Call me a purist. Call me a traditionalist. Heck, you might even call me antiquated.
Whatever the label, there's a trend that, in my humble opinion, is a black mark on the beautiful game.
Like a giant, hairy mole on Cameron Diaz's face. Or, something even worse than Prince William's hairline.
The trend is that of advertisers on the front of jerseys.
It's a trend that has been going on for thirty years now, and it is so ingrained in the game that I highly doubt it will ever stop. Quite simply, there's just too much money to be had by selling advertising rights on the front of jerseys. Liverpool and Manchester United both earn more than 20 million pounds a year for their naming rights.
I still think it should be outlawed.
There's plenty of money in this sport. Some would say there's already far too much money in the sport to be selling out the front of the jersey.
I just can't stand it, and I refuse to buy a jersey that looks like a cheap giveaway for a sponsor. Am I really going to shell out eighty dollars to promote Standard Chartered? Shouldn't they be paying me to advertise... well, I'm not exactly sure what Standard Chartered does.
I think they're a bank, but have no idea why they would choose two adjectives for their company name. Couldn't they have at least chosen two verbs like "Running Swimming," or even two nouns, "Brick House?"
But two adjectives? What exactly are they describing?
I absolutely love the game of soccer. I watch it constantly. I am a season ticket holder with my local club—the Portland Timbers. I read about the game. I coach a select team.
I constantly defend the game to my fellow Americans who call it boring.
Yet, there is one area where I cannot defend it, and that's when it comes to selling out advertising on the front of the jerseys.
It isn't done in any of the American sports, and kudos to them for not selling out.
It's become so prevalent in soccer than fans don't even notice anymore, and they certainly don't protest. Yes, I suppose Chelsea does need to sell advertising on their kit to pay for that massive Fernando Torres transfer fee. I suppose it helps to pay for whatever salary that Carlos Tevez is making to whine and pout his way out of Manchester City.
Let's face it. The owners know that fans won't stop coming, so why should they not sell advertising on the kit?
There's just something about it that is so... cheap. I support Portland and not Alaska Airlines (their sponsor). There's something about being a fan of a home team that is about community and identity. I'm from Portland and I root for the Timbers. I support my local club through thick and thin. It, in many ways, helps to define who I am. I'm proud to defend my Timbers, and would never even think of supporting another club.
The world needs more of this type of blind obedience.
I'm supporting Portland and the Timbers, not some regional airline. It fact, I've decided to boycott Alaska simply for that fact.
I urge every soccer fan to do exactly the same.
Boycott the sponsor of your favorite club. Make it a point to not use their products.
Heck, even badmouth them at every opportunity. Spread vicious rumors. For instance, I've heard that a customer on Alaska Airlines found a dead rat in one of the first class meals. Also, their toilets continually back up, creating a foul stench on every flight.
There, see how easy that is?
I'll support the game, but I refuse to support advertising on front of kits.
Owners are business people. So are advertisers. If they see that advertising on kits actually affects their brand in a negative way, they'll just stop.
Soccer fans, and organizer groups, have probably more power than those of any other sports. In Portland, the ownership actively works with the 107ist on everything from the corporate logo to playing music prior to games. Why not make it a point to demand that the jersey is sacred ground and should not be defiled with advertising?
That's a trend that would do a lot of good for the game.