Harry Kane of England wearing a rainbow captains armband with the match fixture on his shirt during the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying round group C match (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)


FOUL! England football fans’ fury at US giant Nike’s change to jersey emblem


US sports brand Nike is taking flak from football fans in the home of the beautiful game after the commercial giant unveiled the England team players’ new home-shirt – just as the Euro 2024 international competition approaches.

Nike said the design “dusts off history by bringing a modern twist to a classic” with a “playful update” for the Three Lions’ team image.

The traditional England logo, the Saint George’s Cross, has been replaced by a multicoloured version.

Or, as the multinational US firm puts it: “The trim on the cuffs takes its cues from the training gear worn by England’s 1966 [World Cup-winning] heroes, with a gradient of blues and reds topped with purple.

“The same colours also feature an interpretation of the flag of St George on the back of the collar.”

The new emblem, coincidentally, also resembles colours widely associated with  bisexual groups, many have noted.

The English Football Association assured fans it “fully supported” the new look.

Many England supporters seem to have a different opinion and some see a “woke” message they do not like at all.

The UK’s Daily Mail sports podcast It’s All Kicking Off lambasted the move as “a load of bollocks”.

The British radio station TalkSPORT’s host Simon Jordan slammed the decision to alter the St George’s Cross: “I don’t quite understand why Nike want to have a ‘playful’ brief on our identity,” he lamented.

“Is our national identity a joke, is it something we’re ashamed of? I think our national identity is something we should be proud of. I don’t find it offensive; I find it unnecessary,” he said of the new design..

“Rather than reclaim it, what we’ll do is put up a meaningless cross that has no value to it and represents nobody.

“No other country would allow this to happen, they wouldn’t allow it to be done on their national shirt,” he went on.

“This is the same Nike that couldn’t even be bothered to produce Mary Earps shirts. I don’t think we should be taking lessons from Nike on the values of this country.

“And the FA are absolutely complicit in this. The FA will have their virtue-signalling fingers all over this,” Jordan concluded.

GB News TV presenter Stephen Dixon called the decision “a defilement of our flag”, adding: “I’ve had enough.”

Politicians also weighed in. On the same channel, former UKIP leader and Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said it was “an absolute joke” and that the new emblem “bears no relationship to the St George’s Cross whatsoever”.

Reform UK MP Lee Anderson described Nike’s design as “virtue-signalling woke nonsense”.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “This virtue-signalling, namby-pamby, pearl-clutching woke nonsense must stop. Any more of this and I’ll be on the first flight to Rwanda,” referring to the long-stuck Government desire to relocate would-be immigrants to the African country.

Opposition Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer argued that the kit should be changed back to its previous form.

“I think it was wrong,” Starmer said of the change.

“As you know, I’m a big football fan. I go to England games – men’s and women’s games – and the flag is used by everybody.

“It is a unifier, it doesn’t need to be changed, we just need to be proud of it – so, I think they should just reconsider this and change it back.

“I’m not even sure they can properly explain why they thought they needed to change it in the first place.”

The Labour chief also noted the high price Nike asks fans to pay – up to £146, or €170, for a replica jersey.

His fellow party-member Emily Thornberry called the design “a bit weird”.

“Imagine putting a bit of purple on the Irish tricolour,” she said. “Why are we messing around with it? I don’t understand.”

Conservative Party MP Clarke-Smith, likewise, said: “I’m not sure what this is supposed to be but it certainly looks nothing like our flag and I’m not sure it needs an ‘update’ either.

“That said, I doubt they’ll shift many at those sort of prices.”

Lucy Frazer, the Government’s culture minister, said: “Fans should always come first and it’s clear that this is not what fans want.

“Our national heritage – including St George’s Cross – brings us together. Toying with it is pointless and unnecessary.”

David Seaman, the much-loved former England goalkeeper, wondered: “Are they going to change the Three Lions to three cats?”