To mark the 40th anniversary of being the first UK club with kits sporting a sponsor, Kettering Town will be wearing commemorative Kettering Tyres shirts for their next two Saturday fixtures.
The replica strips will be used in the home game against Stratford Town on Saturday 16th January then again at Weymouth away on Saturday 23rd January 2016.
Shirt sponsors are now commonplace in the world of football, but Kettering Town kicked off this trend when they first wore shirts emblazoned with Kettering Tyres in January 1976.
Derek Dougan had retired from professional football and took on the role of CEO of Kettering Town Football Club that year – sealing the sponsorship deal in one of his first major acts in the role.
At first this was met with resistance by The FA, who ordered for the logo to be removed.
However, the next year Kettering Town, Derby County and Bolton Wanderers applied for the right to carry sponsorship on their shirts – which led to The FA granting them permission to do so in June 1977.
Since then the number of sponsorships and the fees involved have grown dramatically – this year alone Premier League Football Clubs earned more than £200 million from shirt sponsorship deals.
The top ten shirt sponsorship deals in the world account for revenues of over £300million – none of which could have been possible without Kettering Town and Derek Dougan.
Kevin Shoemake, CEO of the Northamptonshire FA, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to credit such a momentous event in the history of football in the UK to a club in Northamptonshire. Shirt sponsors help clubs at all levels to develop – which might not be possible without the foresight and trailblazing work of Derek Dougan and Kettering Town and for challenging the rules at the time.
“I’m very pleased to see the club making an effort to celebrate its heritage and hope plenty of grassroots football fans turn out to support the club in their upcoming games. It’s also an opportunity for us as well as Clubs and Leagues within the County to thank all the sponsors for the financial support they provide within grassroots football as well as their time, effort and ideas in helping develop the game locally.”