We’ve been here before!
When the rather surprising news broke last week that Ed Sheeran would be the new shirt sponsor of Ipswich Town, it caught most people off-guard. While initially looking like a belated April Fools joke from a club Twitter account, the announcement was in fact totally real, with the Suffolk-raised singer using the shirts of his boyhood team to promote an upcoming tour throughout the 2021/22 season.
As yet, we do not know exactly what the new shirt sponsor will look like (although we did have a go at mocking one up), but there are some prior examples of music football shirts which Ed and Ipswich can take notes from, and we have listed some of them here. You can thank us later, Ed.
Also a quick shout-out to Neal Heard and his incredible book ‘The Football Shirts Book: The Connoisseur’s Guide’, which has an entire section dedicated to this exact phenomena!
Goldie Lookin’ Chain x Newport County AFC, 2004/05 FAW Cup shirt
Perhaps the most famous example of artists supporting their local team has come from Wales’ own Goldie Lookin’ Chain, who sponsored their beloved Newport County for their FAW Cup games. The simple ‘glc’ logo, matched with the chain around the collar worked perfectly with the golden colours of the Welsh side’s jersey.
Super Furry Animals x Cardiff City FC, 1999 FAW Cup shirt
What is it with the FAW Cup and musically sponsored football shirts? Welsh rock band, Super Furry Animals were the precursors to Goldie Lookin’ Chain, when in 1999 they appeared on their local team’s shirts for their FAW Cup games. The clash of the futuristic SFA logo and the old-style lace-up collar works surprisingly well too!
Fontaines D.C. x Bohemians FC, 2020/21 League of Ireland Away shirt
Let’s get on to some more recent examples! This season, Dublin band Fontaines D.C. teamed up with Bohemians FC and Focus ireland – a charity which works to help the homeless in Ireland – to create this stunning pin-striped jersey. Fontaines D.C. are already the epitome of cool, and this shirt no doubt had fans Dublin and beyond trying to pull off the shirt x plaid trousers combo that the lads are so effortlessly repping in the launch pictures.
Jake Bugg x Notts County FC, 2017/18 – Present Home and Away shirts
While Ed Sheeran is just arriving in the shirt sponsorship game, Jake Bugg has been around for four years now. The Notts County fan first sponsored his team when they were in League 2, back in 2017, and has appeared on their jerseys ever since, now sponsoring their away shirt as they compete in the National League. Much like Ed Sheeran’s intentions to help his team through investment, Jake Bugg saw the same opportunity with Notts back then, which has given us these very cool, and very original shirt sponsors.
The Libertines x Margate FC, 2018/19 – Present Home and Away shirts
Now we aren’t giving our prizes on this list, but if we were then these Libertines sponsored Margate jerseys would almost definitely win ‘most unique design’. Since partnering in 2018, the controversial group have featured on the front of the kits of the seaside town, and over the years Margate have matched the craziness of the band’s ‘90s exploits in the design of their shirts.
Motörhead x Greenbank FC Under-10s, 2006 Home and Away shirts
Some artists have bypassed the glamour of top level, professional football to instead support youth teams, and one such example was Lemmy, the legendary frontman of Motörhead. The late singer knew the manager of Greenbank FC’s U10s, and was said to be more than happy for the club to add his band’s snaggletooth logo to their shirts. Combine that with the team running out knot the pitch to Ace of Spades, and Greenbank FC must have been the most feared team on the U10 circuit in 2006.
Mogwai x St Roch’s Primary School, 2018 Home and Away shirts
Scotland’s Mogwai followed in Lemmy’s footsteps, supporting St Roch’s Primary, a local Glasgow school whose deputy head knew drummer Martin Bulloch. With the school struggling to afford new kits, Mogwai helped out by providing a set of excellent green/black and blue/black music football shirts for the school team. Any chance we could get Mogwai in the Premier League sponsorships?
Many of these music football shirts were done out of a love for the singer or band’s team, with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Jake Bugg and others trying to support their clubs in troubling times. It is an interesting investment model, and clearly works to serve both parties involved, while also giving us shirt collectors a new and unusual jersey to hunt for.
And while a lot of these musicians might realise that their name may never be on the back of their club’s shirts, at least they can get on the front!