top of page
Search

Jersey Boys, and Girls

Lanzarote FC. Croatia. Schalke 04. Wicklow GAA.


Where else can these four giants of the jersey game find each other rubbing shoulders than the back of the wardrobe. Childish behaviour wearing a jersey 5 days of the week some would say. They'd probably be right. But the jersey game doesn't seem to be going anywhere. If anything - it's probably getting more and more popular. Go to any festival these days in Ireland or the UK and you have lads outdoing each other with obscure clubs goalkeeper jerseys whilst ensuring it matches with the jeanshorts and bucket hat. Why? Because shit's cool man. Jeanshorts isn't a word according to autocorrect, stylish lil yokes. If I haven't lost you yet I probably just did.


Go back to the school days and jerseys were nearly statements. When I was a chap it was only Real Madrid and Barcelona that rolled out new stuff every year and that was kind of their quirk. "This is this season's Barca jersey man, swear to god" on the school yard that September. Jersey acting as undervest. "They were selling them in Salou, Ma got me 4 jerseys for the price of 2!" - "Savage man". I lived in this Italian Kappa one. Serious yoke. The stretchy one. Uniform wasn't too enforced if I remember correctly so if you timed it right you could get a few hours out of the jersey being worn at the desk if you were cute enough about it. I remember one particular day going fishing after school with the boys in the brand new Argentina jersey. This wasn't Salou quality now this is fresh Colgan Sports. Being polite to myself I was a challenged fisherman, so within my usual first half an hour of setting up the rod the hook gets caught in the jersey. "I'll help ye man", chimes in one of the boys. Snip - hole the size of a fist gone out the jersey. Still wore it every day for probably a year anyway. I'd love to name and shame that little fucker. Lives in Millstream.


There was a day when a club would release a shirt for a two season span. That was the job. You got a jersey and you were up to date for the next two years, nice one. I can only imagine the relief if the kids were up to date. These days there's a fresh release with at least three a season. Home, Away, Alternative. Adidas shamelessly release a 4th kit now which the clubs wear on FIFA - coincidently played mostly by kids. Bayer Leverkusen are one rare club that still hold on for a consecutive season if I'm correct. Some price of them now though? Scroll a selection of team-wear and you could find a 'stadium' shirt for €150 or so and a 'replica' shirt for €80. That's what drives you to AliExpress, that craic. I've had my fair share of AliExpress numbers let me tell you. The postman delivered a Boca Juniors full kit there only last week - socks and all. Sold it off then to a Tipperary man for a score on top. Joking. But a good Tipp run in the Championship and you never know what Boca gear you could flog. This time of the year is also Football League half zip season. Club shops from the Premier League down selling off their gear for pittance because the new rollout is due. April onwards is the only time you will catch a man from Mulranny wearing a Bristol City half zip. By August then you won't see it again as it goes to the work clothes pile and lathered in plaster by September.


I noted at the beginning about the growing trend of jerseys as a fashion statement, more visible now at the likes of festivals and similar places of funky statements. Manufacturers picked up on this and if you haven't noted already - anticipated jersey reveals no longer roll out ill-fitting on the clubs star striker - but over a hoody or long-sleeve T on a crowd of young people in some trendy setting. PSG have essentially been trialling the Jordan branch of Nike, primarily a basketball brand, to huge success - because it's trendy. PSG are probably the on-trend club - so they're ideal to experiment these fashionable jersey reveals. Nigeria rolled out another banger of a shirt about a month ago, to continue the success of their World Cup 2018 one which in my opinion was probably up there with the jersey of the 10's, or at least in the conversation.


Pride and showing off is probably the biggest aspect of it and the exact reason these manufacturers can take advantage of your wallet. I'm a Kildare man for example who's spent some time in Galway and Wexford in recent years and donning the Lilywhite jersey is probably somewhat of a statement at times to say - 'this is where I am from. I love it there. I'll swing'. Not really. Any pub in Ireland 2020 (pre-March) you'd find a man with a Liverpool jersey on a high stool willing to tell you United were finished and Van Dijk was better than Vidic. He'd be wrong but you get the idea. These debates are all part of it. That fella is heading down the town ready for that conversation and his jersey is his way of announcing his side. Ten years ago the United man with Chicharito 14 on the back was the main man in the area - even though everyone else in the pub were potentially sniggering at the fact he was a grown man with a name and number sported across the back. Anyone that still does that, have some solidarity in the fact I still do that up and down too. I would actually argue that it can add to a shirt - particularly older ones. Imagine having a Fiorentina jersey from the 90s and not having Batistuta on it. Criminal, man. Also - for the nostalgia and laugh looking back. I'm looking at you, Moyesy 2013/14 United shirt with Kagawa 26.


The jersey game is still going strong. Not everyones cup of tea wearing their teams colours. Doesn't make them any less of a supporter. Go to any away game and they're often a rarity. At their least they can be an insignificant piece of overpriced cloth. They can be a sentimental timekeep passed down from a family member or a reminder of good times gone by. One thing's for sure, they're not going anywhere - and I will continue to count my payslips in Umbro manufactured German clubs from the 1990's.


[disclaimer: I didn't order the Boca Juniors socks and shorts nor was I aware they would arrive with the jersey.]



Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page