Getting Shirty

On a recent post, someone suggested I not wear my England top around too much, for reasons in safety. I’m not sure he was being completely serious, but anyway. It is something I’ve found a little odd. Mexicans love football shirts, as we do in England. But whereas back home, you wear the shirts of only two teams, your club and your country, in Mexico you’ll  find people wearing all sorts of tops. Argentina tops, I can understand – there’s a pretty big Argentine community in Mexico. The Spanish kit is also understandable, to a degree. Mexicans need to keep a team in reserve to support once they have gone out, after all – or their interest in the World Cup would be short lived!

But I see people walking around wearing French, Italian, German and English national shirts all the time. And others. Why? Beyond national teams, there are plenty of foreign clubs represented too. again, I can understand Barcelona and Real Madrid. I can also understand Arsenal, who have Carlos Vela playing for them. But Chelsea? Newcastle? Liverpool? I don’t geddit. In England this would be considered treachery! But still, this isn’t England. It’s Mexico, and all the sports shops have their mannequins fully equipped to take advantage of the wealthier Mexicans who feel a Mexican shirt isn’t enough for their wardrobe.

I’ll be getting my Mexico kit soon. It’s not cheap at 850 pesos, but I’ll have to bite the bullet. Unless I can find a really good quality fake! I’m not terribly keen on England’s current strip – like many teams for the World Cup, they’ve gone retro and kept things simple. But perhaps a little too simple. Germany’s kit is an example of how it should be done – that’s my favourite design of all the World Cup teams. England’s kit is far from the worst though.

Cameroon, Slovenia and the USA with both their home and away strips are vying for the prize for most vomit inducing designs. Cameroons shirt, I’m sure, was designed by their immigration department, so that they can be instantly spotted in a crowd and rounded up. Oh, wait…it’s North Korea who has that problem. Nevermind. Perhaps Slovenia’s kit was designed by the team with evading immigration in mind. As for the US. That was designed by someone who thought he were creating a tennis outfit.

I’ve also started a new set on Flickr – World Cup 2010. I’ll be keeping all my summer footy fotos in there. I’ll be wandering around a plenty with my camera snapping everything I see that is World Cup related in some way. Until the tournament actually starts, I have to keep myself entertained somehow. Have I missed any horror shirts though? The image below has my favourites (top) and the nasties (below). I think it safe to say that when England thrashes the US and helps them on their way out of the tournament, we’ll be doing not only Mexico a good turn, but the world of fashion as well.

Add Comment

  • The USA away jersey looks like something from Thunderbirds.

    When I was in Hanoi a couple of years ago I saw a lot of locals in Manchester United jerseys.

  • Well, I checked on Amazon, and the shirts vary widely in price. But the men’s Mexico home jersey is $62.99 to $89.99, depending on size and color. So It doesn’t appear you are being terribly ripped off. Or at least not especially so just by virtue of being in Mexico. The other official shirts are also quite expensive. Probably FIFA is collecting some kind of hefty licensing fee.

    Though I’m somewhat indifferent to professional sports, it is pretty clear that the main purpose behind them is for the teams to make as much money as humanly possible. Since they don’t really enjoy the productivity or technological advances that other industries enjoy, all they can do is fall back on charging outrageous prices for otherwise ordinary merchandise.

    And they do this extremely well.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we pay $8.00 USD for a crappy beer at Red Sox games.

    • I did check out Amazon and you’re right, the prices aren’t that much different. Unlike cameras!

      Sorry if I’m going to bore you with footy posts over the next 10 weeks or so! It’ll soon be over…

      🙂

      • Actually, the footy post is interesting in the depth and quality of comments. Perhaps you should convert your blog to a footy blog when you return to the cold, dark, damp British Isles.

        Saludos,

        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where you may well have inspired us to purchase one of those snazzy shirts. Especially if they are helpful for striking up conversations with strangers.

      • Stop it, I’m shivering already – he thought of English weather sends a shiver down the spine!

