12 July 2016
UKFast, for me, comes full circle today.
Having spent more than a decade as a sponsor of Sale Sharks before ending the contract in 2010, we are now back as the main sponsor.
In the club’s biggest ever sponsorship deal, UKFast will now adorn every shirt!
The rugby club holds some extraordinary memories for me and is truly, very close to my heart. Now that the time is right, as Sale Sharks welcome new owners and a new era, I feel that our values our aligned and I am incredibly proud to return as sponsor.
To be honest, there are too many memories from our decade in the Shark Tank for me to reel off, but one of my stand out memories was when I had just met my now wife and UKFast co-founder, Gail. I was delighted to find out that there was a rugby club around the corner – perfect for a Welsh lad who is rugby obsessed!
At that time I played rugby for a period for Bowdon, before moving to Altrincham-Kersal where I trained with the first team. This was when I first encountered Chris Jones, Mark Weedon and Mark Cueto.
Cueto was and, no doubt, still is an extraordinary player. I remember the first time I saw him run a huge arc around everyone to score a try on the training field. We were not involved with the club then and he was just a local kid, but now, 17 years or so later, he has done a 15-year stint on the pitch and a year in commercial at Sale Sharks and we are back involved.
It really is as though we have come full circle.
Life’s about developing people. Both the rugby club and UKFast are committed to developing the local community and helping our future generations to grow. That’s what makes this deal even more exciting.
It’s a huge honour that UKFast has grown to such an extent that we are to be associated with such an historic club that dates all the way back to 1861. It’s one of the oldest clubs in English rugby and one that has consistently been a leading club in the North of England. This British heritage means a great deal to us. I am really going to help to develop something special here.
I will always remember back to the first day of meeting the Sharks team, I wedged my foot in the door of their portacabin at Heywood Road, back in 2000. They had a good laugh when I predicted their fans would one day use the internet for tickets and news! Since that day, we have developed an extraordinary relationship and made some lifelong friends; UKFast was much smaller back then and we couldn’t afford to give money, so we invested huge amounts of our time and we built technology that helped the club fill the stadium.
I always knew that we would one day return to Sharks, when the time was right. We are working in squash, we are working in athletics, we are working in running and we work with specific athletes, and now we are now back in rugby.
It comes back to that definite link between health and fitness and a successful life. There is no doubt that sport and business are intrinsically linked and I believe that the more we can do to encourage and grow sport and wellbeing in the UK, the more successful we will ultimately be.
This new deal doesn’t just mean a logo on a shirt. I am on a mission to make a real difference here. My goal is to work with the club and share our experience of creating a world-class experience for everyone: fans, players’ wives and families, the press, the away supporters – everyone has to leave the ground on a high.
Over the years, we’ve made some incredible friendships with players, management, fans, and I am so excited to reignite that Friday night magic and making The Sharks the number one go-to event in Manchester again.