Reality can hit you like a ton of bricks when it doesn't meet your lofty expectations.

For Tom Beahon and Castore, though, their first year in partnership with Rangers has exceeded every ambition they had when they signed their multi-year deal with the club back in May, 2020. 

During that time Gers have been crowned Premiership champions for the first time in 10 years. They've been on a European adventure which took them to the last-16 of the Europa League and they've still got an 'Invincible' league campaign to shoot for.

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Steven Gerrard's men have done the business on the park while Tom, alongside co-founder brother Phil, have done theirs off the pitch. And Tom is hoping the good times roll on. He has not been surprised at all with the Light Blues' success, even with the knowledge that his company's partnership coincided with their first win in a decade.

As far as he was concerned it was only a matter of time until the sleeping giant woke up. "We knew Rangers were a giant in football and that the fanbase was, in my opinion, unmatched in world football," Beahon said. "With the club being our first venture into football it was going to be very exciting. 

"We just knew instinctively that the passion and love the fans have would be rewarded and that they would be successful shortly. Obviously we couldn't know they'd win the league our first season and do so well in Europe but we knew success would come back.

"We wanted Castore to be part of that and when you have the opportunity to be partnered with a club like Rangers you have to take it. If you turn it down you really never know when an opportunity like that will come up again. It's exceeded our expectations and we're blown away with the way the team have performed on the pitch, winning the league and it's phenomenal what we've experienced.

"I wouldn't say it was beyond our wildest dreams. Of course it's been a long time since they've won the league but anyone who knows the club knows that at every single level from the manager to the board, to commercial, there's a burning desire to be successful. I just felt it was going to happen, whether it was our first season or not, it's not a surprise because when you've got that many people aiming for a single goal, it's a surprise when they're not successful as opposed to when they are.

"We wanted to make a contribution to that and hopefully we have, but it's a privilege to be part of the club."

Success may not have surprised Beahon but the demand from supporters has. Again, the businessman knew there would be an initial desire from fans to stock up on Castore products to support their club, but he admits he was not prepared for the sheer volume of merchandise the fanbase would need.

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Thankfully for Castore they signed a five-year deal with the Ibrox club and Beahon insists there's more to come. More products, more investment. But there will also be more time to fine-tune the numbers, fix any previous issues and focus on improving what merchandise they already have available.

"Commercially, the ferocity of the demand Rangers fans have for their club merchandise is something that, even us at our most ambitious could not have imagined," he added. "You hear about the size of the club and fanbase and that it's a massive club but it's not until you're in it that you realise just how big. We can put a Rangers rubber duck on the website and it's gone within an hour.

"Castore want to partner with the best and Rangers have proven that they're the best, especially this season. The partnership has really elevated the Castore brand globally. We've seen our Rangers sales increase significantly in pretty much every global market and a big driver of that has been the partnership. Obviously every time you see Rangers play on Sky Sports you get a boost naturally but this has been consistent throughout the year.

"There's more to come but in the first year we really did learn how ferocious the passion for the club and demand for merchandise is. You can try and be as well prepared for that as you want but until you experience it, you're not going to fully understand that. There were well-documented early challenges but we've really focused on coming through that and as we've got towards the last part of the season we've got a better handle on it.

"Looking ahead we're in a far better place as a business to move forward into the partnership next season. Going into the 150th anniversary there will be exciting new products launching to commemorate that. We'll also take on board the feedback from this season regarding specific products. Baby wear products for example, we didn't have as much stock as we realised we'd need, so we'll rectify that."

Beahon and his brand promised reinvestment into the club with every sale and he is proud to say that he has kept that promise. When supporters hear the word 'investment', more often than not their minds head straight to the budget for new players.

And while Tom can't guarantee that's where the cash has gone, he can say that the partnership has certainly been a financially sound one for both parties. "A big part of this partnership was every single sale, a portion is going directly back into the club so they have the incentive to really work collaboratively with us in a way that maybe wasn't the case previously, to help us maximise the offering," he went on.

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"Listen, it's a long-term commitment from Castore to Glasgow Rangers and structuring the partnership in a way that we are making a financial investment through everything we sell, that was a big part for me. I don't know what will happen transfer-wise, but if we can make a contribution on the pitch to make sure players are wearing top class products, hopefully off the pitch in making the retail area a big success, that will filter into the club which will benefit everybody."