English League One football club Bolton Wanderers has signed a five-year stadium naming-rights deal with local recyclable building products manufacturer Toughsheet.
As part of the deal, the venue will be officially rebranded as the Toughsheet Community Stadium from July 1. Toughsheet will replace the University of Bolton as the stadium’s naming-rights sponsor.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Bolton said the agreement is the largest sponsorship deal in its history. Toughsheet was founded in Bolton in 1968 and currently employs over 85 people from its base in Westhoughton.
Bolton has been working with the Sporting Group International agency since September to find a new stadium sponsor. The club met with around 20 companies, including the University of Bolton, before agreeing a deal with Toughsheet.
Dougi Mercer, managing director of Toughsheet, said: “As Bolton Wanderers fans, this is a dream come true and a huge moment for everyone involved in Toughsheet.
“We had spent some years feeling disillusioned with the club but since (Bolton chairman) Sharon Brittan and her team have been at the helm, that feeling has dissipated. Bolton Wanderers has been transformed under her stewardship into a financially stable, true community club.
“It’s because of the team of staff now in post at Bolton Wanderers that we jumped at the chance to be involved. What better moment to join this journey and be part of what is happening here.”
Mercer’s wife Bernie, a lifelong Bolton fan, passed away from breast cancer seven years ago. Mercer said his wife’s support of the club was inspiration for agreeing the sponsorship deal with Bolton.
He told The Bolton News: “She was absolutely besotted. She loved everything about Bolton Wanderers. She died of breast cancer but was literally still going to games three weeks before she passed away, on crutches, on medication, she just adored the place.
“This is all a little memorial to her because she would have been chuffed to bits to see us doing this.”
Brittan added: “When we met with Dougi and his team as part of the process to find a new stadium naming-rights partner, it was clear straight away that they live and breathe Bolton.
“Lifelong fans, they have built a hugely successful business in the town with an impressive green agenda that employs local people. Their love for Bolton Wanderers and for Bolton itself is what set them apart as the right company for the club to team up with.
“Through this partnership, they now play an immensely significant role in helping us take the next step forward in securing the longer-term stability of the club and our ambitious plans for the future.”
The University of Bolton has sponsored the stadium since 2018. The venue was known as the Macron Stadium from 2014 to 2018, and as the Reebok Stadium from 1997 to 2014.
Brittan added: “The University of Bolton have proved to be a loyal, supportive and steadfast partner that stood shoulder to shoulder with Bolton Wanderers during some of our most difficult days.
“Sponsorship from the university afforded us time during the administration period to build Bolton Wanderers back up from the ground. Their impact cannot be understated, and we will forever regard them as a true friend of the club.
“I’m sure I speak on behalf of all Wanderers when I extend a heartfelt and sincere thank-you to the University of Bolton. And I would like to personally thank Professor George Holmes for his unwavering support during my time as chairman of this fabulous football club.”