Nike’s ‘playful update’ of England flag gets rent-a-gobs hot under the collar | Football

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CROSS WORDS

Retailing at £124.99 for adults and £119.99 for kids (“stadium” replica versions are available for £84.99 and £64.99), there is much to be offended by when it comes to the new England football shirt. Sadly, rather than protest at the extortionate sums of money put-upon fans are being asked to pony up for this overpriced polyester knocked out for a pittance by some low-paid factory worker in Thailand, the only umbrage Football Daily has noticed being taken since the release of the garment has centred exclusively on the sportswear company’s “playful update” on the tiny St George’s Cross that appears on the back of the collar and has been redesigned to “unite and inspire”.

The update in question is a re-imagining of the flag in different colours, specifically the replacement of the traditionally red horizontal line of the cross with three different colours. The design has been dismissed as “woke” by assorted public figures who seem strangely reluctant to explain how they have arrived at this conclusion, although Football Daily is prepared to go out on a limb and surmise that it may have something to do with the fact that one of the three offending colours happens to be pink. We could be wrong, but it’s a theory that, in keeping with the subject of today’s missive, we’re happy to run up the flagpole.

While people are, of course, entitled to be upset by some American company’s decision to play fast and loose with the colours of another nation’s flag, it is difficult to feel sympathy for many of them, considering how much they have tainted the standard in question with their intolerance and xenophobia. A keen student of vexillology, in so far as he has nailed his own colours to three different political masts since entering politics less than a decade ago, Lee Anderson, the perma-outraged MP for Ashfield, was predictably displeased with the latest Nike design.

A tedious, rude, attention-seeking boor who famously refused to watch “my beloved England team” at the last Euros because Gareth Southgate and his players decided to perform an anti-racism gesture before their games, the 57-year-old rent-a-gob worked himself into a predictable lather over the new England shirt without going so far as to explain exactly what it is about this tiny fabric rectangle he finds so objectionable. “This virtue signalling, namby-pamby, pearl-clutching woke nonsense must stop,” he thundered. “Any more of this and I’ll be on the first flight to Rwanda.” With no direct flights currently available despite the best attempts of the Tory party Lee controversially left last week, Football Daily is happy to recommend one from London Heathrow to Kigali (via Brussels) at 6.30am tomorrow, and will even offer to stump up Lee’s £758 one-way fare.

While it’s not often that we find ourselves doffing our hat to a major multinational with form in using factories that mistreat their workers, we do have to hand it to Nike on this occasion, for pulling off the impressive feat of upsetting all the right people. As well as Anderson, assorted other GB News presenters, Joey Barton, Nigel Farage and countless X users whose bios feature the flag they love so much (invariably accompanied by the phrase “proud dad”) have also taken exception to Nike’s tinkering, with many calling for the head of whoever at the FA was responsible for giving it the seal of approval.

“I can’t believe this has been approved without the sign-off of at least the commercial director and the chief executive of the organisation,” said the former FA Club England managing director, Adrian Bevington, in a radio interview this morning. Sadly no one thought to mention that on his watch in 2011, an England shirt designed by Peter Saville featuring multiple St George’s Crosses in different colours was not only approved and signed off, but went on sale without anyone kicking up even the slightest bit of fuss.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

“To wear your country’s colours, whatever the circumstances, is something to treasure. I felt a glow of pride when I returned home and showed my old dad, who lives with Alzheimer’s, a picture of me playing for Scotland … then seeing his face beam with delight when I told him we managed to beat England!” – Colin Leslie on making an international final with Scotland’s over-50s team.

Scotland with their silver medals after losing the Koh Samui Masters final to Iran. Photograph: Courtesy of Scotland Scotland Over 50’s

FREE HARRY

Waltham Forest’s mythical Harry Kane statue has finally seen the light of day thanks to the Big Issue, which obtained photos of the sculpture sitting in storage. The statue of England’s record goalscorer was commissioned in 2020 but has been holed up like a sad giant while the London borough seeks a suitable location. Part of the problem may be that, unlike the real Kane, this lifesize bronze likeness is attached to a bench. “The location of the statue is really important to us,” said a spokesperson for Kane. “When we get it right, we will be happy to go.” Given his impressive start at Bayern Munich, perhaps they should consider shipping it to the Allianz Arena.

Oh Harry! Photograph: Big Issue/Waltham Forest Council/Sculpture Machine Ltd

I wondered what had become of John Gregory now his managerial career seems to be over; how appropriate therefore to see him winning a book entitled Too Good to be Forgotten for yesterday’s letter o’ the day” – Richard Hirst.

Re: football-themed recipe books [yesterday’s Letters]: I’d gladly make the trip up to Sheffield to pick up Chris Wilder’s 1,001 Sandwich Ideas” – Simon Riley.

Football has nothing to fear from a regulator. I’m sure any supervision and enforcement would be as rigorous as that facing the water industry. Err … oh, heck” – Mark McFadden.

Have Chelsea fans mistaken toxicity as a synonym for mediocrity?” – Noble Francis.

Wednesday’s Wales v Finland preview overlooked that this fixture could have devastating consequences for Leeds’s promotion bid, with five players involved and risking knack. There’s been nothing in Glen Kamara’s performances this season that suggests he’s going to become a leg-chopping maniac, but if he does need to tackle, say, Daniel James, could he please do it gently?” – Daniel Farke Darren Leathley.

Send letters to [email protected]. Today’s winner of our letter o’ the day is … Richard Hirst, who gets a copy of Too Good to be Forgotten, published by Pitch Publishing. Visit their book store here.

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