We were pretty shocked here at Footy-Boots.com to hear that a new England Kit would be launching this week – It’s only been 5 months since the launch of the England Away Kit back in April!
But here it is, and personally I’m not too happy about the timing of the release.
Let’s get the biggest factor out there first; Price. At £49.99, last year’s England shirt was up there as the most expensive non-limited edition shirt ever. For many fans, even though the shirt was widely regarded as a triumph of style and design, it was almost too expensive.
And that’s just that particular shirt – if I’m going to be all Daily Mail about it (and I am) then including a full price Away Shirt and the new England Home Shirt then that’s £150 spent loving my country in 18 months!
So, how could Umbro justify this bigger price tag to me? The same way a company like Volkswagen do; the promise of longevity. Whilst a car like a Vauxhall Corsa offers many of the same features a Volkswagen Polo does, many people plump for the more expensive VW, as it will last them longer.
Umbro could have offered a similar promise, by saying ‘Look, the RRP is £5 more than any other football shirt, we know; but we promise that this shirt will not be replaced for two years.’
Instead, many fans will be left disjointed by the fact that they bought an England shirt in 2009, and it’s already out of date in 2010.
I appreciate that this is a gross over-simplification, as the shirt was released in April 2009 so has had an 18 month lifecycle, but I’m not sure that’s how many fans will see it!
Sure, the World Cup was disappointing, but we had some good times in that shirt!
Many will defend this move as a ‘clean slate’ for the England Team, with a new attitude, a new focus on young players and a new kit to represent that – but I pose the question, is that what England – as a footballing nation – needs?
After the World Cup (which wasn’t really that bad, in hindsight) people were looking for scapegoats and reasons to be angry at the managers, the players, even the way football is nurtured in this country – in short, confidence is shattered.
So why not build it up again with these first European Championship qualifiers? The ‘old’ England shirt is less than £20 everywhere you look nowadays, and that is a great thing for England, it makes getting close to the national team accessible and cheap – and those closest to the national game should take advantage of it!
It’s not the easiest time to be an England fan right now, but for less than cost of a plain shirt at Topshop or H&M, everyone can get behind the England National Team, wearing the most up-to-date version of the home shirt.
And then when a new one is launched sometime after Christmas, everyone sort of shrugs and says, ‘well I don’t feel too ripped off, I only paid £15 for the last one’.
Umbro are a company that’s in the ascendency at the moment, they currently sponsor more teams than any other brand in the Premier League and their approach to football boots has been infinitely better this time around, so they must be looking to have a good financial year – how much would it cost them to have the England shirt delayed until next March?
As a country that’s bidding for the 2018 World Cup with gimmicks like ‘Wear Your Shirt to Work Day’ and the diabetes-inducing sweetness that was ‘England Football Day’ on the 12th of June, I think it’s time the organisations most closely associated with the England Team put their money where their mouth is.
We reckon it’s high ticket prices that are causing empty seats at Wembley.
And that’s not just Umbro, I think the FA need to have a reality check too – for the first game back after a disappointing World Cup I think it’s downright mind-blowing that they still want to charge £30-£60 a ticket for this Friday’s game against Bulgaria.
Why not make all the home matches until next year £10-£30 a ticket and encourage people to get to Wembley and back the team when they need it most?
The FA would still make over a million pounds in ticket money alone on the night, and the England team would be able to play infront of a full capacity Wembley all wearing their cheap England shirts – if that doesn’t inspire the team, then nothing will!
In short, it’s about time that the official ‘Partners’ of the England team began to realise that they’re tampering with a national institution that means the World to millions of people, not a cash-cow that’s ripe for the milking.
What’s your thoughts on all of this? From the comments on out Twitter and Facebook yesterday I think there’s plenty of people who feel the same way I do – but is there anyone else who thinks we need a new shirt?
Leave a comment below and let your opinion be known!