The Eindhoven Revolution: Life without Nike and Philips
What do the likes of Ronaldo, Van Nistelrooy, Robben, Van Bommel, Cocu, Depay, and Strootman have in common? They have all won cups wearing the Nike sponsored kit of one of the most prestigious clubs in the Netherlands and in Europe: Philips Sport Vereniging, known simply as PSV Eindhoven.
The collaboration between the PSV and Nike began in 1995, when the ‘Boeren’, or farmers (a nickname recalling the proletariat origins of the city), reached second place in the Eredivisie. That same season, they won the Dutch Cup thanks to the performances of Ronaldo (who would soon set sail for Barcelona), Luc Nilis and Phillip Cocu.
After twenty long years, the partnership has ended the way it began: in victory. Following last season’s Eredivise title, the red and whites have signed a contract with Umbro until 2020. The revolution at PSV Eindhoven however, is far deeper than a change in athletic sponsor.
After 34 years, Philips will no longer have its name on the kit. This marks the end of the longest running brand sponsorship in football, dating back to 1982 (before which PSV’s kits had no brand logo). The multinational electronics company, which founded the club in 1917, will however remain PSV’s main benefactor. Their name will no longer be on the red and white shirts, PSV and Philips will always be indelibly tied and to ensure that, the Philips Stadion will retain its name.
Separating these historic sponsors, from the ‘Boeren’s’ kits may trouble many of the club’s more traditional supporters. The victories and talent put on display by the legendary Eindhoven sides of the last several decades will always conjure up images of the block lettering across the front. For fans of PSV Eindhoven and football fans in general, those brands are romanticized by memories of champions and championships.
The 2015 season marks the beginning of a new era for this working class club from Eindhoven. Now, it’s up to the fans, player, and staff of PSV to create new memories, and special moments. The kits may feel a bit unfamiliar at first when seen through the prism of a television screen, but a simple trip to the Philips Stadion, and there is no mistaking the incredible identity of PSV Eindhoven.