Monday 23 April 2018

Manchester United's new Adidas shirt will make low-key bow in reserve team game

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal

Mark Ogden

Manchester United’s world-record £750m kit deal with Adidas could make an inauspicious start in a reserve-team fixture in August following Louis van Gaal’s decision to rule out a pre-season friendly at Old Trafford ahead of the 2015-16 campaign.

United are due to end their 13-year association with Nike on July 31 after agreeing a 10-year deal worth an annual £75m with Adidas last summer.

But due to the terms of the contract negotiated with Nike in 2002, the current agreement with the American sportswear giant will run until the end of July due to the partnership being struck when United’s previous plc board worked to a financial year ending July 31.

United will be forced to play in their current Nike kit throughout the club’s pre-season tour of the United States having been unable to persuade Nike to cut short their deal to enable Adidas to launch the new kit in the friendly against Club America in Seattle on July 17.

United are due to play four games in the States next month, culminating with a friendly against Paris Saint-Germain in Chicago on July 29.

Plans to unveil the new kit in a high-profile fixture at Old Trafford prior to the opening game of the Premier League season on Aug 8 have been aborted, however, with Van Gaal keen to benefit from a free week in order to prepare for the first game.

Van Gaal has claimed that the opening-day defeat against Swansea City last season, which sparked United’s worst start to a campaign in over 25 years, was a result of the decision to play a friendly against Valencia in the midweek prior to the game and the Dutchman has won his battle to forego a similar warm-up fixture this year.

However, with the partnership with Nike officially coming to an end at midnight on July 31, any fixture played by United’s reserve or youth teams from Aug 1 onwards will see the team kitted out in Adidas.

In 2010, United’s £80m shirt sponsorship deal with Aon was launched by the club’s reserve team in a friendly against Northern Premier League outfit Curzon Ashton, two days before the first-team played in the kit on their tour of North America.

On that occasion, the end of United’s previous shirt deal with AIG forced the club to introduce the Aon kit in the first outing in pre-season.

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