Football: Cheers to the EPL's longest friendship

Football: Cheers to the EPL's longest friendship
From left: Everton players Steven Naismith, John Stones, Phil Jagielka, Gerard Deulofeu and Seamus Coleman at a Chang Beer fan meet held at the InterContinental Singapore Hotel.

At a time when football sponsorships are as short-lived as the jerseys they adorn, one partnership has withstood the test of time and money in the English Premier League (EPL) .

At 11 years and counting, Chang Beer and Everton boast the EPL's longest-standing sponsorship deal, one that is not merely concerned with just the commercial side of things, but also the human aspect.

"This goes beyond marketing dollars - it is a friendship," said former Everton player and current club ambassador Ian Snodin. "There is an ethos shared by both sides to inspire the community and get more youngsters involved in the game."

Chang and Everton extended their partnership for another three years last season, in a deal reportedly worth more than £16 million (S$34 million). And while the figure may be some way off the reported £47 million-per-year shirt sponsorship deal Chevrolet signed with Manchester United, the club believe they have a value proposition.

"A chance meeting over 11 years ago has been followed by a rich, multi-faceted and rewarding relationship," Everton chief executive Robert Elstone told The Straits Times. "It's given us an invaluable platform to tell Asian fans and communities what Everton is all about."

In 2004, Everton were among the first to offer help in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami which ravaged Thailand.

More than £100,000 was raised to rebuild a village in the Phang Nga province.

Since then, the special connection the club have with Thailand has blossomed to helping groom young football talent and coaches across the country and raising awareness for the 2011 floods .

But it is not just Thais who are benefiting. Chang, in return, are strong supporters of the club's corporate social responsibility efforts in Liverpool, supporting initiatives to help the homeless in Liverpool, among others.

The partnership works very much in the spirit of the Everton In The Community initiative, the club's multiple award-winning official charity.

As former striker and ambassador Graeme Sharp aptly said: "Everton is known as a family club in England so we aim to extend our reputation around the world. We hope that one day, when people come to realise the essence of our club, Everton will be as popular as Manchester United and Liverpool."

This article was first published on July 17, 2015.
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