Heroes & Villains

We live, as I have said on here before, in testing times, and one of the most vexing issues of the modern game is the sense of over-commercialisation which accompanies almost every football match that we see. One of the watersheds in the commercialisation of the game was the introduction of shirt sponsorship in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The sight of shirts festooned with brand names is now so commonplace that more eyebrows are raised when a club takes to the pitch in shirts without something printed across the middle of them, although the issue remains divisive to this day. In Scotland, child replica shirts are not allowed by law to have the names of alcohol companies, and in France it all goes a step further, with no football clubs being allowed to carry the names of alcohol companies on the fronts of their shirts. I reported on here last year about Barcelona’s decision to give up the sacred ground on the front of their famous red and blue shirts to Unicef. In spite of considerable reading on the subject, the most that anyone could come up with was thew conjecture that Barca were just softening up their supporters for the idea of having a sponsors name on the shirts, even though there was nothing to back up that theory. This week, though, a club in the...

Read More