Struggling for gift ideas this Christmas? Well here’s a warning of what not to buy from Piers Barber…
In the lead up to December’s big, fat, festive day of retail reckoning, the football Money Making Machine well and truly kicks into full gear, churning out a multitude of overpriced souvenirs and tacky stocking fillers for all varieties of super-fan.
Here this year’s best examples of cringe-worthy football capitalism:
1. Terrifying mugs on terrifying mugs
The Manchester United Megastore—the original and still the best home of terrible football merchandise—is packed to the brim with rubbish stocking fillers for this, and every Christmas.
Take the horrendously overpriced and highly chilling ‘David Moyes – Manager’ mug, for example. A wonderfully disturbing, and no doubt underwhelming, way to enjoy your morning coffee.
Just make sure to keep an eye on it while its in use as it has a tendency to fall off the end of tables.
2. Christmas jumpers for goalposts
This chirpy Brummie-themed Christmas jumper appears to have bee conceived in order to provide all chilly West Brom fans with the ideal way to stay warm and hopeful on those miserable winter away days.
Sadly, there’s little in the way of player endorsements to lift its appeal, though while we may not know whether this woollen number is Victor Anichebe’s favourite pullover who’s to say Steve Clarke isn’t keeping himself well insulated while on gardening leave with a festive freebie from the club shop?
3. Why still me?
He may be gone in body when it comes to stepping out on the Etihad turg, but the spirit of Mario Balotelli at Manchester City lives on, at least in their official club shop. Grab this weird model of everyone’s favourite infamous striker before rapidly depleting stocks run out. Actually, who cares.
We can’t help but feel the club missed a trick by not creating a range of Balo-themed fireworks to see the New Year in with.
4. Niche calendars a-plenty
Huge sales of this product would be guaranteed, if only it wasn’t made up entirely of photos of a quite unpopular man trying to look fashionable, and, of course, people still actually bought calendars.
Still, this is the ideal gift for that most elusive of characters, the Neil Lennon diehard, or alternatively those who would rather use the product for darts throwing target practise rather than date keeping.
5. Dead grass
What do you get the Chelsea fan who has everything? How about a bit of old grass and mud placed tastefully alongside a certificate guaranteeing its authenticity as a genuine lump of Stamford Bridge turf?
A guaranteed hit with the ladies.
6. Harrowing player masks
What do you get the Chelsea fan who still doesn’t have everything?
Your only option may well be this utterly terrifying mask of one of the club’s fringe midfielders. What is it for? Literally nobody knows. Just make sure you do your bit to help the club recoup the £30 million they forked out on the player. Just 7,500,000 purchases of this £4 beauty should just about do it to break even on that Spurs-denying outlay.
7. A Martin model for Jol-ly good time
The perfect present for those with a particularly passionate affection for jolly, unemployed Dutchmen, courtesy of the Fulham shop.
At only 50p, this tiny, inaccurate model of Martin Jol was until recently overshadowed by the “iconic” statue of Michael Jackson previously parked outside Craven Cottage.
Buy now while stocks last.
8. Toast utensils
Here the suits at Aston Villa have tapped into a truly inspired gap in the market.
With this genius toast press, you’ll no longer be forced to put up with run-of-the-mill, non-branded heated bread. As long as you’re a Villa fan, that is.
Perhaps, having been buttered up with such a thoughtful gift idea on Christmas Day, the club’s hierarchy are hoping word of the club’s vital breakthrough in heated bread technology will spread far and wide, enabling them to rack up the profits.
9. Branded booze
So, Swansea have their own single malt.
Originally released to commemorate the Swans’ first season in the Premier League, this strange product is somehow still on the market, no doubt continuing to appeal to that famously expanding market, Swansea fans bored of drinking actual real whisky.
10. Custom bath plugs
There aren’t all that many holes in the Stoke defence, and now fans of the Potters can block up their baths with the help of this nifty fat duck wearing a Stoke shirt.
An essential winter purchase for all admirers of aquatic birds and stagnant water.
Rumours has it the duck’s girth-to-shirt ratio was modelled on Charlie Adam himself.
11. Ice scraper
Does exactly what it says on the tin*, in a hilariously branded way. What is the point of life?
*Tin sold separately.
Piers is a Manchester United fan who writes regularly for Dream Team Fantasy Football.