        A footy blog? Who knows. I’d probably just start a new one. Although I’m not sure I should do that. I spend too much time blogging as it is I think my literary soccer skills are best left to special occasions!

        You going to go for the US strip or the Mexican one? I think the latter would make you less likely to find random conversation than the former. But the conversation you get from the former might be less complimentary!

        I’d go for the Mexican shirt. They are likely to be in the tournament longer – a factor worth considering! Planning to visit DF during the month of the tournament?

  • This is a good point Ian, you will never see at least here in Mexico City anybody dressing a football shirt of USA or of Honduras for very nice that these are or of well that they play his teams. Some people says that the way as you dress yourself shows partly the form about which you think or the way in which you want that the persons think about you. If you collect and dress football shirts represents that you love and you know a lot about football, although also it has that much related with fashion, for example I like the jersey of Russia but rarely I see them playing and I know very little of his fútbol. I never understand why so many people wear Argentinian shirts (I really hate those guys!). I have never seen here in México that anybody dresses a jersey of Newcastle but I see a lot of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester U. (the most), and Arsenal (even before Vela) and a few of Manchester City.

    For me England always had nice and elegant football uniforms, and this year has not been the exception (is Umbro of course!). For me this year Adidas disappointed me with his shirts designs, on the contrary it seems that Puma finally stopped doing ugly jerseys.

    • I have met one Man City supporter in DF, funnily enough. And all because she is in love with Noel Gallagher of Oasis. He supports City, and therefore so does she!

      Adidas shirts have been a mixed bunch lately. I do like the new Liverpool strip for next season though. Very reminiscent of the kit of 20 years ago. When we used to win league titles. 🙁 LFC kit

  • The topic of football shirts is really fascinating from a cultural point of view. I think you have to remember, Gary, that people in England will don Brazil or Spain shirts, mainly, I think, to reflect their admiration for the style of football those teams play – although you’d never see an Englishman wearing a German shirt no matter how well they played! I think because we live in a smaller world these days and people can watch games all over the world (via cable, satellite, Internet) that people develop affections for other teams, both club and country. Mexico is a different story though – I’ve been very impressed by the range of jerseys on show, far more variety than in England.

    I think the number of Premier League club jerseys is just down to the success of the PL around the world. I heard Tim Vickery on the BBC World Football Phone-in say that there are PL jerseys all over Brazil now. People in Latin America follow the PL, La Liga and Champs League very closely. But there are always going to be certain shirts that are more popular than others, and some that just leave you baffled: “Why Newcastle?” or “Why an African team?” or something like that…

    • I’m not sure they follow the English Premier League that closely though. I know some pretty hard core footy fans in DF, and whilst thy take a passing interest, and could perhaps tell you the scores of one or two recent big games, not many sit down on Sat and Sun mornings to watch a live games. Spanish football, on the other hand – different thing altogether. I just spent the afternoon in a cantina, packed with people at 2.30 to watch Inter and Barca. I was the only person cheering on Inter. I was the only person cheering at the end 🙂

      I’ll have to look up Vicker’s phone in. I read his blog, and hopefully that radio show is done as a podcast as well.

      • The World Football Phone-in is on BBC Radio 5 every Friday night and it’s terrific. Tim Vickery is, of course, THE English-language authority on South American football. They also have experts from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. I highly recommend checking it out. The podcast is available on the Radio 5 website every weekend. There’s often discussion of Mexican football as well.

      • I found the podcast on iTunes. I’ll be listening to that over the weekend at some stage…it’s quite a long one. Thanks for the tip!

        A tip from me in return. By far my favourite footy podcast is the Guardians Football Weekly pod, which is usually hilarious. Far more adult and opinionated than your usual footy podcast! It covers European football, but obviously the main focus is on the Premier League. But Italy, Germany and especially Spain get quite a bit of attention too. I highly recommend it.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/series/footballweekly

  • A long time ago, I once wore a Southern Italy football shirt into a restaurant in Northern Italy..
    (I was on an American tour bus)

    A waiter stabbed me in the lower back, with a fork..

    all in good fun, of course.

