We welcome a wide congregation and followers of many faiths to our church.
In the past, we have talked of “crap shirts” but in our latter years, age and experience has taught us to be more tolerant and appreciative of what others may see as a beautiful piece of football kit.
Every pair of eyes sees life slightly differently and our ideas of beauty can be effected by many biases, both conscious and unconscious.
Some will only collect items from their favoured club.
Others see no issue in wearing a rival team’s colours.
Some love a well tailored, plain shirt.
Others love to see an outlandish print and subliminated depictions of wild animals migrating across their football shirts.
Some love to collect shirts from far corners of the globe, made by obscure manufacturers.
Others chase labels and the latest fads.
Some people wish to save themselves for something truly unique and meaningful, like a matchworn West Ham United shirt from 1973.
Some love Puma, some do not love Puma.
Some adults even wear goalkeeper tops.
Your preference may be different to mine, and that’s fine.
Let’s be more tolerant of each other.
With this in mind, we were delighted to see Argentine side Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy release this brand new, environmentally inspired shirt earlier this week.
Club Atlético Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy or plain old GEJ to their friends, were founded in 1931 and ply their trade in Primera B Nacional, which is the 2nd tier of Argentine national football.
We’ll save you the need to reach for your Collins’ Spanish Dictionary.
Their name hints at a penchant for Athletics, Gymnastics and Fencing as well as football.
GEJ hail from the Jujuy province in the extreme North West of Argentina close to the slopes of the Andes and her borders with Chile and Bolivia.
Their new shirt is inspired by the landscape of las Yungas Jujeñas, the jungle region that climbs up from the base of the mountains, and is brought to life by Retiel, the very same people who made that audacious Almirante Brown shirt last year.
Make no mistake about it, this is one of those designs you can expect to find among the prawns and green beans in Classic Football Shirts’ Hall of Shame, but is that necessarily a bad thing if it draws international exposure to a club or it’s surrounding community?
In recent years, major manufacturers have taken inspiration from architecture and the natural world when developing new design trends.
Take Nottingham Forest’s 2020-21 third shirt by Macron as an example of a design that used the local environment as its muse; though clearly in a more nuanced and streetwise way than we see here.
Retiel have harnessed the same energy as Puma, adidas, Nike and Macron, but have gone for it in a big, big way, leaving nothing to the imagination.
So let’s not rate this shirt.
Let’s not add it to any end of year rankings.
Let’s just pause for a moment and embrace the absolute madness of a football shirt that is literally just a landscape photo from Google with a load of sponsors logos added to it.
Beautiful isn’t it?