Thursday 7 February 2013

Hammers get off lightly with new shirt sponsors

A Pleasingly harmless logo
There was a sigh of relief with the announcement yesterday as West Ham announced their new shirt sponsor as the mercifully mundane Alpari FX. Any true fan can endure a range of hardships in their devotion to ‘their ‘ club – thrashings from Arsenal, humiliating cup exit versus lower league hackers, even relegation – but undoubtedly the wickedest cruelty comes in the shape of cringeworthy kit adornments. 

Suits you Sir!
Our current sponsors have kept Hammers fans on full alert as to the possibility of ridicule with SBobbet tinged with an uncomfortable hint of the severed penis, but in general Hammers fans have been pretty lucky over the years. Jobserve provided oceans of bland naffism, while the short lived XL was a tad ironic for some supersized supporters, but equally we had the chic mystique of Dagenham Motors and probably the coolest to date, Dr Martens with all its bovva-boy nuances. All of which served to lessen the embarrassment of having to chant about blowing bubbles. Hmmm.

Sure to have provoked a stampede of purchasing at the club shop

In order to really test the depth of loyalty amongst it’s fan base, some clubs have elected for the double distaster strategy of combining impossibly poncey shirts with irretreviably embarrassing sponsor logos. Take Brighton and Hove Albion’s pink shirt with NOBO logo combo from the ’86-87 season…..Oh, and by the way, yes we have noticed the outlandish vertigo-inducing pattern…Yeuch!!!! Maybe this is what Eric Cantona was referring to with his “when the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea” quote. Then again, maybe not.

Must've been a competitive tendering process
In some cases it’s simply impossible to explain the extent of what’s wrong with a particular sponsor. Take the oh so Rock n Roll sponsors of the mighty Rochdale FC for ’85-’86. You can already hear the opposing fans chanting “I’m a little teapot, short and stout….”

For the potent foxes strike force
Then again, some fans bring it on themselves. This delight was designed by fans of Leicester City FC as a proposal for their club’s new shirt for the 2010 season. Self inflicted injuries category here for sure. There have been few strikers who could possibly justify this level of attacking protection, and none of them have turned out for the mighty Foxes

C'mon, it could stand for anything?

Modern Britain certainly is awash with ‘helpful’ acronyms but undoubtedly this penchant for catchy abbreviation can backfire, badly. Potteries Motor Traction! You’re not kidding anybody! Fortunately for the Port Vale team of ’85-’86 they didn’t suffer from a few ‘off’ days but rather a sustained season-long run of moody and irritable performances.

Of course many of these titillating faux-pas can be excused on the basis of language gaps, but how can you honestly explain…

That's dreadful shite, laddie!
…..Surely Big Joe could have alerted his Italian employers to this appalling style infringement. Destiny can be a strange thing – AC Milan were later to sign the ironically appropriate Kack-a!  This example is so extreme that it does raise the issue that surely National football associations have an obligation to intervene when, for the sake of a few quid in sponsorship,  clubs inflict this kind of unacceptable humiliation upon their fans. ‘Bringing the game into disrepute’ would start to do justice to this criminal misjudgement. 

Home and away, your only man
And finally, this delight is really for real…..No, it's not the new Referees jerseys for Premier League 2014/5, but rather - Los Wankeros or Deportivo Wanka are based in the city of Huancayo in the Peruvian Andes. The club was founded in 1996 and is named after the Wankas -  people who formerly inhabited the area. Strange but totally true!


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