LET’S FACE it, if you’re a bona fide supporter of one of the European Super Football Clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or even Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal you are cushioned to expect the exhorbitant costs involved in following your beloved club.
Season tickets don’t come cheaply and once you figure in travel to European fixtures, particularly if you make a major final, a huge dent appears in your finances …… And then there’s the replica shirt.
The major European clubs are well versed in parting supporters from their hard earned cash, so inevitably change their kit design every season. Most true followers wouldn’t dream of being seen in a replica shirt from previous seasons so are forced stump up their hard earned cash to buy the current shirt. So far, so good, everyone is happy.
Now, imagine you are a hard pressed, cash strapped, Mum and Dad, either on holiday, or living here in Spain. Your kids ( and maybe your other half ) suddenly become obsessed with Spanish football and instantly become fans of either Real Madrid or Barcelona. Ronaldo and Messi become their Gods.
They long to walk around in the same football shirt as their idols, so you decide to treat them to a replica. Visit a club shop or reputable sports goods store and you could expect to pay up to 80€ for a legitimate club endorsed shirt.
However, take a quick scout around any of the Benidorm Markets or the myriad of Chinese and Indian bazaars and you can pick up the exact same shirt for around an eighth of the price. Now,10€ is such a small price to pay to keep your loved ones happy and you will no doubt be buying the new version in a years time. No one will know and everyone’s happy.
The problem is, you are actually breaking the law, buying fake goods and so are the shop owners who sell the counterfeit goods.
Recently in Benidorm, 30K€ of fake football shirts were seized by Guardia Civil Officers. The officals confiscated 664 fake items including branded Adidas and Nike goods from the four outlets run by Indian shopkeepers and arrested the owners. Previous raids predominantly targeted Chinese counterfeiters, but the officers agreed the problem is widespread throughout the town.
The dilemma remains for budget shoppers. Pay a fortune for original goods or risk buying a fake to keep your family happy?
Or perhaps the only other option is persuading them to support Grimsby Town.