"Old Trafford will not be sold", says United chief Ed Woodward
April 09, 2013
MANCHESTER UNITED have stressed they will never sell the naming rights to Old Trafford.
The club moved quickly to ease the concerns of fans following the announcement that shirt sponsors AON have agreed a staggering £150million eight-year contract to put their name to club’s state-of-the-art Carrington training ground.
From July 1, Carrington will be known as the AON Training Complex, a central part of a wide-ranging deal that also includes sponsorship of United’s training kit, their annual summer tours and, for the first time, friendly matches.
But Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman who will replace David Gill as the club’s new chief executive this summer, said: “Old Trafford will not be sold.”
United insiders say a sale would be virtually pointless because, as Newcastle United found when they tried to change the name of St James’ Park to the Sports Direct Arena, it would merely irritate supporters, who would refuse to use the new name anyway.
“We are very aware and respectful of the fact some people will continue to call the training complex Carrington but in time, we hope they come to understand what the AON brand stands for,” said an AON source. “But we feel this agreement enables us to do something unique.”
The fact that United have added friendly matches into the new AON contract means that for summer tours from 2014 onwards they will be wearing two different companies on their kit.
They have already confirmed US car giant General Motors will have their Chevrolet name on United’s shirts from 2014 after agreeing to pay an eye-watering £357m over seven years.
Tottenham have similar arrangements involving different shirt sponsors depending on the competition.