One First Division title, two FA Cup Finals, one League Cup runners-up medal and an FA Cup Charity Shield. Quite some success for a shirt sponsor so obscure that most football fans still don’t have a clue who they are.
Before the days of mind-boggling, multi-million-pound TV deals, football clubs were looking to make additional cash wherever they could find it. Shirt sponsorship seemed like an easy way to bring in extra revenue. At the time, sponsorship fees were much smaller. Arsenal picked up a sponsorship deal with JVC in 1981 worth £500,000 (£1.9m in todays money). Compare that to their current deal with Emirates that’s worth over £200m.
The lower fees for shirt sponsorship meant that smaller brands, such as Hafnia, were able to appear on the front of football shirts.
Hafnia, which is Latin for Copenhagen, was a Danish canned meat company. During the 60s it was one of many Danish canning factories distributing worldwide. But funnily enough, you could never buy a can of Hafnia’s ham in the UK. It sounds like we dodged a bullet though, as a Washington Post article from 1980 describes it as “so dry that it crumbled.” Crumbly ham? Doesn’t sound good to me.
The deal between Everton and Hafnia was struck in 1979. They remained on the front of Everton shirts for 6 years, until the end of the 1985 season. The sponsor appeared on 8 shirts in total; that’s three different home shirts and five change strips.
Hafnia’s first game as Everton sponsor came on 18th August 1979. John Bailey made his Everton debut that day, as a crowd of 27,555 at Goodison watched the Toffees lose 4-2 against Norwich.
The first major trophy won with Hafnia was the FA Cup at the end of the 1984, Everton’s first piece of silverware for 14 years. Everton beat Watford 2-0; Graeme Sharp fired the first goal in off the post and Andy Gray sealed the game with a controversial goal, heading the ball from in between the keepers hands.
Howard Kendall’s all-conquering team went on to win the league championship and European Cup Winner’s Cup in the 1984-85 season. Unfortunately for Hafnia, they were not able to feature on the shirt during the ECWC final due to European law on sponsorship.
Hafnia’s deal ended in 1985, and the brand was dissolved shortly after with the name being passed onto Tyson Foods. Following the break down in sponsorship, NEC took over for the next 10 years.
Last year, rumours surfaced that Polean Foods were looking to revive the Hafnia brand. We can only pray that Hafnia replaces Angry Birds as Everton’s sleeve sponsor.
Fan’s Favourite have produced a retro football scarf inspired by the shirt from the 1985 title winning season. You can purchase it by clicking here.