Manchester United watch partner promises 'exciting' addition to Old Trafford

Bulova are replacing Hublot, who erected a distinctive Tower in the Old Trafford car park

Manchester United's new global watch partner Bulova has promised an 'exciting' new development at Old Trafford in 2014 as part of their three-year sponsorship.

Bulova are replacing Hublot, who erected a distinctive Tower in the Old Trafford car park which, for obvious reasons, has now been taken down.

However, Greg Thumm, president of the Bulova Corporation, has plans in place for an alternative, which he is sure will prove to be even more popular.

"In the second half of next year there will be a tailor-made product built for Old Trafford," he said.

"I don't want to say too much at this stage but it will be a very exciting new addition.

"Put it this way, if I was a fan, I would be wanting to have my photograph taken alongside it."

The contract with Bulova represents another success for United's expanding commercial empire, which will shortly have an office in New York in addition to the one already opened in Hong Kong.

Yet whilst the club continues to exploit its massive global following, closer to home executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is proving to be far more accessible than the man he replaced in running the day-to-day business of the club, David Gill.

Famously, following the controversial Glazer family takeover in 2005, Gill ended formal communication with United's major fans groups.

He often went further, denouncing the Manchester United Supporters' Trust in particular for the consistent 'anti-Glazer' agenda, and insisting the club was run on acceptable business lines despite the eye-watering debt their leveraged buy-out accrued.

For their part, MUST distrusted Gill for going back on pre-takeover statements which highlighted the negative effect of the Glazers' potential involvement.

However, with Gill now detached from the scene after joining UEFA's executive committee, Woodward has taken a more pragmatic view of the situation.

And on Tuesday he met senior MUST figures for talks described as "very constructive" in which both sides outlined their vision for the future.

It is envisaged further meetings will take place, with Woodward, who has also met the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association and whom recently gave an exclusive interview to independent fanzine 'United We Stand', keen to answer criticism the club are more interested in their global fan base, rather than the rank and file on their doorstep.

Yet, as ever, the perceptions of the club are results dependent, although Thumm is adamant Bulova's partnership will endure even if United fail to replicate their trophy gathering escapades of the Sir Alex Ferguson era under new boss David Moyes.

"Manchester United has a vast global support," said Thumm.

"If they don't have a winning season, does that mean the support will disappear? Will the stadium suddenly be empty? I don't think so.

"Even Sir Alex Ferguson had years when he didn't win, when he first took over and when he had to rebuild later in his time at the club.

"Football in the United States is growing hugely. You only have to look at the new NBC contract for the Premier League to see that.

"Chevrolet will be the new shirt sponsor for next season. These things are not happening by accident.

"Whether it wins or loses, there is the same level of importance attached to Manchester United."

PA

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