Football: Show United the mad money

Football: Show United the mad money
(From left) Peter ter Kulve, President of Unilever for South-east Asia, Andy Cole, former Manchester United player and Jamie Reigle, Manchester United's Asia-Pacific chief, at a press conference to announce a United-Unilever tie-up.

Modern football sold its soul a long time ago.

Still, no one ever thought the game would sell fabric softener.

While the rest of the planet focused on mundane sporting issues such as World Cup play-offs and international friendlies in recent weeks, Manchester United concentrated on inking a deal with their new laundry partner.

That's right. A club of United's stature need a laundry partner.

In the UK at least, a laundry partner has disturbing connotations. The 24-hour local laundry - or laundrette - is often a place to take a girl as a last resort to keep out of the freezing rain and maybe sit on the spin dryer when no-one's looking.

So when I discovered that Wayne Rooney and company had laundry partners in nine countries, I immediately thought: My word, those boys have been busy. No wonder their form has been so erratic.

I thought Ashley Young had been hanging out in seedy, rundown laundrettes across South-east Asia. He does like a dive after all.

But his club had merely signed their 872nd sponsorship deal in South-east Asia. Unilever and United agreed on a three-year sponsorship agreement across nine countries, including Singapore.

Astonishingly, this news was dutifully carried across all media outlets in the region. Most seemed gleefully happy to report that United had chosen Unilever to be the club's "first official personal care and laundry partner in South-east Asia".

There are thousands of questions spinning around, but I'll settle on two. Why do United need an official laundry partner? Why do they need one in South-east Asia?

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