Since SAFC’s squad numbers were released, I have been anxiously checking the stock in the club shop. Living in Yorkshire, a visit to the club shop (during the pitifully short hours it is currently open) was out of the question.
Last year, I chose well - an away shirt with Dan Neil’s name and number, and a home shirt with Dennis Cirkin’s. These were two young players who acquitted themselves admirably through the campaign.
My lads and I haven’t always been so fortunate - the Cristian Riveros shirt my eldest once wore never really lived up to the hype. My youngest doesn’t like to mention the Altidore shirt he once sported.
So with an 18-year-old just finishing his A levels, and a 20-year-old on an apprenticeship wage, it is still the Bank of Dad that funds the season tickets and replica shirts. With money from a temporary job burning a hole in my pocket, and some pretty safe choices of Pritchard and Roberts for the lads, I was ready to spend.
When the squad numbers were announced, I logged in, only to discover that the replica shirt cupboard was bare. My first instinct was that this was just another example of the off-field failures that are still so apparent.
I was tempted to take to social media to air my frustrations but, before I did, a post from a former colleague revealed that his team were suffering similar issues.
My angry typing halted, I went online and did some research. The results were clear - it would appear that (probably to the disappointment of the small but vocal section of our fans who find fault with everything), this is not a situation of the club’s making.
I will buy our replica shirts when they are back in stock, and we will wear them with the same pride as we have always done (Riveros and Altidore aside).
This is more a plea to fans not to vent their frustrations at the club, and more importantly, at the human beings who currently have the difficult task of manning the club shop, in what are clearly trying circumstances.
There are things the commercial side of our club is not yet getting anywhere near right. But the shirt situation is one that is beyond their control.
Consectatio Excellentiae! (I think that’s Latin for FTM.)
Here are the articles Mike found in relation to football club shirt supplies.