I’m Woodies DIY

While Bohemians fans may sing about being Bohs till they die, for Shamrock Rovers the song sometimes sung is “I know I am, I’m sure I am, I’m Woodies DIY.” The famous Shamrock Rovers green and white hooped jersey over the past decade has had the same main sponsor, Woodies DIY. It is certainly one of the longest sports sponsorship, not just in Irish football, but most likely in Irish sport. When the company took up the sponsorship in the 1990s, the move to Tallaght was first being mooted but the company stayed as main sponsor even when the Rovers Woodies DIY home jersey was being worn in ‘home’ grounds well away from Tallaght. Now that the club has finally come to Tallaght, you can do a spot of DIY shopping in the Woodies store and then walk across Whitestown Way to watch Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght Stadium.

Having club sponsors on the jersey became the norm in the 1980s. For the 1984/85 season, Lifestyle acted as main sponsors for the club and had the honour of having their name on the Rovers kit. Umbro over the past year have brought out two retro Shamrock Rovers 1986 jerseys which include the logo of the sponsor of the time, Quinnsworth. These are replicas of the jerseys worn on the last game in Milltown and home and away to Celtic in the European Cup. By the time Rovers moved to the RDS, Powers Gold Label was plastered on the front of the kit. Last season’s Rovers third kit was purple in homage to the infamous purple away kit the Shamrock Rovers 1993/94 league winning side wore. But back in 1993, it was Whirlpool on the front of that jersey.

The sponsor of the club before we went all DIY was Tennants lager which is currently the main sponsor of both Celtic and Rangers. It is interesting to see that Ranger’s main sponsor is a beer that is manufactured by the Clonmel based Irish drinks company C&C. The deal is worth 10 million euro over three years. Not for the first time, the Old Firm clubs have left their rivalry behind on the pitch to negotiate a joint business deal off it. No doubt one reason for the joint sponsorship is to alleviate the chance that one set of fans may feel it isn’t appropriate to buy a product which sponsors their rival team (which has happened in previous years with Old Firm sponsors). Middlesbrough meanwhile, will have a different shirt sponsor each month this season with the replica kit available in their club shop having no shirt sponsor.

In recent years the jersey has got even more sponsors with the addition of logos on the sleeves and sponsors on the rear of the jersey too. This season’s home jersey has three sponsors on the reverse with Mooney’s and Hyundai above the squad number and the Maldron Hotel below it. With Airtricity coming on board this season as the main sponsor of the League of Ireland, they have their own logo on the sleeves. While some may view our players as walking billboards, it does bring valuable money into the club. Thankfully we haven’t sold our souls or the seat of our pants like some clubs that have sponsors names written across the rear end of their player’s shorts. We’ve only gone for a couple of subtle badges on the shorts. As the replica kits sold in the Rovers club shop (operated by another club sponsor Umbro!) only have the main sponsor on the front, it adds an added incentive for fans in the end of season jersey auction. With a bid high enough they can get their hands on a kit worn by the players which has all the sponsors and league badges while the club raises some additional funds (usually above 4,000 euro).

Not to worry any of our current sponsors here but would fans really boycott a product simply because they sponsor a rival team? Well let’s just say that there are no Des Kelly carpets in my house! The boycott is a classic Irish tactic with the term coming into the English language during the campaign for tenant’s rights during the Irish land war of the 1880s. Landowner Captain Charles Boycott was ostracised by the local community for not granting the Three Fs (fair rent, free sale and fixity of tenure) to his tenants. After the disgraceful sale of Milltown by the Kilcoyne family, Shamrock Rovers fans organised a boycott of home games the following season when the club was brought to Tolka Park. The boycott had the affect of starving money from the Kilcoyne’s who eventually got the hint, sold up and haven’t been seen since around our club since. A similar boycott by fans was muted back in 2004 under the previous Rovers regime when the club finances were in disarray and the move to Tallaght was completely stalled. By withdrawing certain funding and raising this issue, it forced the hand of the owners. Following Examinership thankfully the fans in the 400 club we able to become owners of this great club. Sound financial management since then, including bringing on board a number of new sponsors whose names adorn the club’s kits, has allowed Rovers in recent years to challenge for league titles. This has been done while not jeopardising the club’s future by gambling financially like we have seen so many clubs do. Enjoy the game tonight and on exiting you can pop into the club shop to get some Rovers gear from Umbro and with Woodies DIY closed by then maybe head for a sociable drink or two in the Maldron Hotel (but a soft drink if you are driving your Hyundai car home)!

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  1. Sorcha
    December 5, 2011 at 16:29

    Great piece. But what does this mean for the Woodies DIY discount for members?

    • December 5, 2011 at 17:56

      Would a 10% discount on SEAT cars be too much to ask for?

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