Photo: MSN UK

You may recall that, a while back, General Motors was in serious financial trouble and required a certain amount of governmental intervention to keep the lights on. Well, apparently all that unpleasantness is a thing of the past, because the General managed to find enough change in the couch cushions there at Renaissance Center to ink a multi-year sponsorship deal with UK football (that’s the metric word for soccer) club Manchester United at a reputed cost of £350 million (that’s Ye Olde English for just shy of $553 million).

What does sponsoring brand Chevy get in return? Well, they are “official car partner” and “official shirt sponsor” for the the 2014/2015 season, and they also get to supply free cars for Manchester United first team players, with one catch: Club manager Sir Alex Ferguson has decreed that nobody under 23 can choose a Corvette. Instead, they’ll have to be content with complimentary Spark, Aveo, Cruze, Orlando, or Camaro models instead.

Considering the past history of footballers wrecking fast cars like the Audi R8, this is probably a wise decision – while the reported ban doesn’t specify whether it covers every Corvette up to and including the 638 horsepower ZR1, drivers with impulse control issues and a sense of entitlement can get into plenty of trouble even with a base model C6. Speaking of which, the deal comes just in time to deny the younger players access to the upcoming C7 when it debuts next year.

With a reputed 659 million fans worldwide, putting Manchester United’s star players in Chevys will certainly raise the brand’s profile overseas, but the price tag may leave American taxpayers (and part owners of GM) wondering if it is worth the cost.