10 of the best: Food shirt sponsors

Shirts: August 5, 2021

There are a multitude of reasons that we tend not to see food manufacturers adorning the shirts of the worlds football clubs anymore. Quite simply, though, it is because any brands attempting to burst through can’t afford it and those who can don’t need it. But that’s not to say it’s not a shame.

Would we rather see a Doritos logo over a ManBetX logo, for example? Yes, we very much would. 

But in the mean time all we can do is look back on those times when food and football collided and it was just right. We’ve looked back over four decades of sponsors and picked out ten of the greatest and occasionally most bizarre tie-ins that football and food have given us. 

 

Mars chocolate - Napoli

 

 

Taking over from the equally iconic Pasta makers, Buitoni, the Mars logo adorned the front of Maradona’s jerseys during some of his very best years at the San Paolo.

 

Chupa Chups lollipops - Sheffield Wednesday

 

 

And now to the arguably less iconic combo of Sheffield Wednesday and Chupa Chups that lasted from 2000 to 2003. The intriguing element of this partnership was that, due to the fact that iconic Chupa Chups logo had been designed by Salvador Dali in 1969, Wednesday are in fact the only team to have played in a kit adorned with an original Dali piece of art. Who’d a thought it?

 

Barilla pasta - Roma

 

 

Decorating the front of the giallorossi shirts for 12 years from 1982 to 1994, the Roma/Barilla combo was a thing of beauty. The love around the partnership remains so strong that excitement started bubbling back in 2017 when rumours started to swirl that talks between the Pasta company and Roma to reinstate the partnership were ongoing. The talks, if they ever happened, unfortunately came to nothing.

 

Colman’s Mustard - Norwich City

 

 

Norwich have, more than most, continued a tradition of carrying sponsorships of local brands well into the 20th century. Partnerships with Norfolk based Lotus and Aviva, the latter who’s roots lie in the town, being a case in point. The greatest Norwich sponsor, however, will always be Colman’s mustard. The connection felt by the city and the shirts was so strong that some twenty years later the wearing of the Colman’s era shirts became a rallying cry for the people of Norwich in a bid to stop plans to move production out of Norwich after 160 years. 

 

Burger King - Getafe

 

 

The Burger King and Getafe tie-in would have been a largely unremarkable one had it not been for the fact that someone from either the club or burger chains marketing teams decided it would be a good idea to do slap a giant face of the King himself on the inside of the shirt. 

 

Parmalat - Parma 

 

 

Very much a case of great till it wasn’t. The relationship between the dairy company and their local football team started back in 1991 when Parmalat’s outrageously rich owners elected to purchase the side, rather than simply sponsoring them. It led to a remarkable winning streak over the next decade until a corruption scandal sank the company and ultimately the club.

 

Daen Sports - Local produce

 

 

This ones a bit different. Starting back in 2013 with a broccoli themed kit, manufacturer, Daen, started teaming up with lower league Spanish sides to highlight each teams regional produce and the results were, well a bit different.

 

Pizza Hut - Fulham 

 

 

Pizza Hut were no strangers to football advertising, after all who could forgot the now infamous Gareth Southgate ad post Euro 96? But in 2001 they elected, for one season only, to sponsor newly promoted Fulham. It was always going to be a tough ask to take the place of the outrageous ‘Demon internet’ that had adorned the sides shirts for the previous three seasons but it just worked and the kits are now seriously coveted.

 

Walkers Crisps - Leicester City

 

 

We’re not sure that there’s anything more Leicester than Walkers Crisps. Founded in the city in 1948, the company has had a strong presence in the region ever since. And in 1987 they once again showed their commitment to their city by sponsoring the club for the next 14 years. It was undoubtably a golden era for Leicester shirts generally but for many it will always be the definitive Leicester City sponsor.

 

Doritos crisps - Wolves

 

 

As with Fulham and Pizza Hut, the Wolves and Doritos partnership was a short yet cherished one. For two years the crisp manufacturer adorned the shirts of the boys from Wolverhampton and it just worked. The Molineux faithful won as well with Wolves’ chief executive at the time, Jez Moxey, stating “apart from the material benefits, it means that our supporters will be the first to try new products from Doritos when they come to Molineux!' We’re sure they were thrilled.

 

Words by Andy Gallagher

 

 

 

 

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