Five pieces of downright ridiculous football merchandise
Summer’s over, folks. But don’t worry, because that means Christmas is just around the corner! A terrifying thought. There are only around 100 days to go, so time to start making your shopping lists.
Seriously though, we aren’t for a second advocating any yuletide preparations just yet. The opening line of this post was simply a lazy way to introduce our mini-feature on the more unusual pieces of footballing merchandise that are available out there in the weird wide world.
Every year, millions are spent on replica shirts – the staple item on any discerning merch buyer’s list. Ahead of the World Cup, for example, 78 official items of England clothing were available, more than any other European team. So, you see, we might be rubbish on the field, but you can always count on England to reign supreme in the marketing department. Marks and Spencer even sold the official England suit – a snip at around £260. And who doesn’t want to arrive at a business meeting dressed to fail at the first round?
Anyway, the suit is not odd enough to make our top five. Neither is the Mansfield Town ice scraper or the Bury FC hip flask. Let’s see what is…
5. Manchester United Pool Table
So – Manchester United appear to be sinking like the Titanic, but that shouldn’t stop you sinking all the reds on this official Man United pool table! Yes, that’s right, for just shy of a grand, you can get your hands on a 7 foot table for your Man Utd themed pool room. To put that in context, it would take new signing Falcao roughly 30 seconds to earn £1,000, if reports about his £280,000 a week salary are to be believed.
Sickening isn’t it? Anyway, it’s clearly not just the club that has more money than sense if fans are buying this.
4. Grow Your Own…..Anfield (or White Hart Lane, or whatever)
Yes, that’s right! You can finally live out those childhood dreams in the comfort of your own home. Remember in the schoolyard, being asked which footballing figure you idolised? Oh how you shunned those who aspired to be Beckham, or Shearer, or Lineker, or Gazza, or Giggs or (in my case) McGinlay. “No!”, you’d proudly declare. “I want to be the groundsman!” Or, for that matter, groundswoman.
Now you can – well, in miniature at least. A number of websites have a range of “Grow Your Own” football stadiums listed. Each kit contains a picture of the terraces, in front of which fans can grow a small square section of, and I quote, “the same grass blend as is used on the pitch” of your preferred club. Remarkable! Alas, it appears that although still listed on the site, the craze for mini pitch growing didn’t really take off. The items seem to have been discontinued. Such a shame.
3. Toast! And waffles…
Annoying, isn’t it, when your morning toast isn’t branded with your football club’s initials? Well worry no more. There are a range of solutions online. Of course there are. You can buy moulds and toasters for all sorts of clubs. Well, principally the big premier league clubs actually.
For the budget football toast enthusiast, you can buy a sort of sheath at goes around the bread to ensure parts of it don’t cook. Or for the serious football toaster, you can by…well, an actual football toaster. Here’s an Arsenal one, at £35.
Come on though, toast is so last century. It’s all about waffles these days, and Bayern Munich are among the clubs happy to offer a club branded waffle iron. The waffles even come out in the shape of the club crest. Classy.
2. Dartboards and skin-tight jumpsuits
Now, for crazy merchandise, there’s only one winner: Newcastle United FC. So often a source of laughs on the pitch, but this time a goldmine of ridiculousness off it.
The club’s NUFC Direct shop – which bears more than a little resemblance to Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct brand – is extensive. Move over all you clubs simply offering replica shirts and maybe the odd silly hat. NUFC has a dedicated fancy dress section! It offers everything from a full skintight jumpsuit to a quite frankly unacceptable “Toon Tottie” costume for the lasses. Way to set any progress made with regard to gender stereotyping back about 50 years, guys.
The best item though, for me, has to be the NUFC dartboard. If only because it sums up the life of a football fan perfectly. “Yes I love my club, but I want to throw arrows at it.”
1. Nothing says I love my club like…inflatable arm bands
Bravo, West Ham! One of the only clubs to rival Newcastle in the merchandise department. West Ham bin? You got it! Claret and blue clothes pegs? Yes sir! Hammers travel adapter? Who’d travel without one!
My personal favourite though? The WHUFC arm bands. Perfect for holding one’s head just above water. Rather like Sam Allardyce, you could say.