Pompey closing in on potential Sondico replacement

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin Picture: Joe Pepler
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Mark Catlin has pledged Pompey have ‘learnt their lesson’ as they close in on a new kit supplier.

Current-provider Sondico’s existing five-year agreement with the club expires next summer.

Times have changed since we signed with Sondico. When we came out of administration in 2013, our priorities were slightly different

Mark Catlin

The subsidiary of Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has proven unpopular with many Blues supporters, attracting criticism over quality and availability.

Sports Direct also run the Pompey store, which is situated on the corner of Goldsmith Avenue and Fratton Way.

The Blues have been examining alternatives for more than a year, with the search spreading across Europe and America.

Chief executive Catlin declined to comment whether the partnership with Sondico would be extended.

However, he admitted talks are ongoing with another supplier following a ‘rigorous’ selection process.

He said: ‘In regards to the new kit supplier, that is in progress. We are talking to a specific supplier, but no deal as yet has been concluded.

‘We have learnt our lesson over the last five years and will be taking those on board along with the views of our fan base.

‘It has been the most rigorous selection process I have ever been involved in, either inside or outside of football.

‘It has been an in-depth analysis, looking into every aspect of this side of the business in regards to visiting numerous factories and head offices of various kit suppliers, and taking references from every single club.

‘It has been a very, very rigorous process.

‘Times have changed since we signed with Sondico. When we came out of administration in 2013, our priorities were slightly different.

‘The club had been on the verge of bankruptcy and pretty much the day we came out we were facing an uphill task, so the financial aspect of it was key.

‘As I have consistently said, the agreement with our current kit company at that time was an outstanding financial deal.

‘The club is in a completely different situation now.

‘While, obviously, finances are important, there are other aspects we can thankfully consider such as the brand reputation, commitment to quality, commitment to fans and commitment to the community.

‘There are a whole host of other aspects that we are now in a position to look at as part of a wider package.’

The potential change of kit supplier would prove popular among the Fratton faithful.

However, Sondico remain contracted with the club until the season’s end.

Catlin added: ‘Our current kit supplier deal runs to the end of the season so it would be very unprofessional to start naming and talking about a new company until we approach the end of our current contract.

‘We believe we have identified the correct company and hopefully, over the coming months, we will be in a position to tell our fans when the deal is completed.’