Retro Reebok football shirts
In English football Reebok kits have largely disappeared in recent years with their long running deal with Bolton Wanderers (that also included naming rights for their stadium) eventually coming to a close in 2012 with adidas taking over the contract. Interestingly though adidas currently own the Reebok brand.
The company actually started in the Bolton area in 1890 as J.W. Foster and Sons with the originator, Joseph William Foster, creating an innovative spiked running shoe. Two of his grandsons later took over the brand (then known as Mercury Sports) and renamed it Reebok (from the Afrikaans spelling of ‘rhebok’ - an African antelope) in 1958. The company continued to specialise in footwear at this time.
In the late 1970s the company moved massively into the American market and began to develop an excellent reputation in the country. They also began to diversify into all sports, rather than just focussing on fitness and exercise. Golf, hockey, baseball and basketball are among the many sports that Reebok have been involved in.
Their major football contract though was without doubt with Liverpool (although West Ham and Manchester City have also worn Reebok in the past) and they began supplying the team’s famous red jersey in 1996, taking over from adidas, before being subsequently replaced by adidas in 2006 when the German giants purchased the Reebok brand. They supplied some superb outfits for the Anfield club during their 10-year tenure including the groundbreaking ecru away kit in 1996.
Today although the brand can be seen in America (from 2002 to 2012 they had exclusive rights on all NFL jerseys and apparel), Australia (Reebok dominated the A-League kits from the mid-2000s until 2011) and India.
Individual sponsorship deals have included Ryan Giggs and Thierry Henry.