Newcastle United fans - all wearing shirts, of course
Newcastle United & Liverpool fans are some of the worst culprits of this heinous crime - fully grown men in replica football shirts.
Is there anything more offensive in football than a grown adult wearing a replica shirt, ordinarily worn by his beloved team while they’re playing? It’s difficult, but possibly.
First of all, I just want to be clear: I find grown adults of either sex wearing a replica football shirt inexcusable. If there’s one thing that the football casuals of the 80s taught us, it’s that it’s ok to wear normal, nay, good clothes to football matches. Where I come from, it’s customary to have a social drink both before and after the match. Both are utterly necessary. Going before gives you a chance to share dubious predictions with other match-goers, and after to discuss what went wrong/right with the previous 90 minutes and what you as touchline manager would have done different. If any excuse was needed for not wearing a football shirt, surely it's this. When else would you turn up to a bar wearing a) The same gear as everyone else, and b) a canary-yellow t-shirt? Save yourself the embarrassment and just put on something smart.
The psychology of the whole affair interests me too. What exactly goes though these people’s heads before they don their shirt on a morning: “If I wear this, people might mistaken me for our new striker from Senegal”? Your name’s Gareth and you’re from County Durham. It’s not happening pal. You don’t play for the team, and unless you’re going to get noticed by a scout who frequents Sunday league matches in the Benson & Hedges South Tyneside Division 3, then you probably haven’t got a chance of it either.
And please tell me it’s not for the fashion aspect of it. I may not be your everyday Don Juan, but I can’t remember the last time I saw beautiful women hanging off the fella in the Sunderland shirt on a night out. What exactly can you couple dreadfully conspicuous red and white stripes with anyway (designed purposefully, by the way, so that members of your team are still easily distinguishable to you when you may not have a perfect line of sight)? A nice navy peacoat? Some slick tan brogues? I don’t think so.
If there is anything worse than wearing a replica shirt, it’s could well be having a name and number printed on the back. Are you expecting everyone to collude in the idea that you are in fact part of the squad. Is it some kind of fantasy to see their name printed on the back of their team’s shirt? Either way, it’s horrific. Almost horrific as having someone else’s name printed on the back of your shirt. No one believes you’re the real Van Persie. The only sin more cardinal than both of these is having something like “Spurs 4 Life” printed shamelessly on the rear. This doesn’t make you more of a fan, this makes you more of a tit.
“But how will my team know I’m there to support them?” I hear you cry. Well, one would think your presence in their ground and the money you paid for the pleasure would be enough. And if not, maybe sing along to a chant or two. At a push, wear a scarf, but only when it makes sense to wear a scarf. Don’t be brandishing that thing in your team’s last fixture at the arse end of May. That just seems ludicrously nonsensical.
If there’s a group of non-professional footballers that can pull off such apparel, it’s kids. When I was a child, if someone had told me I had to take off my full Newcastle United strip, complete with shin pads for a trip to the supermarket, I would've gone absolutely spare. But lest we forget, kids don’t really subscribe to rational thought. It is this fact, that makes it ok for them, and in some instances, possibly even cute.
But grown men in replica shirts? No. Grow up. You're not 12. You just look daft.
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