The Old Fabric of England

By Will Baskin-Gerwitz

As football news goes, the press releases and staged media events on Tuesday afternoon off-days don’t register loudly in the mind of the casual fan. Certainly, in the context of Everton’s season — their new Spanish manager and the attacking verve that has put them on the brink of a Champions League place — the threshold for interest by Toffees is still higher. Even if you were to narrow it to news of aesthetics, the update of the club’s badge and the lackluster response is still likely much bigger news than the announcement that the club has signed with its third kit maker in four years.

For me, though, and surely for some other football fans, Roberto Martinez’ tour of a Manchester kit factory with 11 lucky Evertonians is some of the most exciting off-field news of the year. My joy really has little to do with the club and its new five year deal, but rather the sponsor. After being condemned to irrelevance, Umbro is returning to English football.

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The Diamond Heist: Was Nike’s Sale of Umbro Ruthless?

By Kyle Elliott, writing from Leeds

The future of a name that has seemingly been an ever-present in the world of football apparel was cast into uncertainty recently, as Nike announced the $225m sale of Umbro, which was acquired in 2008.

Originally a purchase to combat adidas’ absorption of Reebok, Nike announced earlier this year that they’d be listening to offers for the Manchester-based brand, as they felt the Nike Football label had grown to the point where it could serve the needs of Nike’s customer base.

Rumours soon flew that an investment group from South Korea and Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley were both ‘in’ for the historic brand; however another detail was also abundantly clear: the offers Nike were getting where well short of the $580m they paid for the Double-Diamond trademark 5 years prior.

Stranger still, rather than ‘dressing up’ the deal further, Nike actually began to make Umbro look like an even worse potential investment for interested parties.

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