(The photo isn't of the new kit, but it's the only one I could get.)
I no longer buy new football shirts. There was a time when every season I would religiously buy the new Sunderland and England shirt to represent my teams whilst being out and about. I however, like many football fans have become entirely disenchanted with the whole marketing nonsense that is now football and its merchandise. I was surprised this morning to wake and find that yet another England kit has been released ahead of the World Cup, retailing at a ridiculous £90. No that's not a typo.
So where does this leave fans? I'm sure that many loyal supporters fork out hundreds if not thousands to watch their team each season, whether this be on season tickets, awaydays, a megabus to the game, or new shirts for the kids. To be fair, it's the game we love and spending your cash on football is to an extent worthwhile. Nothing quite replicates the feeling of a 90th minute winner, or strutting around town wearing the badge with pride following a derby win. But, this does not mean that football fans are some sort of money machine, to be exploited whenever the hierarchy choose.
This new England kit just makes me laugh. For all it's nice in my opinion, I swear it seems like five minutes since the previous kit was released. If my memory and research serves me well then it is only just over a year since the last release, during which time England have only played 11 matches. A shirt change every 10 or so games is in my view ridiculous, and makes a mockery of anyone who purchased the shirt in that time. I have seen several disgruntled comments on Twitter today, with fans expressing their disbelief that following spending £40 odd quid for the new shirt for their holidays/Christmas, this 'new' shirt is already out of date.
There have been some particularly amusing money saving tips circulating the internet today. If you have seen the new home shirt you will no doubt be aware that it is effectively a plain white t-shirt with an England badge. As Stan Collymore has suggested, you might as well just get any old t-shirt and stick an England badge on it and resultantly save yourself £90.
Just saved myself 90 sheets. Cone on England!! pic.twitter.com/w6GvWuFZMY— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) March 31, 2014
The Twitter response has predominantly been one of anger, not just at a new kit, but the outrageous price that goes with it. Joey Barton has lead the protest.
It does seem slightly ironic that Barton can state working class men and women are being excluded from the game whilst he earns huge wages at a Championship club who similarly charge extortionate prices, yet his point in this instance still stands. Football is sadly in a spiral of commercialism whereby new kits come out every few games/every season and we have to pay extortionate fees every month to watch a 'Super Sunday' that features some good games mixed with a few naff ones. When will it all stop?
When will football/brands start to stop pricing them out. #workingmanssport— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) March 31, 2014
I for one certainly feel as though I'm steadily being priced out of the game, and as an avid supporter this is difficult to take. This is not just with merchandise but also ticket prices and travel. Of course nobody is making you buy the kits, although there will undoubtedly be more pressure put on parents to spend extortionate fees so the children can have these latest shirts.
These new kit releases have been a solid kick in the teeth for the fans. I'd advise everyone to follow my lead in purchasing retro shirts. At least they won't be out of date in ten games.
Let me know your views in the comments below or on Twitter @SJSAFC.