Aston Villa are delighted to announce a shirt partnership with Acorns Children's Hospice that will see the hospice name carried on team shirts for the 2008/09 season.
The relationship between Aston Villa Football Club and Acorns began through the Club's support of the children's hospice over two years ago. Since then, players and staff have had the opportunity to learn about the organization through meeting children, parents and nurses as well as Acorns' CEO, David Strudley, and other key members of staff.
It is through these very personal connections that their relationship has evolved to the point where they approached Acorns about becoming a partner and appearing on the match day shirt.
As is the case with all clubs in the Premiership and beyond, Aston Villa is in pursuit of lucrative commercial sponsors. Conscious of ticket prices and fan expectation they are constantly benchmarking theirselves both regionally and nationally. What's more, they are aware that new stadia are driving-up expectations for match-day hospitality and again they are striving to react with one eye on tradition and the other on progress.
But Aston Villa's history and heritage remain fundamental values that cannot be ignored and all these factors shaped their internal expectations regarding the sponsorship value of their shirt and the esteem in which they hold and cherish whatever symbol or message appears on it.
Aston Villa regard this partnership as more important and more valuable than any commercial opportunity presented to them.
To some extent, placing Acorns on their match day shirt is an experiment. But it is already an involvement with which they, as an organisation, feel increasingly positive. It is their hope that they are able to introduce this partnership to new and existing business relationships which will generate economic value to support the Club's competitive ambitions and, at the same time giving a truly wonderful organisation a significant platform from which to touch more people.