Sports shop sells iron-on St George's cross for England fans buying controversial kit

Fans expressed their anger when Nike revealed it had changed the George Cross by adding purple and blue horizontal stripes.

Fans can purchase an iron-on St George's Flag for £4.95. (SWNS)
Fans can purchase an iron-on St George's Flag for £4.95. (SWNS)

England fans who do not like the new multicoloured flag on the latest kit can now buy an iron-on St George's cross to cover it up.

Nike revealed it had changed the George Cross by adding purple and blue horizontal stripes in a "playful update" when the strip was released this week.

A petition with over 15,000 signatures has been created, calling for Nike to reinstate the original design. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has chimed in stating that the flag should not be tampered with, while opposition leader Keir Starmer has gone so far as to suggest the entire kit should be recalled.

As the controversy rumbles on, a sports shop in Stourbridge in the West Midlands, has said it has started selling traditional red and white George Cross transfers for £4.95 so that fans can to cover up the Nike version.

The Sports Shop director Grant Walters, 33, said: "For me, I don't think any national flag should be changed. We're providing a solution for people. If it helps out, we're also raising money for charity. It's more about a solution to a problem.”

Racks of England's new Nike designed football shirt, with the controversial St George's cross, are displayed for sale in a central London store on March 22, 2024. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday waded into a row over a new England football shirt sold by Nike that changes the colours of the St George's Cross, saying
England's new Nike designed football shirt, with the controversial St George's cross on the collar. (Getty Images)

However, Walters admitted he was a fan of the new design, adding: "It's a take on the colours from the 1966 training top. I appreciate good design.

"I think the new designed kits are brilliant - some of the best kits we've had in a long time. Obviously there's a demand for people that prefer a traditional St George on the back."

The £4.95 transfers come in all different sizes, for each size of tops, and Grant doesn't charge delivery for those bought online. A pound from every sale will be donated to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

A 'tribute' to the past

The FA has defended the new shirt design, saying that it was “not the first time” that different coloured St George’s Cross-inspired designs have appeared on England shirts.

“The new England 2024 home kit has a number of design elements which were meant as a tribute to the 1966 World Cup-winning team,” a spokesperson said.

“The coloured trim on the cuffs is inspired by the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes, and the same colours also feature on the design on the back of the collar. It is not the first time that different coloured St George’s Cross-inspired designs have been used on England shirts.

“We are very proud of the red and white St George’s cross – the England flag.

“We understand what it means to our fans, and how it unites and inspires, and it will be displayed prominently at Wembley tomorrow – as it always is – when England play Brazil.”

A Nike spokesperson added: "The England 2024 Home kit disrupts history with a modern take on a classic."

Some football pundits and fans have also criticised the price of the new England top, with Starmer calling on Nike to reduce the price.

An “authentic” version costs £124.99 for adults and £119.99 for children while a “stadium” version is £84.99 and £64.99 for children.

Despite the criticism, neither the FA nor Nike are planning to change the St George’s cross on the new kits.

The Sports Shop director Grant Walters. (SWNS)
The Sports Shop director Grant Walters. (SWNS)

England shirt price branded 'outrageous'

While the multi-coloured flag has attracted most of the headlines, it has also sparked conversation about what some regard as the excessive price tag.

The Football Supporters’ Association has called for a “sell by” date to be put on kits so buyers know how long it will be in use before a newer version is released.

In 2002, the price of an “authentic” shirt was £39.99 – if the price rose in line with inflation, it would cost £71.90 in 2024, over £50 less than the actual price this year.

A spokesperson for the Football Supporters’ Association said: “In our national supporters survey last year 53% of fans agreed kit prices were important to them and, in that context, £119.99 for a kids’ match top does feel expensive, even more so if you want to buy your child the full kit.”

They added: “An unwitting parent could easily buy a kit for Christmas or a birthday to find it’s ‘old’ within a matter of months.”

It said Brentford and other clubs that adhere to a two-year cycle for their kits are leading the way in reducing costs and waste. This is because, as a club, they don't just produce a home kit but also multiple away kits, keeper tops and training gear.

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