Sport

Gills get shirty, Brazilians put a price on theirs

Paul McConville

FOOTBALL'S come along way since 10 half-time, 20 the winner when games were only interrupted when the kid who owned the ball had to go in for his tea. Temporary stoppages occurred when the ball got stuck under a car and the lankiest kid had to try and scoop it out with his foot or somebody shinned a shot into the cranky neighbours garden and had to muster all the courage a nine-year-old to go and ask for it back.

Teams were distinguished by shirt and skins and League One side Gillingham were in serious danger of regressing to the attire of a childhood kickabout this week when the pitched up at MK Dons without their kit.

In one of the clearist cases of 'you had one job', kit man Bob Lewin sadly got the heave-ho from the Kent club. As job descriptions go, 'kit man' is as concise as they come.

As this was a fresh spring afternoon, and also a professional soccer match, shirts and skins was a bit of a non-starter, but the staff in the MK Dons shops were frantically trying to get numbers printed on tops from their training kit for the Gills to wear.

However, the Gillingham kit finally arrived just 15 minutes before kick-off, right before MK Dons were about to turn their shirts inside out.

STICKING with kits, but heading to the football hotbed of Brazil, and fans and media following provincial club Fluminense de Feira were left bemused by the latest initiative by the club to pull in an extra bit of coin.

Instead of wearing their names on the back of their shirts, players wore the names of products available at a local supermarket such as shampoo, pizza and sardines - although the way Brazilian football nicknames go, it's hard to tell sometimes - I'm looking at you Bismarck, Fred and Hulk.

Not content with that, instead of squad numbers, the players had the prices of the featured items on the back of their shirts, such as 5.98 and 20.38.

It brings new meaning to the notion of a player being weighed down by a huge price tag. In fact, a player letting you know that pizza is available at a knockdown price is certain to become a fans favourite.

Head honcho of Fluminense de Feira Xiko Melo hit back after the club copped a bit of flak for the venture.

“Football is very ungrateful to small teams on this sponsorship issue. You cannot put together a good team without conditions (and shampoo, eh?) and having a good team requires resources”

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