There was an interesting article over at the BBC today about fan groups being up in arms over the amount of replica shirts that are being churned out by Premier League clubs.
It was once the norm for a club to only change their shirt every two seasons. With most clubs having a couple of change kits, it was still perfectly possible for them to have a new product each season.
Over the last few years though, it has now become the accepted practice for teams to have a new kit each season. Spurs have now launched three new kits, each year, for six years in a row and this season will see us have even more on offer.
Due to our plans to have a separate sponsor for cup competitions, all three of our kits will be available, with both the sponsors names on them. In total that means that there will be six different replica Spurs shirts on sale.
The article quotes the Football Supporters Federation chairman Malcolm Clarke, as saying: “I think Spurs’ actions are frankly ridiculous. Given the price of watching football in London you have to be very rich to be a Spurs fan already. If you’re paying for six shirts that would be about £250.”
Actually, at £45 a pop, it’s more like £270, but we get the point. Ultimately though, this was something that was always going to happen when the club announced that they were going for two sponsors. Part of the deal that a company gets when they pay to be the shirt sponsor, is for thousands of people to be wandering around with their logo emblazoned on their chests.
What will be interesting is which shirt will sell best when the second sponsor has been announced. If it’s a really attractive brand, then most fans are bound to buy that version over the shirt, rather than walking around with a big letter ‘A’ slapped on their front. If it’s another red logo however, then everyone will be going for the Autonomy versions. Will the loser in this battle care if their shirts aren’t being worn by the fans?
As someone who last purchased a replica shirt back when they were manufactured by Pony, I don’t really care if we launch a hundred different versions, as I won’t be buying any of them. If I’m spending around the £50 mark for a shirt, then it had better be made in Italy, rather than Taiwan.
When I was a kid though, it was a different story. I wanted every Spurs shirt available so I could be just like my heroes. Kids today will be no different, but that doesn’t mean that those of us with Spurs supporting children need to be skint each year. If my dad couldn’t afford to buy me what I wanted, he would tell me so and that would be the end of that. Parenting involves setting boundaries and saying ‘no’. It’s a bit like being a football chairman, when your manager really fancies one of those sparkly ‘Joe Coles’.
Anyway, why would anyone seriously want all six versions of our kits, when the away strips are clearly so hideous? Having said that, there was universal uproar about our yellow-streaked shirt last season, but there were still plenty being worn on the terraces. There’s no accounting for taste when it comes to polyester.