BIDEFORD AFC has teamed up with the local Morrison's supermarket in a three-year sponsorship deal that will help secure the financial future of the club for the next three years. The partnership deal between the semi-professional side and the UK's fourth

BIDEFORD AFC has teamed up with the local Morrison's supermarket in a three-year sponsorship deal that will help secure the financial future of the club for the next three years.The partnership deal between the semi-professional side and the UK's fourth largest food retailer is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, although the supermarket chain did enter a partnership deal with the Scottish national team in 2006.It will benefit the Toolstation Western League Premier Division club until 2011.Bideford's new commercial manager, Kevin Cook, said the deal would help the Robins continue to go from strength to strength, while enabling the club to organise a number of promotional events with their Sports Ground supermarket neighbours."It is excellent news for the Robins and for the town to have a large company support such an important amenity and successful North Devon football club," he told the Gazette."It is good to see an organisation which operates on a national level supporting the local community."As part of the deal, Morrison's logo will appear on the club's kit and upcoming events and offers made available to the club's visitors. Morrison's Bideford store manager, Colin Rudolf, said: "As a well-established retailer in Bideford, we're very proud to be supporting our local team."Bideford AFC Chairman, Roy Portch added: "We are delighted to have secured this partnership with one of the most reputable and respected retail brands in the UK and look forward to developing that relationship in the coming years."Robins returnThe Robins - who kicked off their pre-season campaign with an Errea Cup match against Torquay last night (Tuesday) - are also celebrating the return to the nest of two former players and the signing of a talented young player.Neil Bettis and Robbie Francis, both centre backs, return to the Sports Ground after a season with Falmouth to help bolster the Bideford defence for the coming campaign.Former Welsh under-15 youth player Ryan Moon, now 19, has also signed for the Robins. But he is unlikely to be on the pitch until around Christmas. Although he lives locally, Ryan is currently on a scholarship in the United States.