UKFast is to return as shirt sponsor of Sale Sharks in what is the largest deal in the history of the Aviva Premiership club.

The undisclosed seven-figure deal sees the Manchester hosting firm return after a five-year break, having sponsored the team between 2000 and 2010.

That deal ended when CEO Lawrence Jones MBE, who had played a key role in growing the fan base at Edgeley Park to over 10,000, pulled out following the departure of senior players including fly-half Charlie Hodgson.

Jones said: “I am delighted to join The Sharks once again. I remember the first day I wedged my foot in the door of their portacabin at Heywood Road in 2000. They had a good laugh after I predicted their fans would one day use the internet for tickets and news!

“It was a great relationship; we couldn’t afford to give money so we invested huge amounts of our time and we built technology that helped the club fill the stadium.”

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News of the sponsorship deal follows last month’s takeover of the club and the departure of long-term owner Brian Kennedy.

Sale Sharks have since boosted their squad with a host of new star signings, including ex-Wales international Mike Phillips and Halani Aulika, who joins the club from London Irish.

Jones said: “This partnership is more than a logo on a shirt. UKFast has been associated with Sale Sharks for more than a decade. It’s a club that is incredibly close to my heart and I can’t wait to contribute to its success.”

Sale Sharks’ commercial director, Mark Cueto, who retired last year after a 15 year stint at the club, said: “I knew we needed Lawrence and UKFast back. He eats, breathes and sleeps rugby. He was much more than just a sponsor. He has already helped us secure a number of other high-profile businesses to the mix and the energy he brings is infectious. I can already feel the momentum gathering.”

UKFast achieved turnover of £34.3 million in 2015 and is on target for £40m this year.