Challenging road ahead for Old Trafford sponsors

Automotive Team Blog

Mark Baldwin

In August 2012, Manchester UTD announced that General Motors will oust AON as their main shirt sponsor and GM’s Chevrolet brand will be seen on the shirts of UTD players from the 2014-2015 season.

What an opportunity for GM to promote a brand they’re looking to gain market share with by partnering with one of the most recognised and successful football clubs in the world.

This terms with Manchester UTD was not necessarily agreed to by all parties within GM as we saw Global Marketing Chief, Joel Ewanick, fired within 48 hours of the agreement being signed as senior GM executives where not made aware of the full details of the £175million deal and were unhappy to learn they would be paying £6m per year more then UTD’s incumbent shirt sponsors, AON.  At that point GM assured Old Trafford that the deal would remain in place and they would not renege on the agreement.

Roll forward 10 months and perhaps this deal is not as attractive as first thought.  Whilst UTD remain a hugley successful global brand, part of the attraction of this is based around on field success.  Manchester UTD’s on field supremacy over the past 20 years has been largely due to the fact they have had arguably the best and most consistent football manager the world has ever seen. This season Sir Alex Ferguson managed to wrestle the Premier League title from their noisy neighbours in what seemed like a stroll for UTD compared to other seasons.

However, with the announcement SAF is to retire at the end of this season, what will that mean for Manchester UTD’s performance next season and beyond?  We have seen the demise of clubs over the years when a high profile manager leaves and hands the reigns to another.  Liverpool being a notable candidate in that respect when Kenny Dalglish’s first effort as manager ended and Graeme Souness was put in charge – some would argue the club has never completely recovered.

United are always going to attract big names in terms of players and that is why the new manager on his way in needs to be able to hit the ground running.  In order to convince Manchester UTD’s sponsors and Wall Street, only a high profile appointment would calm the nerves of those financially involved.  Jose Mourinho is possibly the only name that could satisfy at this stage to ensure all sponsors, not only GM remain committed to the cause……..