Words John Edwards | Pictures Jonathan Moore
MARC Darcy owner Chan Johal has instigated countless ways of demonstrating his invaluable backing for Altrincham, and one of them rendered in-form Robins forward Justin Amaluzor almost speechless a few weeks ago.
A Marc Darcy Menswear board that stretches along the top of the Community Sports Hall is perhaps the most visible evidence of his sterling support for the club, but there was another reminder when he kindly consented to sponsor a match and was carrying out the duties that go with it.
One of the many joys of being match sponsor, quite apart from the sumptuous hospitality laid on by the catering team, is that you get to choose who receives the Harvey Nichols bottle of champagne as star man.
As the players left the field, Chan had already decided the recipient should be Justin. As studs clattered across the tarmac at the side of the pitch en route to the dressing room, he reached another decision - Justin should be suited as well as booted!
Presenting the bubbly to Alty's livewire winger in the Mornflake Sponsors' Lounge soon after, Chan warmly congratulated him on his performance before adding, to Justin's open-mouthed amazement, "pop in to see us sometime, and we'll fix you up with a three-piece suit."
No doubt the dazzling runs and eye for goal that have made our summer signing such an instant hit was the icing on the cake for a memorable afternoon for you, Chan, but you made his day, too, with your kind, generous gesture.
It's another fabulous feather in the club's cap to have this relationship and be part of a stellar list of Marc Darcy partners that includes clubs from the Premier League, such as Everton and West Ham, and the EFL, as well as England Rugby League, Salford Red Devils and, from the union code, high-flying Sale Sharks.
“When you look at the partnerships Marc Darcy has within football, it feels a privilege to be associated with the brand," commented Alty Director of Partnerships and Sponsors Sam Mackenzie. "The advertising board is the tip of the iceberg with Marc Darcy. They consistently support us in other ways, such as Christmas lunch for the community, end-of-season awards, free school tickets, buying hospitality and much more. Their suits are pretty cool too - who doesn’t love to look on point?!”
Salford-based, Chan's company are award-winning internationally-renowned trailblazers with a reputation that is spreading far and wide, but it's closer to home where he feels a special affinity.
"Altrincham Football Club are my local team," he explained. "The hospitality is the best, Sam and the team (directors, manager, CEO, etc) make you feel so welcome. The fans are very passionate, and I would call Altrincham FC a proper football club.
"We at Marc Darcy are so proud to be sponsors of Altrincham FC. What a great start to the season it has been, and hopefully this will be the year that Altrincham will get promoted to the Football League."
Marc Darcy are fresh from winning yet another prestigious award after being named once more the Drapers Independents Menswear Brand of the Year less than two months ago.
Writing on their website, https://marcdarcy.co.uk, they wrote: "This achievement is a testament to our commitment to delivering high-quality stylish menswear that resonates with the modern gentleman.
"Over the last year, we have been working on our range, introducing more wool mix styles, a new range of footwear and, after high demand, double-breasted blazers. With more double-breasted styles planned for launch in the coming months, we think the styles strike the perfect balance between timeless elegance and contemporary style, making them a firm favourite among fashion-conscious men.
"We have also got a few more surprises in the pipeline, so keep your eyes peeled for exclusive first access via our newsletter."
The Marc Darcy showroom is located at their headquarters in Salford and is attached to their 100,000-plus piece stocked warehouse. It boasts the full collection of Marc Darcy styles and is the one physical store where all their suits are on display and available for browsing and trying on.
It's the brand favoured by scores of Premier League stars, many of whom are pictured modelling their suit of choice on the Marc Darcy website, so get along to the showroom and see if there's one that takes your eye.