Rangers interim vice-chairman John Bennett’s latest comments make it abundantly clear that the Mike Ashley kit nightmare is no more.
On Sunday morning, the Gers officially announced a partnership with Castore, who will be the club’s kit suppliers from the 2020/21 season [Rangers.co.uk].
🆕 #RangersFC is delighted to announce Castore, the fastest growing premium British sportswear brand, as its official kit and retail partner from the 2020-21 football season.#BetterNeverStops | #ANewEra
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) May 17, 2020
It had been rumoured for some time that the up and coming British brand would be the new retail partners and the deal is described as “one of the most valuable commercial partnerships in the club’s recent history.”
For many years, Rangers have been locked in legal battles with Mike Ashley and Sports Direct, with the Ibrox Megastore – a major revenue stream – shut to fans.
Despite hints from the club in a ‘Commercial Update‘ earlier in the month, there had been some speculation on social media that Ashley was a part-owner of Castore and therefore, would still be involved in the new deal.
However, while he doesn’t mention Ashley specifically, Rangers interim vice-chairman John Bennett has now made it abundantly clear that this deal is free of any outside influence and represents a new chapter.
“Kit and merchandise has been one of the great challenges faced by Rangers and its loyal supporters in recent years, and this wonderful new partnership with Castore offers us a new beginning,” he said, as quoted by Rangers.co.uk. “This is a clean slate. A fresh start. A new era.”
“To be able to offer the products of our outstanding new partner at our Ibrox home is very significant. We can’t wait to see our supporters once again going through the megastore doors.’’
Castore may not be a global sportswear giant but it’s clear they have big ambitions and that this is a unique partnership which will directly benefit Rangers.
Previous shambolic deals with Ashley’s Sports Direct had supporters reluctant to buy kits or, in recent times, heading to the relatively small Rangers store in central Glasgow to make their purchases.
Now, though, there’s the promise of high-quality kits available on-site at the stadium with a significant percentage of sales going to the club.
While the shirt designs are yet to be released, there’s plenty about this new arrangement that’s likely to have Bears excited.