Manchester United have raised some eyebrows by announcing a sponsorship deal for their training kits – with a blockchain company set to pay them £20million a year
Manchester United have often been accused of putting off-pitch results before footballing matters, and they’ve not helped themselves with their latest announcement.
The Red Devils have announced they’ve taken their first step into cryptocurrency by partnering with a blockchain company.
There’s been a lot of talk about cryptocurrency and football overlapping recently, with the likes of John Terry, Reece James and Trent Alexander-Arnold all investing in Non-Fungible Tokens [NFTs]. But there have been criticisms of the unregulated and volatile nature of some crypto markets.
Numerous Premier League teams have taken up sponsors from the cryptocurrency world, including Wolves and Norwich.
And now, United have joined the craze, accepting a deal worth £20million annually just for the sponsorship of their training kits.
The deal is likely the largest of its kind, considering the company involved, Tezos, will have no naming rights for the club’s Carrington training ground, as was the same with AON’s sponsorship for the last eight years.
United fans will no doubt be hoping this investment leads to further changes on the pitch, following a revamp behind-the-scenes at the club which has seen John Murtough and Darren Fletcher heading up the football side of operations.
The club’s last piece of silverware came five years ago under Jose Mourinho, who lifted the League Cup, Europa League and Community Shield.
But since then, United have largely been accused of putting off-pitch matters ahead of their performance-related issues.
This was a theme during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s spell at Old Trafford, with many believing the Norwegian manager was allowed to outstay his welcome due to the club’s commercial successes.
Despite United losing the Europa League final and finishing way off the pace in the Premier League, the club continued to report incredible figures in revenue.
United generated €557m [£446m] in revenue throughout the season despite their on-pitch results being less-than impressive.
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward recently left the club after almost a decade, with Richard Arnold taking his place.
The outgoing official was a hugely unpopular figure with United fans, and previous manager Louis Van Gaal famously complained about the culture at the club set by Woodward.
Speaking during his ill-fated time at Old Trafford, the Dutchman said: “At the moment [at United] there is a structure with a scouting division and above that is someone at Woodward’s right hand.
“The structure is not so bad but the right hand has to be a technical director with a football view, not somebody with a banker’s role.
“Unfortunately, we are talking about a commercial club, not a football club. I spoke to [Sir Alex] Ferguson about this and in his last years, he also had problems with it.”
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United are currently off the pace again in the Premier League despite forking out £130million on new recruits last summer.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane have failed to have the desired impact, and United are subsequently left fighting for a top-four finish rather than challenging for the title.
United fans will be hoping the recent off-field successes will be mirrored on the pitch.