John Terry is regarded as Mr Chelsea amongst the London club’s fans and indeed, even by supporters of other teams. He came through the Chelsea youth system, he’s the club captain and if you cut him, he’d probably bleed blue blood. But, is the Terry shade of blue about to get lighter?
Despite a handful of games on loan at Nottingham Forest, Terry is very much a one-club man. His performances have also seen him given the job of England captain as well as becoming the living embodiment of the Chelsea creed.
Terry celebrates Chelsea’s success in last season’s FA Cup final
However, it seems that Terry is being wooed by a club that finished 10th in the Premier League last season, a club that hasn’t qualified for Europe and one that hasn’t lifted a trophy since 1976 – Manchester City.
City do of course have one or two attractions. They are thought to be the wealthiest football club in the world, after being bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in September 2008 and as a result they are attracting players that would not normally consider a club with such a pedigree. They also have a sposnorship deal with Umbro, who since being acquired by Nike, look to be getting their act together.
The home of Manchester City
It’s certainly an act that has caught the eye. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, journalist Jason Burt has been investigating just what influence Umbro might have, if any, of getting Terry to move north. As he discovers, there are number of interesting connections.
First off there’s City’s chief executive. Garry Cook is a former employee of Nike who now own Umbro.
One of Cook’s priorities when he took on the job was to change the club’s kit manufacturer. So out went Le Coq Sportif and in came Umbro who’ve signed a 10 year brand partnership.
City and Umbro’s new shirt ‘teaser’ ahead of the retail launch on 18th July'
Umbro are currently marketing themselves as the ‘English’ brand. The recent England shirt campaign emphasising the point with the ‘Tailored by Umbro in England’ strapline. And they don’t get much more English than JT.
As Burt points out, it’s natural to assume that Cook probably spoke to Umbro about his plans to sign the Chelsea defender.
Which brings us to another connection. Umbro sponsor Terry. He wears the Umbro Speciali football boot, was chosen to debut the England Speciali when it was launched and was also widely used to model the new England kit.
Umbro England Speciali
As well as manufacturing City’s new kit, Umbro are making the City Speciali too – a Limited Edition boot with the club crest on the sole plate. Imagine the sales if Terry was to wear that at the beginning of the new season!
Umbro Limited Edition Manchester City Speciali
Although Chelsea have continually said that Terry is not for sale, you only have to look at the recent deals involving Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo to realize that a) we’ve heard that line before and b) money talks.
As Burt suggests in his Daily Telegraph piece: Cook’s strength is marketing and brand awareness and its unthinkable that in his discussions over Terry and the eye-watering salary City are prepared to pay him, plus the huge transfer fee for a 28-year-old, that he has not factored in the money that can be recouped through the close links the club and the player have with Umbro.
Terry wearing the new Umbro England kit v Andorra earlier this summer
It also shows, perhaps, the direction in which more and more proposed transfer deals are moving. Its increasingly a business transaction as much, if not more, than a sporting one.