It all changed on 27 August, 1983 when Leicester City faced Notts County. The Club were back in the First Division, after two seasons in the second tier, and playing at home in front of 14,838 fans. City lost by four goals to none.
For the most part, it was a day that wouldn’t have lasted long in the memory. But when the Foxes emerged from the tunnel, there was something remarkably different - something never seen in their almost 100 years - on the shirts of the players.
Emblazoned across their chests, read the words ‘Ind Coope’. The Club, for the very first time, had signed a shirt sponsorship deal.
Fast-forward to 2021 and you’d be hard-pressed to find a team within the footballing pyramid to do not. But the introduction to the world of football sponsorship started with a rocky beginning.
The FA fined Kettering Town, in 1976, after the non-league club advertised a local business across their shirt, and TV companies refused to show highlights of any teams doing the same. The turn in the tide began when Liverpool signed the first real lucrative deal – with Japanese giants Hitachi – and sponsorships soon flooded the game.
Leicester City made their move 1983. The intention was apparent. The fortunes of the game were changing, and City wanted to transform with it.
Ind Coope’s name saw out three years on City’s strip (and a fourth season advertising its John Bull bitter brand) before the partnership between Leicester and Walkers Crisps began in 1987.
The link with the Leicestershire-based firm lasted 14 seasons – despite only initially being drawn up for two – and became synonymous with the Club.
And as the Foxes switched from the old to the new in 2002, the first overseas sponsorship - LG Electronics - followed. After that, Alliance & Leicester, Topps Tiles, King Power, Thailand Smiles With You and new partners FBS Trade Online followed.
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