A MAJOR piece of Oxford United’s summer strategy has fallen into place with the long-awaited announcement of a deal with Singha Beer.

The arrangement, described by the club as a partnership, is understood to involve a significant six-figure sum for at least two years.

It will see the Thai firm’s logo appear on United’s shirts – with one exception.

Rules over alcohol sponsorship prevent anyone under 18 from promoting the brand, so striker Owen James will have to wear a blank shirt until his birthday in October.

The same applies to any of the U’s youth teams.

While that is a quirk of the new agreement, it merits good business for the club as owner Sumrith ‘Tiger’ Thanakarnjanasuth makes the most of his contacts in Thailand.

It sees United join Singha’s high-profile sporting connections, which include Premier League side Chelsea, MotoGP and Formula 1 team Ferrari.

Tiger said: “It is excellent news. Fans have seen the progress we have been making on the pitch and now they can see that we mean business in everything we do.

“Singha are a major brand – like Oxford itself the name is known all around the world, and to see Oxford United mentioned in the same portfolio as MotoGP and Chelsea is great for us.”

The deal had been expected for several weeks, but while United had been using the logo on their announcements through the summer, the formalities were only completed in the last few days.

It came swiftly on the heels of another agreement which had been trailed since last season – the new shirts will be manufactured by Puma.

The German firm supplied the kit at Reading when Tiger was part of a consortium at the Berkshire club.

He said: “They are world leaders, an internationally famous company, and it is fantastic for Oxford United to be working alongside them.”

Singha replace the sponsorship from Liontrust, who are switching their focus to United’s community set-up after three years backing the first team.

United’s chairman added: “We look forward to working in a true partnership with them as the club grows, progresses and moves forward in all areas.”