As England’s World Cup campaign becomes nothing more than a bitter memory, attention returns to the domestic season. Fans up and down the country are gearing up for another nine months of ‘ups and downs’. As a youngster, the most exciting element of this part of the football calendar was all the new kits that would no doubt be catalogued in MATCH or SHOOT magazine for myself and my friends to choose which one we thought was the best.
This brings me onto a question that has troubled me for years…
Is it acceptable to wear another team’s strip, a team other than the one you support?
As a kid, I had ‘official’ Juventus and Ajax shirts from a friendly street seller in Majorca, at least he claimed that they were official. He also claimed that the Leeds shirt I was wearing was a fake, and that I should part with another 20,000 Pesetas for one that had the Nike logo the wrong way around. Those and a Blackburn Rovers kit, hastily engineered with a white t-shirt and blue marker pen to salute their Premiership triumph in 1995. Much to the annoyance of my plastic Red supporter friends.
That was then, nowadays the thought of wearing the colours of another team fills me with guilt. I’m Leeds United and Leeds United only. No matter how obscure the team, or how attractive the kit, the thought of being mistaken for anything other than ‘Dirty Leeds Scum’ fills me with angst and sin. I have to point out here that I don’t wear football shirts as a fashion statement, far from it. I occasionally wear them to Elland Road, weather permitting and when playing 7-a-side football on a Wednesday. Still, it has to be Leeds United or nothing.
During my 4 years playing 7-a-side we have had a whole range of kits grace our pitch; Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter, Sporting Lisbon, Bayern Munich and even a Croatian kit, with its distinctive checkerboard design. All of these kits worn by people who have little or no association with said club. We have had a few Poland shirts worn by 2nd and 3rd generation Poles, that's acceptable I suppose. I imagine there will be a few Spanish shirts over the coming months too…
Unfortunately, as much as I’d like a Barcelona shirt with Messi or Iniesta across the shoulders, my love for Leeds will not allow it. I think I’d feel like I’ve let the whole club down, turned my back on them, you might even go as far as ‘cheated on them’ with another, more successful club. I am not prepared to do that!
Obviously there are clubs that are a given; Manchester United or Chelsea for example is tantamount to treason and should be punished with the death penalty. But is it acceptable or appropriate to wear the colours of another club? Your participation in our poll on this matter would be greatly appreciated, as would any comments… Am I being over dramatic?
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Poll Closed 30/07/10 -
Is it acceptable to wear another team’s strip, a team other than one you support?
Yes – 1 (1%)
No – 34 (39%)
If it’s not that of a rival – 29 (33%)
International teams only – 22 (25%)