Shirts Man Utd
As we know, United was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR and subsequently just plain Newton Heath. The team has played in red and white ever since the adoption of the name Manchester United in 1902. Prior to this, they tried out various combinations of yellow and green shirts with blue "shorts", although they did wear a red and white quartered number in season 1892-93. They first played with a sponsor's name emblazoned name on their shirts in the 1982-83 season as the Japanese manufacturer of household electricals, Sharp Electronics, took their place on a pin stripe number from adidas.
By the following season, the word Electronics had been dropped and United were sponsored by plain old Sharp, although the rest of the design remained unchanged (crafty beggars, with kits usually changed every 2 years, this enabled a one year change). This state of affairs (kit by adidas, sponsor Sharp) continued up until season 1992-93 when Umbro reasserted themselves as shirt manufacturer (a local company, they'd first had this role in season 1956-57). Contrary to popular belief Lee Sharpe did NOT get a game just because his dad was the shirt sponsor, I mean he's from Wolverhampton, not Tokyo!
Anyway, enough of such ribaldry, Lee Sharpe's Dad's got an 'e' on the end of his name! Until the advent of season 2000-01, Sharp took pride of place on United's shirts, when Vodafone, obviously with a bigger bid (as much as their G3 licence?), ousted them, thus ending an 18 year affiliation. After two seasons, Nike flexed their financial muscles and just a few years before they swallowed the company whole, nicked one of Umbro's most lucrative contracts.
In the past few seasons, with the influence of their new American owners, United have been sponsored by American insurance company group AIG. However, with the current bad state of affairs in the world economy, it is rumoured that AIG will not be renewing their deal when it runs out. In fact, in June 2009 it was announced that Aon Corp. will be the name on the front of United's shirts from season 2010-2011. Over the course of a 4 year deal, the American insurance giant will pay United some £80 million.
United are sometimes seen sporting blue - it was their second colour at the time of the European Cup final in 1968. As their opponents Benfica also played in red, United opted for blue and it has stuck ever since as a 'lucky' kit.
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