    (I claimed ignorance, or Americanism, at the time)

    sr

  • Gary;

    I am glad you saw that I was not being serious due to the subject manner of your post today.

    I have seen all manner of soccer jersey in Mexico. I saw one that I swear was written in cyrillic. When I asked the owner what it said I received “I dunno, I got it in a trade with a tourist”. That gave me an idea. On my next trip down, I wore a couple of jerseys from the US and had many offers for them. Never sold them (gave one away though to a nice kid) but I met a lot of people I normally would not have met.

    Now on your jersey choices………… I agree with you on the US home but I like the US away one. Almost heraldic. Won’t be enough to affect any outcomes but it is different. The Slovenia one apparently is some sort of homage to a mountain range in Slovenia so it is geographically relevant. The Cameroon one, well, at least it has sleeves. And is in two pieces instead of the wrestling/weightlifting/Tour de France uniform that they have worn in the past.

    What gets me is the Honduran away jersey. I know they kinda sneaked into the WC but now they are trying to look like Argentina. Maybe they wanted to intimidate Spain. Perhaps there is a ‘Messi’ watermark that can be barely seen on the back?

    I really like the Mexico away jersey. Black is always intimidating except when the sun is out. Does it get hot in South Africa?

    All in good fun. Love the soccer posts!!!!!

    Michael

    • I remember that figure hugging one piece kit Cameroon had a few years back….ghastly, so it was! If I remember rightly, FIFA banned them from wearing it though. Can’t see the problem in it myself, but there you go.

      It’ll be winter in South Africa, which means it will be hot. As opposed to boiling, which is their summer! Although it is a big country and the climate varies a fair bit, so I believe.

      I do like Mexico’s black away strip. I would buy that one instead but it’s an extra 150 pesos over the home strip in the cheapy store I’m gonna buy from.

      Plenty more footy posts to come from now till mid July! Apologies to all those who hate football!

  • Many Mexicans follow very closely the top European and South American football leagues. When I was a kid, my favorite birthday/Christmas presents were football tops and I envied friends who owned more than me. At some point, I had the tops of Italy, Argentina, France, Brazil, Mexico, and the Netherlands. Some of the most popular tops were those of Man-U, Juventus, Ajax FC and Boca Juniors (I’m talking mid to late 1990’s). One year I really wanted to get the top of Lazio FC but my parents wouldn’t let me have it! I don’t come from a wealthy family but as a kid I thought it very important to have an wardrobe full of football tops to show my appreciation and understanding of global football. I don’t buy them anymore, but the fact remains that any decent shopping mall will have a ‘Marti’ store selling official merchandise of several European clubs, and not just top-tier ones.

    Anyhow, how did you like Bayern Munich’s crushing of Lyon today? Here in the US the only people watching the game at the Irish pub were a Liberian man, a Frenchman and an Ecuadorian, beside me! Tomorrow’s match will draw a larger crowd though… and I hope Barça will make a comeback!

    • Footy shirts are definitely a fashion item in Mexico, that much is for sure. Did you never own a Liverpool top? Shame on you! 🙂 I’m also amazed at how much the Union Flag is a fashion symbol in Mexico too, by the by. It’s everywhere.

      Yes, I watched Bayern v Lyon. To be honest I was tipping Lyon after the first leg – Ribery suspended, defenders injured last weekend, and a slender lead to defend. But the Lyon that turned up today were rubbish. Typically French! As far as domestic footy goes anyway.

      I’m cheering on Inter tomorrow I’m afraid. It is possible for Barca to mount a comeback, but a 3-1 deficit against a team with such a technically astute manager is a big ask. I tipped Inter from the moment the group stages ended, when Liverpool went out. I’d love to have Mourinho managing Liverpool next season, but unless we get new owners with big money, that won’t happen.

Leave a Reply