Sega (1999-2002), O2 (2002-2006), Emirates (2006-present)

Freddie Ljungberg is pictured in action for Arsenal, then sponsored by Sega,  in their 2000-01 campaign 

Aston Villa

Davenports (1982-1983), Mita (1983-1993), Muller (1993-1995), AST (1995-1998), LDV (1998-2000), NTL (2000-2002), Rover (2002-2004), DWS (2004-2006), 32Red (2006-2007), FxPro (2010-2011), Genting Casinos (2011-2012), Acorns (2012-2013) Dafabet (2013-present)


Heynes Toyota (1980-1985), Cooper Beers (1985-1987), Canberra Homes (1987-1988), Nolan (1988-1989), A1 Windscreens (1990-1992), Exchange Mart (1992-1993), Frizzell (1993-1997), Seward (1997-2006), Focal Point (2006-2008, 2011-2012), Carbrini (2008-2011), Energy Consulting (2012-2015)


Gulf Air (1984), Grange Farms (1986), Bai Lin Tea (1986), Simod (1987), Commodore (1987-1994), Coors (1994-1997), Autoglass (1997-2001), Emirates (2001-2005), Samsung (2005-2015), Yokohama (2015)

Chelsea were sponsored by beer company Coors for three years.Gavin Peacock is pictured here in 1994 

Crystal Palace

Red Rose (1983-1984), Top Score (1985-1986), AVR (1986-1987), Andrew Copeland (1987-1988), Virgin (1988-1991), Tulip (1991-1993), TDK (1993-1999)), Churchill (2000-2006), GAC Logistics (2011-2014), Neteller (2014-2015)


Hafina (1979-1985), NEC (1985-1995), Danka (1995-1997), one2one (1997-2002), Kejian (2002-2004), Chang Beer (2004-present)

Leicester City

Ind Coope (1983-1986), John Bull (1986-1987), Walkers (1987-2001), LG (2001-2003), Alliance & Leicester (2003-2007), Topps Tiles (2007-2009), King Power (2010-present)


Hitachi (1979-1982), Crown Paints (1982-1988) Candy (1988-1992), Carlsberg (1992-2010), Standard Chartered (2010-present)

Manchester City

Saab (1982-1984), Philips (1984-1987), Brother (1987-1999), Eidos (1999-2003), First Advice (2003-2004), Thomas Cook (2004-2009), Etihad (2009-present)

Manchester City enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Japanese electronics company Brother 

Manchester United

Sharp (1982-2000), Vodafone (2000-2006), AIG (2006-2010), AON (2010-2014), Chevrolet (2014-present)


Newcastle Brown Ale (1980-1986 & 1990-2000), Greenalls (1986-1990), NTL (2001-2003), Northern Rock (2003-2011), Virgin Money (2012-2-13), Wonga (2013-present)

Norwich City

Withey (1983-1986), Fosters (1986-1989), Asics (1989-1992), Norwich and Peterbrough (1992-1997), Colman’s (1997-2001), Digital Phone Company (2001-2003), Lotus Cars (2003-2006), Flybe (2006-2008), Aviva 2008-present)


Rank Xerox (1980-1983), Air Florida (1983-1984), Draper Tools (1984-1993), Dimplex (1993-1995), Sanderson (1995-1999), Friends Provident (2001-2006), Flybe (2006-2010), aap3 (2011-2014), Veho (2015-present)

Stoke City

Ricoh (1981-1985), Cristal Tiles (1986-1990), Fradley Homes (1990-1991), Ansells (1991-1993), Carling (1993-1995), Broxap (1995-1996), Asics (1996-1997), Britannia (1997-2012), bet365 (2012-present)


Cowie’s (1983-1985), Vaux (1985-1994), Lambton’s (197-1999) Reg Vardy (1999-2007) , BoyleSports (2007-2010), Tombola (2011-2012), Invest in Africa (2012-2013), Bidvest (2013-present)


Diversified Products (1985-1991), Action (1992-1993), Gulf Oil (1993-1996), South Wales Evening Post (1996-1997), Silver Shield (1998-1999), M&P Bikes (1999-2000), Stretchout (2000-2001), The Travel House (2001-2004 & 2005-2007)), Re/Max (2004-2005), (2007-2009), 32Red (2009-2013), GWFX (2013-present)


Holsten (1983-1995 & 1999-2002), Hewlett Packard (1995-1999 & 2013-2-14), Thomson (2002-2006), Mansion (2006-2010), Autonomy (2010-2011), Aurasma (2011-2013), AIA (2014-present)

Teddy Sheringham is seen here in action for Tottenham in 1995.They were sponsored by Holsten at the time


Iveco (1982-1985), Solvite (1985-1988) Eagle Express (1988-1989), Herald & Post (1989-1991), RCI (1991-1993) Blaupunkt (1993-1995), CTX (1996-1999), Phones 4U (1999-2001), Toshiba (2001-2003), Total (2003-2005), (2005-2007), Beko (2007-2009), Evolution (2009-2010), Burrda (2010-2012), Football Manager (2012-2013), (2013-present)

West Brom

BSR (1981-1984), Swan (1983-1984), No Smoking (1984-1986), Apollo (1986-1990), Sandwell (1990-1993), Coucher & Shaw 91993-1994), Guests (1994-1997), West Bromwich Building Society (1997-2004), T-Mobile (2004-2008), 247999 (2010-2011), Bodog (2011-2012), Zoopla (2012-2014), Quickbooks (2014-present)

West Ham

AVCO (1983-1989), BAC (1989-1992), Dagenham Motors (1992-1997), Dr Martens (1998-2003), Jobserve (2003-2007), XL (2007-2008), Daftar Sbobet (2008-2013), Alpari (2013-2015), Betway 2015-present) 

Legendary West Ham defender Julian Dicks in action for the Hammers against Northampton in 1998