AS a parent of two football-daft boys I take a keen interest in new England kit avoidance.
It’s not unusual for me, on being confronted by a 30ft billboard of Wayne Rooney in an England shirt, to collapse clutching my knee in feigned agony, just so I can get my boys to take me back to the car and away from the wallet-Hoovering allure of Sports Direct.
While you can’t avoid getting them a shirt in the end, the secret is to prolong events just long enough to get them on the cheap.
The price usually drops after about a season, or until England are knocked out of whichever competition they’re failing in that year.
Today, with an England shirt going on sale for £90, kit-avoidance has been stepped up a notch.
In the early years I was not so thrifty. No expense spared for the first-born.
Our Bradley was gifted an England babygro at birth and a new shirt every couple of seasons after that (important note – given their recent exploits on the pitch, making any baby wear an England, Newcastle United or Sunderland babygro will constitute an offence of emotional neglect under the new Cinderella Law proposals).
As the years passed, and we had a second child, the ludicrous pricing of new football shirts saw a change of tactics in the Ord household.
We went from Manchester City largesse to Accrington Stanley transfer kitties and under-the-table brown envelopes.
Bradley no longer got his name on the back of his shirt. 1. Because it cost extra. And 2. Because it meant the shirt couldn’t be passed down to his younger brother Isaac.
To say we were non-league in our approach to buying football kits for the boys is a little unfair.
In many ways our dealings became Premier League in outlook. We looked abroad. Not Brazil or Spain, but Taiwan ... via eBay.
Could these Third World knock-offs really compare to the high-street models?
I don’t really know. I haven’t taken a good look at the £90 Nike England kit.
It certainly sounds good. We’re told the strip has incorporated state-of-the-art technology to keep the player cool in hot conditions. I checked it out, and it does. It has short sleeves.
There is, of course, a cheaper version. The replica or England Stadium shirt only costs £42. It is made, I kid you not, from recycled plastic water bottles!
At £42 it’s still too pricey for me. I’m waiting for the £12 England kit. I believe it’s going to be made from recycled milk bottle tops and used toilet paper.
Until then, our boys will have to wait to see what their Taiwanese Santa brings them this Christmas ...