Faking it

I’ve never really been one for wearing replica football shirts. I own a few, of course, but they are only worn when I am actually playing football or out for a run. And as I only go out for a run once every Preston Guild that’s as near as damn it not worth counting.

Certainly, I would never, ever wear one when watching a live football match. It’s OK for kids, but what on earth possesses a grown man or woman to wear a tight-fitting football shirt that shows off every bump and crease for all to see? If you ever wanted to highlight the difference between you and those finely tuned athletes out on the pitch that’s it, right there.

What I find even more bizarre are those who wear the replica shirt over three layers of jumper to keep them warm in the cold winter months. Not cool. Neither is it cool to don your replica shirt at home to watch your team play on TV. The bloke that lives next door to us does that. Then again, he’s a Wiganer who is a ‘fan’ of Manchester United. Obviously he never actually goes to Old Trafford to watch them play and so wearing the 2003 replica shirt and watching them on tele is as close as it gets to him supporting Man Yoo, and there’s plenty more like him knocking about.    

I get that people will say they are supporting their club’s commercial operation by buying the shirt but why not just buy half a dozen pints at the match at half-time and bolster the clubs’ finances that way? That’s what I do and I bet by the end of the season I have far exceeded the £45 that they spend on one sweat-shop produced polyester shirt. And I have to laugh at those who have their hero’s name splattered on the back for an extra tenner only to see him sold to a rival club in the January transfer window.

And now, thanks to Bradley friggin’ Wiggins, we have replica cycling team shirts all over the sports shop floors. Now, I ride a road bike and I wear a cycling shirt because it’s practical – it keeps the wind out and it has a small, zipped pocket for my door keys – but it doesn’t have the Sky or Tissot logo plastered all over it and I don’t look a complete berk.  Well, I do, but that’s because of the stupid lycra shorts with a gel cushion in the arse and a daft pointy hat, not because I am wearing Bradley Wiggin’s stupid bloody shirt. 

In another sports shop the other day, I saw a replica darts shirt! I kid you not. Why would anyone choose to dress like Jocky Wilson or Phil “The Power” Taylor? It’s a while since I last threw arrows in anger but do people seriously turn out for their pub darts and dominoes team wearing these tent-like monstrosities?

Whatever next, replica snooker gear? I can just see people rocking up at the local snooker hall in dickie-bows and waistcoats. Maybe with the legend “O’Sullivan” stamped across the back, only for Ronnie to retire and take up professional poker. Now then, there’s a thought; replica poker shirts. Surely, it’s only a matter of time.



Faking it — 4 Comments

  1. Speaking as a Liverpool fan with a few Torres shirts and a Carroll shirt, you probably have a point about not getting the idiots’ names on the back but I think you’re putting yourself in a Canute like stance if you think you’re going to turn back the tide of ordinary Joe Public wearing replica shirts the World over. You are the reason why a great Wigan institution has collapsed with the loss of over 2,000 jobs. If you and all the other half time piss heads had just bought more replica shirts complete with Bullard or Moses or Baines or Roberts or Valencia and less pints then JJB may have been saved! Shame on you! Support your local megalomaniac led retail chain and stop pickling yourself in alcohol!

    • A fair point Spike, with one fatal flaw; JJB weren’t allowed to sell Wigan Athletic shirts, they are only on sale in the Latics club shop – a division of DW Sports. There was a time, years ago when Whelan owned JJB and they sponsored Latics, that I refused to buy clothes and footwear from anywhere else, in the forlorn hope that the proceeds would go towards buying a new striker. So I wandered round looking a chavvy Stig of the Dump and all I got to show for it was a season of Emile Heskey. It was that that drove me to start drinking at half-time; I was tee-total until that point!

      • Ah! That explains the failure of JJB then, and it’s probably only a matter of time for Sports Direct and JD Sports too. Although it does raise the question of which idiot is the Chief Exec at Wigan Athletic if the only place you can buy replica shirts is the club shop? It’s either commercial madness or pure genius. Given that Guinness have that catchphrase, it’s probably the former.

  2. Well, to be quite honest it makes sense. We don’t exactly support Wigan because of their world famous players and laden trophy cabinet. I imagine the sales of Wigan shirts in, say, a Manchester JJB branch would be pretty woeful in comparison to Utd/City (or even Barcelona… why the hell do people buy Barcelona shirts?!). If anyone lives too far away to make it to the Wigan shop, and are mad enough to support us, they could always order it online. The club shop in Wigan is open all week, and probably hires 2 or 3 people. The shop at the ground only opens for match days. That’s a lot of money saved on wages/over stocking and almost anything you buy in there is Wigan related and so I’d imagine they get a larger profit going directly into the club. Compare that to JJB – you may well have gone in there and bought a replica shirt but then you may choose a more fashionable brand for other clothing (like Patrick), which doesn’t put the money into the club.

    As for wearing the shirts, I bought one shirt only…half way through the season when we were odds on (again) for going down, at a heavily reduced price. Not very good for the finances of my club, but I’m a student and I imagine my finances are in a worse state than Wigan’s! My reason being that I can’t justify spending £40 for a very slight change to the ratio of blue:white. I use my lone shirt to play football, that’s all. I have worn it on rare occasion to games, mainly because I had nothing else clean (well, relatively) to wear. I would never, ever wear it in public when there wasn’t even a game on. Any town/city you go you can find these people. Morons.

    Anyway I better get back to my busy student life. I need to pop out to the shop later, which thankfully doesn’t require me to get out of my PJs and slippers.

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