It'll never fly... Replica football kit

Umbro reportedly shelled out £180 million for the exclusive rights to manufacture the latest England strip.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
Dressing up as a footballer isn't right for an out-of-shape 48-year-old. Team colours just don't suit being stretched over an expansive beer-belly while it sweats on a sun-bed in Playa de las Americas, Tenerife. The guilty parties have to face two key truths. Fact one: they don't play for Man Utd (and parading around labelled ‘Beckham' – a guy half their age who earns more than twice their annual salary every week – isn't going to change that). Fact two: football shirts look dreadful with jeans. But fans wear their hearts on their sleeves and, shirt-makers have learned, they are prepared to pay for the privilege. Hence, . World Cup fever pushed the firm's total sales up 41% to £247 million in the first half of this year. Players' names were first put on shirts in 1993. When Newcastle bought local boy Alan Shearer in 1996, the club made £250,000 in one day from replicas of the striker's number 9 shirt. Mintel now values the UK market at more than £210 million – good news for the clubs and the makers, but not for everyone. Complaints from harassed parents have made the problem of shirt prices a consumer rights issue that flares up every couple of years and is set to arise again as kids rush to kit up for the new season. Replica shirts cost about £40 each but can quickly be rendered obsolete by a new sponsorship deal or subtle design tweak. True fans, of course, must have the latest strip. Three points to the manufacturers, then.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

The questions to ask when everything is unknown

Systemic intelligence is an indispensable skill for business leaders.

How to stop your culture going back to normal after COVID

In this video, Capita's Melanie Christopher and Greene King non-exec board director Lynne Weedall discuss...

This isn't just a health crisis, it's an equality crisis

Inspiring Women in Business winners: In the “new normal”, we must make sure that female...

How to build an anti-racist business

You don't need a long history of championing equality to make a difference.

What are Simon Roberts’ big 3 challenges at Sainsbury’s?

The grocer's new CEO has taken the reins at a critical time.

Should CEOs get political?

The protests that have erupted over George Floyd’s murder have prompted a corporate chorus of...