IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield striker Andy Waterworth confident of success on and off the pitch

Andy Waterworth at Wednesday's launch
Andy Waterworth at Wednesday's launch

Linfield skipper Andy Waterworth believes a new sponsorship deal with global sportswear brand Umbro will bring success on and off the pitch in the season ahead.

The Blues signed up to an impressive five-year contract, which will make the Manchester-based company the Belfast club’s official technical kit partner – and also the shirt sponsors.

Both parties have enjoyed a long standing and successful partnership – not notably during the Blues’ ‘Clean Sweep’ season back in 2006.

“It’s a massive boost to the club that a big name such as Umbro wants to come on board,” said Waterworth.

“There is no question that last season was disappointing in terms of lack of trophy success, but now is not the time to look back.

“This new deal with Umbro signals the start of a new season. We are back in a few weeks for pre-season training – we will be playing in the Europa League at the end of the month, so we are all looking forward to getting started again.

“The boys are still enjoying their little break away from the game, but we are certainly looking forward to the European draw. We’ve been to the Faroe Islands for the last three or four years – it wouldn’t surprise me if we have to go back there.

“It’s important the boys use this time off to recharge the batteries – although the season feels like it has just finished.

“Come June 13, I know everyone will be buzzing and hungry and will have the desire to go again.”

Michael Scholz, General manager for Umbro, who is the technical kit partner to more than 110 professional clubs, including, Everton, PSV Eindhoven and West Ham United, added: “We are delighted to be re-establishing our partnership with Linfield -- a club with an unprecedented record of success of its glorious 130 year history.”

Linfield’s new home kit will be revealed later this month, ahead of the club’s Europa League qualifier.