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Umbro ( ) is a United Kingdommarker sportswear and equipment supplier based in Cheadlemarker, Englandmarker. The company is now part of Nikemarker. Umbro designs, sources, and markets sport-related apparel, footwear, and equipment. Its products are sold in over 90 countries worldwide.

Umbro are the current England, FA, and FA Cup suppliers of sports apparel.

History

The company was founded in 1910 in Wilmslowmarker, Cheshiremarker as Humphreys Brothers Clothing.

In 1924, the company changed its name to Umbro, a contraction of its previous name, Humphrey Brothers.

Until the mid 1980s, the company manufactured only sports clothing, in particular football jerseys, shorts, and socks, but had no footware range. Eventually, in 1985 Umbro decided to introduce its first football boot into the Brazilian market. This design, cheaper than the products of existing boot brands such as Adidas, proved popular and went into mass production internationally two years later.

Umbro also manufactured a popular style of shorts that reached its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They were made of nylon, had a drawstring waistband, and often came in bright colors. With the growth of youth football (soccer) leagues in the United Statesmarker in the 1980s, many youths, teens, and young adults began wearing them as everyday clothing. Like football itself, they were equally popular among both genders. At the height of the fashion, other brands of football shorts, such as Adidas, Diadora, Hummel, Lotto and Mitre, also became popular.

In the 1990s, the company relocated from its central Manchestermarker facility to new, state-of-the-art headquarters in Cheadle, on the outskirts of Stockportmarker.

The company today continues to specialise in football kits, clothing, and other football apparel, like boots and training kits.

Its major competitors in this market include Adidas, Nikemarker, Lotto, Puma, and fellow North West England manufacturer Reebok.

On 19 October 2007, JJB Sports bought a 10.1% stake in Umbro in a move to protect its stake in the market for England football shirts.

On 23 October 2007, it was announced Umbro had agreed to be bought by Nike in a deal worth £285 million ($580 million), the equivalent of 193p per share. The Umbro board recommended to its shareholders they vote in favour of the approach as it offered a very competitive price for the business. Umbro's share price at the time of the offer was close to 130p. The deal was approved by regulators in December 2007 and concluded in February 2008.

Products

Umbro currently manufactures all types of sports wear apparel including training gear and football boots. Umbro also produce casual clothes and shoes, including a line by British designer Kim Jones. The company is also a major player in kit manufacture for some of the world's best known teams.

Umbro have recently launched their new hi-technology SX Boot. Deco has been playing in the boots which are visually striking with different colours for each foot, reflecting the left (logical, assertive) and right (intuitive, creative and passionate) sides of the brains. The boot uses Michelin tyre manufacturing-related technology which improves control by up to 90%.

Umbro's products have been endorsed by many professional athletes around the world.

Kit manufacturing

Umbro has produced kits for very many notable football teams since establishment. Its first kit was produced in 1934, for Manchester City, who won the FA Cup that year.

Over the years since, Umbro has produced kits for innumerable professional teams around the world, as well as referee kits for some leagues. As of 4 June 2009, Umbro are now, once again, sponsoring Manchester City in a ten year sponsorship deal rumoured to be worth £50 million.

In addition to club teams, Umbro also produced playing kits for a wide variety of international teams across four continents. During the 1966 FIFA World Cup, all but one of the 16 participating teams wore Umbro kits. The England national team wore Umbro shirts by choice until 1974, until the Football Association, encouraged by the England manager Don Revie, sold the jersey manufacturing rights to the Admiral company in a move then unprecedented in English sport. In 1982 the FA returned to Umbro as England jersey manufacturers and they have remained so ever since.

However, their comparative size has meant that Umbro have suffered in recent years, with many of the big clubs they provided for now choosing to accept higher financial bids for shirt manufacture contracts from the big two of Nike and Adidas (notably including Celtic, Manchester United, Ajax, and Chelsea. In addition to this Puma have vastly increased their participation in football and now provide many national teams with kits. Still, Umbro managed to retain their long-standing partnership with The FA and, often in cooperation with JJB Sports, gained contracts for a number of clubs in recent years, including Rangers and several other Welsh, English & Scottish clubs. They have recently renewed their deal with Birmingham City.

Umbro currently are the official sports manufacturer of the English FA Cup and official sponsor of the new Wembley Stadiummarker. Umbro will partner The FA in the further development of the National Football Centre (NFC) at Burton-upon-Trentmarker, becoming the title sponsor of the Centre. Umbro is also the exclusive supplier of footballs to The FA.

Umbro have also manufactured kits for Rugby Union (the Irish National team and London Irish), Athletics and rugby league.

Umbro and United Soccer Leagues

Umbro was the majority owner (94%) of United Soccer Leagues, the parent organization for North America's lower division men's soccer (tiers two through four in the American Soccer Pyramid), and the second tier women's league (W-League) and youth league (Super Y-League).

During the 2009 USL First Division season, the Carolina RailHawks, Charleston Battery, Vancouver Whitecaps, Rochester Rhinos, Austin Aztex, and Puerto Rico Islanders all wore Umbro kits.

References

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7057577.stm


External links





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