J is for jerseys and journeymen…
As ever, football news sites are abuzz with the usual pre-season talk of new home, away and third kits. The colours, the patterns and the designs that adorn these jerseys are a vital part of the sport’s appeal to some. Countless numbers of fans have based their choice of who to follow on the style of a shirt.
Plenty will remember pining for replica kits to run around their neighbourhoods in as children, pretending to be their heroes while trying to recreate their greatest feats.
Classic Premier League kits…
What’s good clean fun for the kids however, can quickly become a source of derision when it comes to adults wearing their team’s colours, especially with matching shorts, socks and more. All that’s required to understand the general feeling about such choices of attire is a quick glance of the “Full Kit Wankers” Twitter account.
On the field of play however, jerseys can be yet another canvas for the drama of the game: the controversial sight of a player sprinting about in different colours after switching club allegiances, the stains of split blood all over the chest, or the lifting of a garment to celebrate a goal.
Speaking of players swapping teams, J is also for journeymen.
Though sometimes viewed as relics of yesteryear or a type of player limited to a life in the lower leagues, the Premier League has featured its fair share of players happy to move around the division to find work.
Often it’s strikers who clock up the most miles as club’s seek to acquire their services as goalscorers. Chris Sutton, Les Ferdinand, Emile Heskey, Dwight Yorke, Peter Crouch, Stan Collymore, Andy “Andrew” Cole… the list goes on and on. And what about Nicolas Anelka, Craig Bellamy and Darren Bent? Don’t forget Robbie Keane, a footballer with as many boyhood dream teams as transfer deals to his name.
There’s more than a couple of names too who look likely to orbit the football trivia lists as pub quiz tiebreakers for all eternity. Hermann Hreidarsson played for five Premier League clubs while Nigel Quashie managed six; a total equalled by none other than Nick Barmby, Tal Ben Haim, Wayne Bridge and Scott Parker. Besides Cole, few can compete with Marcus Bent’s lofty final tally of seven, however.
One player who could never have been accused of being a Premier League journeyman was Matt le Tissier who, neatly enough, was born and raised on the channel island of—you guessed it—Jersey.
From the game’s best and most bizarre shirts, to the players who wore so many of them throughout their playing days, we’ve sort of come full circle with Southampton’s one-club superstar of the 1990s, and that seems as fitting a place to end as any.
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