‘England stars’ rage against kit change which has completely derailed Euro 2024 preparations

Editor F365
Nike's controversial England shirt
A deeply upsetting image

Nike were naive but the reaction to them changing the colours of the St George’s flag on the latest England Euros kit has been absolutely hilarious.


White flag
Mediawatch really did not want to cover the England shirt-collar flag controversy. There are slightly bigger societal issues at hand which garner nothing close to the same pandering coverage or distracting performative condemnation from people in positions of power and the focus should really be on those.

The phrase itself – ‘England shirt-collar flag controversy’ – sums up just how laughable and confected the entire thing is. It is a very small piece of fabric on a much larger piece of fabric and the most offensive thing about it all is how much it costs to purchase one.

It wouldn’t even have been A Thing if Nike hadn’t tweeted a picture with the caption: ‘A playful update to the (England flag emoji) of St. George appears on the collar to unite and inspire.’

At that specific point, everyone suddenly realised they were obviously trying to turn everyone homosexual. Or ‘trying to sneak that Woke, Gay communist nonsense onto the England national team jersey…to appease all of the lesbians who play for the Lionesses and in women’s football’ in their continued ‘attempted ‘Coup d’etat’ of the men’s game’, as one completely secure and sane individual put it, having managed to briefly drag himself away from telling reigning champion of everything Kyle Walker that he’ll never win a thing because he wears earrings.

MAILBOXOther nations would never stand for what Nike have done with England kit…

So yes, Mediawatch really would rather have avoided this particularly tiresome culture war. But then Ian Ladyman waded in for the Daily Mail.

As tournament lead-ups go, this one has got itself off to a pretty ropey start.

Not sure Gareth Southgate and the lads were part of the design process really. England somehow remain tournament favourites in spite of all this. And also, it’s a small flag on a shirt, not David Beckham knackering his metatarsal.

Whether you are fundamentally offended by Nike’s decision to bastardise the cross of St George on the collar of England’s tournament kit (I am not particularly) or whether you have better things to think about, it’s hard to look at this development and not ask yourself why on earth they even took the risk.

Mediawatch cannot stress enough how incredibly easy it actually is. Please try. And anyone who doesn’t ‘have better things to think about’ needs help.

The explanation – wrapped up in marketing speak and jargon – is arguably as dismal as the act itself.

Well for starters those don’t read like the words of someone who is ‘not particularly’ offended by the whole thing. But also they called it ‘a playful update…to unite and inspire’. It was probably a clumsy and misguided message which they should have known was bound to be construed a certain way by certain people. You can’t really argue it was a ‘dismal’ thing to write. And we should know.

Southgate will doubtless not appreciate the noise that will now accompany tomorrow’s friendly against Brazil at Wembley.

He almost certainly will not care.

The ultimate ridiculousness of the whole thing can be summed up by one picture caption to Ladyman’s piece:

Nike’s decision to replace the horizontal line on the traditional red cross on the back of England’s Euro 2024 shirt with a navy blue, light blue and pink one has caused controversy

A truly ludicrous yet somehow simultaneously completely accurate sentence.

READ MOREEngland home kits ranked: New instant classic featuring ‘playful’ flag straight in at No.1

The new England kit has sparked outrage over a 'playful' flag on the collar.
The new England kit has sparked outrage over a ‘playful’ flag on the collar.


Crossed wires
The impotent fury of some former players in raging against this ‘Bi-sexual monstrosity’ (Joey Barton) Nike has wrought upon us makes for great reading.

Lovely touch from Peter Shilton to include three England flag emojis in posting about how ‘this is wrong on every level’, presumably including those he is out-jumped to by someone eight inches shorter than him.

He later told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “if you’re going to put the St George’s Cross on a kit, which obviously Nike have done, then just put it on with the traditional colours”, adding: “Red, white and blue are the colours that we have on our flag”. Which is wrong on one specific level but also presented as a quote entirely without comment by the BBC themselves.

