After announcing the end of the longest running title sponsorship in UK football last weekend, Ryman League chairman Nick Robinson was always going to be in the news this week with the announcement of a new sponsor expected soon.
Not that the Ryman League chairman had much time for negotiations to unveil a successor last weekend to a two decade long partnership with Ryman Stationers. For the second time in 12 months the qualified football and rugby referee was forced to step in as an emergency official at Great Wakering Rovers, running the line for 70 minutes in the 5-0 win for Dereham Town at Burroughs Park after a linesman picked up an injury early in the first half.
Robinson is used to swapping his suit at the last minute for an emergency loan of kit and a flag, the last time in February 2016 when he stepped in to run the line at Hastings United after referee John Pike collapsed during their 3-3 draw with Corinthian Casuals in Ryman South.
The Ryman League will have a new title sponsor from next season after announcing the ending of a two decade long partnership last weekend and it was extended last term into a 20th season until the end of the 2016-17 campaign..
Having led the way in sponsorship since securing Rothmans in 1973 as football’s first title sponsors, Theo Paphitis stepped with his nationwide stationers in 1997 and has sponsored the Isthmian League ever since, adding the Ryman Youth League and Ryman Development League as they were introduced. This season, clubs played with specially produced match balls marked with the number 20 to celebrate the milestone in sponsorship.
In addition, two of the Ryman chairman’s other flagship companies – Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue – currently sponsor the League Cup and the Women’s Cup. Paphitis and his businesses have also teamed up with the Ryman League’s 72 clubs over the last two decades to raise thousands for charities and good causes, most notably on Red Nose Day.
The Ryman League have also confirmed a new matchball and benchwear sponsorship partnership with leading international sports brand Mitre from the start of the 2017-18 season. Announced at January’s meeting of the Ryman League’s 72 clubs, Mitre have agreed a four year deal with a one year option.