Arsenal fans are right to be shirty – is nothing sacred in football anymore?

Football FanCast
columnist
Rob Facey sympathises with Arsenal fans over
complaints regarding their new kit and asks is nothing sacred in the modern
game anymore?

The new Arsenal kit was unveiled yesterday and was met with
dismay by large groups of Gunners supporters. Complaints have been made
regarding both the style of the home shirt, with the traditional white sleeves
reduced to a thin strip, almost added as an afterthought.

Monetary issues were also high on the agenda with fans
claiming that, despite being warned that new kits were being released, the manufacturers
do not take into account the needs of real football fans.

"Fans were pre-warned
a couple of years ago but that doesn't make it any better,"
Mark Brindle,
spokesman for Arsenal supporters group REDaction, told The Telegraph.

"I've got two young
boys who support Arsenal and what with the credit crunch, it is not the best of
times. It's all about selling shirts in the Far East"

"But my strongest
objection is that the home kit does not have white sleeves. That is the Arsenal
tradition.

"Can you imagine Nike
messing about with Barcelona's shirt or Man United's shirt? We will look more
like Charlton Athletic next season."

Do Arsenal fans have any need to get shirty? Does it matter
what kit clubs play in anymore? Money is the driving force behind the game and
there is no going back now.

But have the shirt sponsors and manufacturers got too much
control over clubs kits in this era? Is the money they provide more important
to the club than preserving its heritage? How can clubs overcome this problem
in the future – should a shortlist of designs be made available for fans to
vote for?