The Scottish first division club Hamilton Academical F.C. (1874) known locally as "The Accies" have clinched a new kit deal with sportswear giants Nike.The deal, which is effectively a ‘rolling contract’, is expected to last for at least three years, starting with season 2007/08.
Hamilton’s new kit is a traditional hooped design, with Nike design features which include mesh side-panels on the shirt.
After agreeing a "very amicable" severance with Wishaw-based suppliers TFG, it is hoped that Hamilton will wear the new Nike-branded kit in their last game of the season, against St Johnstone at New Douglas Park on April 28.
A lucrative deal has also been struck, which will see Soccer1st’s Tom Robertson take over running of the club shop, which will sell Accies-branded Nike gear as well as other lines.
Accies will receive a percentage of profits from the shop, which is expected to be open for Hamilton’s next home game, against Ross County on March 31.
Vice-chairman Les Gray is delighted with the deal and said it’s testament to how far Accies have progressed in recent years.
He said: "We’re absolutely delighted — Nike are recognised as one of the best manufacturers on the planet.
"We think the fans will enjoy wearing the kit and leisure-wear and we’re much more likely to shift more gear with a Nike brand.
"When it’s a club like Hamilton, every penny counts.
Les added: "TFG have been excellent and have given us good quality kit, so there are absolutely no complaints — but there comes a time when you just want to get something that’s bit better, more upmarket.
"We’ve now got a brand on board like Nike, so we’re delighted.
"This deal is something that we have looked at over the years; in fact, we considered going to Nike when we took over the club.
"The severance deal with TFG was very amicable, and we came to an agreement that everybody is happy with."
Gray believes that the deal will also please customers, who will have much better access to the club shop and availability of replica strips.
He said: "Over the years we have had complaints about the shop not being open, or about stock levels, but at the end of the day we’re people who run a football club — we’re not manufacturers or retailers.
"The bottom line is that it makes sense for us to outsource the shop to people who do have this background and they can run it properly.
"Nike own the shop, they will stock it and Tom Robertson will be running it.
"It will be a better brand, fans will have more choice and we want the shop to do well.
"The difference now is that if we need one strip, or 100 strips, Nike will supply us with them immediately rather than having to wait for the next batch to arrive."
Gray and chairman Ronnie MacDonald are currently in discussions with Nike over next season’s away kit design.
Manager Billy Reid is delighted the club has agreed the deal and said: "The quality of kit from Nike is of a great standard — teams like Celtic have it as well.
"It’s a good brand for the fans to buy, and I know the players are happy to be wearing Nike tracksuits, training kit and strips, which is pleasing for them as well."
Tom Robertson commented: "There have been talks over the last while and we’re delighted to link up with Hamilton. I believe it be beneficial to both parties.
"The shop should be open on March 31, but obviously the Hamilton kit won’t be ready until the end of this season. We will be selling teamwear and merchandise with the Nike and Adidas brands, and can provide kit for school, youth or amateur teams."