FOOTBALL X MUSIC: When Bands Sponsor Football Shirts

FOOTBALL X MUSIC: When Bands Sponsor Football Shirts

The relationship between music and football stretches almost as far back as the game itself. Fans have been adapting popular music to sing at games since the 19th century with songs like You’ll Never Walk Alone being sung in stadiums from Liverpool to Dortmund.

While the first football shirt sponsorship appeared in 1973, it would take another 20 or so years for anyone to come up with the idea of combining the two worlds commercially and getting a band to sponsor a team. It turned out to be a pretty good idea and the following decade saw numerous bands and artists get in on the action.. 

Financial constraints meant sponsorships were mostly found in lower leagues and more recently in the junior ranks where there are a number of great stories floating around like Motorhead sponsoring an under 10’s team and Mogwai doing the same for a primary school side. 

Today though we’re focusing solely on sponsorships in the senior game as we pick out ten of the best times that bands and football teams have come together. 

 

Goldie Lookin Chain 

 

 

The 2004/05 season saw the Welsh rappers take football shirt sponsorship to another level by teaming up with Errea to create an entirely bespoke kit, complete with big gold chain, to be worn by the side in that season's cup competition.

 

Fatboy Slim

 

 

When Fatboy Slim started sponsoring Brighton in 1999 they were without a home stadium and struggling to stay afloat in the third division. Via his skint records label and later promoting his Palookaville album he injected some much needed cash as Brighton started their ascent back to the top flight. 

 

Super Furry Animals

 

 

Years before GLC got in on the action, Welsh rock band Super Furry Animals took over sponsorship of Cardiff City for the sides Welsh cup in 1999 and 2000. The band's name was displayed proudly on a shirt that looked about 100 years out of date. 

 

Wet Wet Wet 

 

 

Back in 1993 Wet Wet Wet became the first band we can find anywhere to sponsor a team's shirts when they joined forces with local second division side, Clydebank. The promo included three advertising hoardings simply bearing ‘wet’.

 

Die Toten Hosen – Fortuna Dusseldorf 01-03

 

 

Perhaps the greatest band and football team tie in of all time, punk rock Die Toten Hosen first got involved with local side Fortuna Düsseldorf in the 80’s after they gave a Deutsche Mark to the club for each ticket sold on their tour. Then in the early 00’s with the side struggling to survive they became primary sponsors for two years. In 2019 the relationship was celebrated with a special fourth kit bearing the band's logo. 

 

Bad Manners - Margate

 

 

Legendary Ska band Bad Manners became sponsors of Margate FC for the 1996/97 season after lead singer Buster Bloodvessel began running a hotel for overweight people in the town called Fatty Towers. 

 

The Libertines - Margate

 

 

And some two decades later The Libertines followed suit, making the Essex side the only club in the world to have been sponsored by two different bands.

 

Enter Shikari - St Albans 

 

 

Politically minded alt rock outfit Enter Shikari sponsored sixth tier St Albans last season, reportedly after lead singer Chris Batten was impressed with the side's community outreach programs. It’s a shame they didn’t have a little more fun with it a la GLC but it's still a nice gesture. 

 

Ed Sheeran

 

 

This season Ipswich Town are being sponsored by lifelong fan Ed Sheeran with the singer's upcoming tour featuring on their shirts. As part of the tie-in, Sheeran has also bizarrely been registered as a player at the club and given the number 17 for the season. Perhaps we’ll see a run out for Sheeran if things get desperate enough. 

 

Heaven shall burn

 

 

Saving the best for last, German death metal band Heaven Shall Burn sponsored local fourth division side Carl Zeiss Jena for the last game of the season back in 2015. The result was one of the most badass looking kits ever. Support your local team.

 

Words by Andy Gallagher

 


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