Steve Bettis, United’s chief executive, told The Star at least seven other companies, including previous supplier Adidas, were invited to make presentations to the club’s owners before the decision to accept the Parma based company’s offer was taken.
The agreement, which covers every team within the United World network, is being described as a “sponsorship” rather than partnership because it will see funds channelled into Bramall Lane’s coffers over the next few seasons.
“We met with around eight (suppliers) over a considerable period of time,” Bettis explained. “One of those was our old one and obviously another was Errea. They were all well-known commercial operations and there were certain things that we were looking for.
“Gradually, as that went on and the talks continued, we started whittling them down one by one and then picked Errea. There were a number of reasons for that but, basically, it was because they demonstrated they were able to provide all of the things we were looking for and fitted all of the different criteria.”
One of the most important, other than the financial advantages of the deal, is the fact that Errea are prepared to provide bespoke designs for United, Beerschot, Chateauroux, Kerala United and Al-Hilal United; who complete HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz’s portfolio of football clubs.
Although Bettis stressed they had been happy with the service Adidas provided, United were not afforded the same luxury by the German based multinational - instead being asked to select from a series of predetermined templates.
Representatives from UW were present at Errea’s headquarters near Parma, when the contracts were signed on Thursday.
“Clearly, there’s a financial aspect to this and the numbers are better for us,” Bettis said. “But we think supporters will like the idea that we will be wearing something that’s unique moving forward.
“I believe that befits the stature of our club.”