In the small town of Kettering, a new revolution had begun.
In a Southern League game against Bath City on 24 January 1976, Kettering became the first British club to play with a sponsor's name printed on their shirts after signing a deal with local firm Kettering Tyres. The man who was behind the ludicrous decision was chief executive and manager Derek Dougan; it was a decision which was to change world football forever.
Four days later after the decision had been made for Kettering Tyres to be the main sponsor, The football association ordered the slogan to be removed, some quick thinking from Dougan changed the look of the slogan on the shirt making it spell out Kettering T, which could be seen as Kettering Town, however it was not. The Football association yet again ordered it to be removed and threatened the club with a £1,000 fine, the decision was to be scrapped. Shirt sponsorship then was legalised within the English game in 1977 and then the rest of the world followed in Kettering Towns footsteps.
Kettering Tyres was the first business to sponsor the football shirt, 30 years later, such brands as Umbro, Adidas, Fila and Nike all followed in the small, community based mechanics footsteps and all entered the football shirt sponsor market.
44 years later, the world’s biggest club, Barcelona, agreed a £150 million deal with Qatar foundation, this was one of the biggest shirt sponsor deals to date.
The arrangement with the Qatar Foundation marked the first time in the Catalan team's 111-year history that they will be paid to advertise on their jerseys. Senior club executives described the deal as a "remarkable milestone because it represents a record level of revenue for a football club and has more value still in the current economic climate".
The history which has been there for all to see for the last 40 years has been forgotten whilst billion pound businesses are set to spend millions on a club. Kettering Tyres paid not even a fraction of what Qatar foundation have paid to sponsor Barcelona and I think its important to remember where it all began. In a small, dilapidated building in the centre of Kettering.