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Day: March 24, 2009

The New England Shirt: The Most Overhyped Football Shirt Ever?

It all started a few weeks ago. Footballshirtculture posted up a picture of a kit that was rumoured to be the new England football shirt. We ran the story on here, too. It was a pretty revolting shirt, as it goes, and it started to become apparent pretty soon afterwards that this shirt was either one from the cutting room floor or, and this would be a considerably more interesting, a fake that was “put out there” by Umbro, the manufacturers, to throw the football shirt geeks off the scent. If the latter happened to be true (and I should point out that this is my own crackpot theory), it would lend a little meat to something a bit strange that has been going on recently. Ten years or so ago, Umbro were the biggest cheeses in British football kit manufacturing. Over the last decade, however, they have lost some of their biggest contracts, including Manchester United and Chelsea. Whilst they retain the England shirt franchise, however, they retain a position of strength within the industry. The England shirt remains one of the best selling in the world and, no matter what the relative weaknesses of the actual team, the white shirt remains one of the most iconic in world football. It means a lot to Umbro, and losing that contract (which they have held – with a small...

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Turfed Out – The Carving Up Of Wembley Stadium

Most – if not all – of you will remember the terrible state that the pitch at Wembley Stadium got into towards the end of 2007. By the time England played Croatia in their final European Championship qualifying match, the pitch was so badly cut up that it looked, after heavy rain in London, as if the match might not even be played. It was played, of course, and the FA paid a heavy price for their expediency. It took less than five minutes for a speculative long range shot to skid up and through Scott Carson to give Croatia the lead and, while it is far from implausible to argue that the elimination that followed gave English football the kick up the backside that it had sorely been needing for the previous decade or so, the cost to the FA ran to millions of pounds in lost revenue. All of this came at a time that the FA could least afford it. The stock of the FA Cup seems to be back on a downward trend, and Wembley considerably overshot its budget whilst being built. The success of the England national team is now more crucial than ever to the FA’s financial wellbeing and, as Euro 2008 proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, this success is far from guaranteed. This has led to a clash of interest...

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