Will you pay £90 for an England World Cup football shirt?
The Football Association has just unveiled the kit that will be worn by England players at this year's World Cup in Brazil – and it's no surprise that the replica kits it has also put on sale are as exorbitant as they are desirable for die-hard fans.
The replica men's England shirt retails for £60. Perhaps some fans might consider that a fair price for a design that showcases "English football history and culture", as the FA puts it. I am not one of them.
Perhaps the most offensively-priced piece of merchandise is the 'Match shirt', which is the same home shirt players will wear on the field; as oppose to the £60 version that's just, well, a shirt.
The Match shirt "features laser-cut perforations for ventilation and signature national team details for Three Lions pride".
The price for such a prestigious piece of fabric? £90. A snip! The matching shorts will set fans back a further £25, meaning the most committed of England fans will have to fork out £115 just to look the part. The women's version of the shirt comes in at £55.
Let's not forget the hundreds of thousands of children who will be looking to emulate the on-field exploits of England's finest footballers this summer. A youth kit will cost £61 in total, while a 'Junior Boys' kit will set you back £40, and a toddler's kit costs £35.
So let's do the math. A family of four, with two children aged 11 and 13 would have to fork out £262 if they all wanted to wear the cheapest range of World Cup England kits this summer. If they opted for the Match men's shirt this increases to a whopping £292.
Call me a fairweather fan, but I think this is outrageously-priced, no matter how much optical brightener has been used to ensure the white shirt "comes alive under UV light".
The FA, along with manufacturer Nike has packed its press release about the new kits with a lot of impressive waffle, including some mind-boggling science. We are told the Match shirt has "ultra-soft Dri-FIT fabric" that "helps keep you cool and comfortable". It also has an "engineered mesh back for enhanced breathability", a "vented hem for enhanced range of motion", and the Three Lions crest has "a metallic weave to create another shimmering effect".
Moreover, Nike collaborated with font legend Neville Brody to create a new font for the names and numbers on the back of the new shirt.
That's all very well, but when a Match shirt costs £90, a basic replica shirt costs £60 and the kids' version costs £42, the FA seems to have lost all sight of the people that pay to watch football in England. One of the FA's current aims is "promoting the development of the game amongst all ages, backgrounds and abilities in terms of participation and quality."
They may be successful at this, but they are certainly not making their merchandise available to all. But then I guess I shouldn't be surprised that even the governors of football in this country wish to exploit fans commercially – after all, everyone else does.
Will you pay £90 for an England shirt this summer?