“Dad, why have they all got yellow shirts on”
Of course the easy answer is that’s the colour of the Norwich shirt. But I don’t think that’s what Master Perm jnr was getting at when, on the opening day of the season, he pointed at the hordes in the North Stand, his question could have easily been swapped for, ‘why aren’t we all in blue?’
Because we weren’t and we rarely are. The other contrast between what our fans had on and the attire of our visitors on Saturday was the age of the kits. Apart from a smattering of proper retro tops, Norwich were resplendent in their brand spanking new kit. “yeah, but!”, nothing, excuses about the club’s slow action over this year’s kit would only stand up if the majority of our fans had last year’s shirt on.
Look around you next week and it’s not hard to work out that a good chunk of our fans didn’t buy last year’s shirt, or the year before’s or the year before that’s. In fact some people are in danger of having retro shirts by accident, it’s so long since they bought a new one and of course that’s their prerogative.
Personally, I’ve never been a shirt wearing match goer, in fact it borders on superstition for me, but I do buy them, for me and the kids. On average i’d say I’ve bought four a season over the last eight or so seasons. Of those I’d say half were at full price and the rest at a knock down price, some as cheap as a fiver, it’s hard not to at those prices.
Now there’s a number of ways you can look at a shirt, none are right, none are wrong, but different approaches affect the club differently. You might treat your shirt the same as any other item of clothing and only replace it when it needs it but that takes away from the status of the replica shirt in the eyes of the club (or at least in the eyes of its accountants) which is, basically another way of bringing money into the club.
I know you will have seen the cold hard facts before but they’re worth going over again and the table below gives you a breakdown, from 2009 of each Premier League club’s non-TV income.
It’s not a pretty picture is it? Of course we can’t expect to compare to the top echelons of that table but why not Blackburn, Stoke, Hull and Bolton? Well in more fluffy terms it could be explained with a couple of examples. Firstly there’s Manchester United who take more on a single matchday than we do across all nineteen and secondly, there’s Stoke who sell apprixmately two shirts per season ticket holder (who incidentally take up nearly three-quarters of available seeats at the Britania Stadium each game).
Bascially, the table shows the cash that we, the fans, generate for the club either by pulling it out of our pocket and turning it over at a counter or by being guilable consumers that advertisers think can be conned into buying their client’s products (or more recently into betting against them) and those clubs at the bottom end are those whose revenue is likely to be restricted to your average match-going fan. And then there is Latics.
Now this isn’t a rallying call for you all to go out and buy loads of club merchandise, you can if you want to, it’s your call. Neither is it a prelude to some kind of “the club don’t do enough to entice us in” type argument. I just think that we’re just the type of club and type of town that don’t buy into that, for whatever reason and that’s fine.
What this is about is trying to keep people’s mind focussed on the lack of money in the club and perhaps raise a bit of awareness that there’s little to be achieved in pointing fingers in all directions but home, when actually we’re pretty much all to blame anyway.
Erm, that’s it……