Nowadays football shirt sponsorship is being taken over by gambling companies, with 50% of Premier League clubs sponsored by a betting business. Five of Aston Villa's last six sponsors have been related to gambling:
- 2011-2013: Genting Casinos
- 2013-2015: dafabet
- 2017-2018: Unibet
- 2018-2019: 32Red
- 2019-2020: W88
Prior to this, Villa clinched some more interesting sponsorship deals. From 1993-95, German yoghurt manufacturer, Muller, appeared on the front of their shirts. The home and away thick pin stripe kits featuring Muller are arguably two of Villa's most iconic shirts. And let's not forget that outrageous goalkeeper jersey.
But before Muller, Aston Villa got into bed with Mita Industrial Company Ltd, a Japanese firm that manufactured photocopiers. Their relationship began in February 1984 and lasted until the end of the 1993 season. This 10-season shirt sponsorship deal is the longest in Villa's history.
Mita was founded in July 1948 by Osaka's Mita family. Over the next forty years, the company became truly global, with 49 subsidiaries and 1,800 employees worldwide. Unfortunately for Mita, business went downhill after their sponsorship with Aston Villa ended. This was due to The Lost Decade, a ten year period of economic stagnation in Japan, starting in the early 90s. In 1998, along with more than 10,000 other Japanese businesses, Mita filed for bankruptcy. In January 2000, they were acquired by Kyocera, which put an end to the Mita brand.
Mita sponsored some glorious Aston Villa shirts and we have a few favourites:
Home Shirt, 1987-1989
A shirt designed by Hummel, inspired by that beautiful World Cup 1986 Denmark shirt, that we all know and love. The pin-stripe panel design is an absolute classic. Villa won promotion back to the First Division wearing this shirt in 1987/88.
Home Shirt, 1992-1993
A lace neck collar. Need we say any more?! An absolute stunner from Umbro and a firm fans' favourite to this day. I'm sure Villa fans will have some very fond memories of this shirt; the inaugural Premier League season, the prolific Dalian Atkinson and finishing the season in second place.
Home Shirt, 1990-1992
From a design point of view, this one is our favourite. The detail on the collar is classy, and we are in love with the triangular pattern that covers the main body of the shirt. It's a huge thumbs up from us.
Interesting fact: Aston Villa weren't the only club to be sponsored by Mita. Argentina's Club Atletico Independiente's shirt was sponsored by Mita from 1985 to 1992.
Fans' Favourite have produced a retro football scarf inspired by our favourite Aston Villa shirt design, the kit worn from 1990-92. You can take a look by clicking here.