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Ahead of the big kick-off, it’s sun, sea, and second and third kits

OPINION: Bampot football fans are flying out for beach holidays in itchy replica shirts, whatever the cost

09 August, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Last summer’s launch of Arsenal’s new kit

AS you’ll know, if you’ve been properly reading this column – and I’ll be upset if you haven’t digested every single carefully crafted word – a chief pet hate of mine is men, for it is nearly always men, flying out for a beach holiday in replica football shirts.

Airports are full of these bampots. Proudly representing. Usually in a kit their team hasn’t even played in yet.

These guys were obviously in the club shop on day one, like a thirsty drunk banging on a pub door at 11am. How can you lay claim to being the biggest Arsenal fan in the world – a title thousands of people think they hold – unless you have been to every match, seen the youth side play wherever possible and bought every replica shirt going, no matter how many second and third kits they release?

The airport thing isn’t reserved for Arsenal fans. This summer I saw Chelsea, Man City, Burnley and Ipswich Town fans (name a club, we’ve all got supporters like this) insisting that when they breached another land, they had to do so in their team colours.

There’s something faintly Brexity about the whole caper; they should bring a flag and plant it into the Spanish soil to ensure everybody knows that Sheffield United have arrived on the Costa Brava.

Just think, you are about to spend two, three or four hours in a tightly packed tin can before arriving somewhere blazing hot, and the most comfortable thing in the wardrobe is an itchy chest of acrylic.

Most summers I look at the gents queuing up in their replicas and bring all this high-minded scorn to the front of my head and look grumpy. This year, however, I felt sorrow and pity. A man had stepped aboard wearing the new Arsenal kit, slightly ironically meaning he was heading to a European sunspot while wearing a shirt that shouts “Visit Rwanda” on the sleeves; maybe next year, luv.

He looked like one of the world’s greatest Arsenal fans (mentioned above) and with three new kits – home, away and the sexy biscay green third kit – all in the shop I figured he had spent at least £150. He may also have been one of the strange breed who buy goalkeeper clobber too, but let’s say he spent £150 at least in the club shop.

Two weeks later it was announced Arsenal are set to swap from Puma to Adidas at the end of the season that’s just about to start, so presumably all of these kits will be redundant after just one term. The number of times Arsenal will play in the second or third kit will surely be restricted.

And next summer? He’ll be back to the club shop with another £150. It’s an expensive job being the world’s greatest fan. It costs to represent.


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