Still no idea why this particular alteration of the St George’s flag has riled so many, considering the colours have been tweaked with numerous times for kits over the years and attracted nothing like this degree of criticism.

In their collection of complaints from ‘England stars’ who have slammed the change, the MailOnline presumably accidentally omit the word former but do include the phrase ‘woke Nike’ because obviously.

No notes on this from David Seaman: “What’s next, are they going to change the Three Lions to three cats?”

Although one iota of research would have told him that “I’m sure that if they’d approached the lads and asked them about it, they would have said no” is nonsense; the current players pretty unanimously love it.

Shilton and Seaman are the only ‘England stars’ quoted, by the way. So yeah.

And that sadly means there was no room for Jamie O’Hara’s thoughts:

I represented England as a schoolboy to U21 everytime I put the shirt on to play for my country I felt pride I felt honoured I felt united and inspired because I was wearing a shirt that had my national flag on it, @nike give our players there flag back

Absolute perfection from someone who once said he was “definitely interested” in switching to play for Ireland instead.


Withdrawal symptoms
It is a grave shame that the Daily Mirror website realised their initial claim about Bukayo Saka’s injury leaving ‘Gareth Southgate’s plans in turmoil’ might have been a bit much. England will probably just about manage to navigate two friendlies with the help of Phil Foden (18 goals this season), Jarrod Bowen (18 goals this season) or maybe even Cole Palmer (16 goals this season).

After a quick change it is instead described merely as ‘another blow to Gareth Southgate’s plans’ and a general ‘setback’.

But what does it mean for Arsenal? The Sun have the latest:

Bukayo Saka leaves England camp sparking Arsenal fears just 10 days before crunch Man City clash

That doesn’t sound good. Arsenal did beat Manchester City in October when Saka was out injured but Mikel Arteta would certainly rather have one of his better players available. What are these ‘Arsenal fears’?

BUKAYO SAKA has sent Arsenal fans into panic after leaving the England squad.

Ah, Arsenal fans. It is their ‘panic’ and theirs alone.

Gunners fans are now worried that their starboy won’t make it for the crucial clash.

From ‘fears’ to ‘panic’ and now they are simply ‘worried’ about ‘their starboy’ (this is meant to be a serious publication).

But fine. We’ve come this far. Let’s see these anxious Arsenal supporters. Might as well. And obviously it’s all off Twitter.

One said: “Season over.”

Another added: “Arsenal aren’t winning anything.”

Others were more positive, commenting: “He’s focused on the league.”

One Arsenal fan seems ‘worried’. One neutral fan reacted. Another made the quite obvious point that he’s likely pulled out of some England friendlies – his place in the starting line-up for the Euros already assured – to make sure he is as fit as possible for an incredibly important club game.


Friendly fire
It is always funny to see outlets struggle with reporting on behind-closed-doors friendlies, never mind those played mid-season. Suffice to say MailOnline do not quite strike the right tone when describing a ‘bruising defeat’ for Arsenal against QPR.

Their title hopes are pretty much over now a starting line-up of Ejeheri, Nichols, Robinson, Foran, Tomiyasu, Partey, Lewis-Skelly, Gower, Cozier-Duberry, Butler-Oyedeji and Kamara was heavily beaten in a game used to get two specific and recently injured players proper match practice.


Jude health
But forget all the flag nonsense because here is the big England story, presented by…

‘Maguire convinced England have got the next Bellingham on their hands in 18-year-old Man United wonderkid and England new boy Mainoo’ – Daily Mirror website.

‘Harry Maguire believes Manchester United star Kobbie Mainoo could be the next Jude Bellingham’ – Metro.

‘Harry Maguire believes Manchester United have found the next Jude Bellingham’ – Manchester Evening News.

It’s a huge claim but presumably one at least backed up by Maguire’s own words:

He’s a bit like Jude was when he was a young boy. He’s got a mature head on his shoulders.

A resounding comparison, for sure.