This year’s astronomic price jumps for replica kits appear very unethical.

Fans are a captive audience and now that Everton sell new adult home strips at £60 before you put an initial on the back, is it asking too much?

Hummel make our kit and a quick look at another Hummel kit sold in England is revealing, with Wycombe Wanderers selling theirs at £47. Ask a Wycombe fan and even that is too high. The average annual salary in the Wycombe area is £48k compared with Merseyside’s £35k.

So in setting shirt prices, Everton has clearly not based it on affordability, more on status, volume of demand and our insatiable loyalty. And all Premier League clubs are all selling shirts at prices vastly above their lower league counterparts, knowing thousands will pay up.

Is there room for complaint? And has Everton been opportunistic looking at the price of other Hummel shirts that are made with the exact same quality and just taking a bigger profit margin? Or does the cost of Hummel’s bid to be Everton’s main kit partner mean that Hummel have to claw it back within some of the margin at an increased RRP of £60?

If that’s the case, when we read ‘good news’ that Everton have charged £X million to a sports manufacturer to be the kit partner, it just means the shirts will be priced higher to pay that manufacturer back – effectively the fans pay the manufacturer's sponsorship fee? The irony. It would be great to have that clarified by the club.

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And we can be thankful that it’s the likes of Spurs and Arsenal (both £80 a shirt made by Nike and Adidas respectively) and Newcastle & Villa (both £70 a shirt and made by sportswear challenger Castore), whose fans are stumping up even more than us. Horrific pricing.

As for Liverpool’s Nike shirt, their £75 charge is £15 more than us but £5 less than Spurs’ Nike. So although predictably rinsing their fan base, Liverpool might have taken some view on regional income differences and the potential for a fan backlash if they had marketed a shirt at an £80 price-point.

Ultimately, should fans be dealing with these incredible hikes? The answer is no.

Over the last year, the daily news bulletins show members of the public interviewed, rightly complaining about milk, apples or crisps jumping about 15%. Though it’s a variety of supply chain costs forcing retailers to up prices – some would say it's the work of very opportunistic retailers too.

Not that long ago, new home shirts were in the £39 / £45 range. So football merchandise inflation is on another level to natural food price inflation. It begs the question, just in the same way that away section match tickets have ceilings, should replica kits be capped, as there is clear opportunism here?

Kit and ticket sales are the two income streams where clubs have such a direct relationship with fans. But leagues feel they cannot tell private companies, the clubs, to price their own products a certain way, unless it was blanket policy like the ‘away section’ ticket prices.

Even then, the likes of Nike could argue that their kit is worth more than an Errea or an Umbro, or the club they have sponsored has more prestige. So big money brands would be the first to kick up a fuss and the Premier League could be too weak for that conversation.

Instead, we are left with clubs deciding how much they can tax their fans for their loyalty as extortionate player transfer fees and salaries force clubs to squeeze us across every part of the club's revenue model.

Yes, Everton are charging too much, but could be charging more; it seems we've kept the price in a zone where it’s difficult to complain too harshly when looking at others. But shame on those other clubs for hitting the £80 mark in a year where most are struggling.

If the Premier League is to do its duty, however complex the discussions will be, some level of intervention needs to take place before next year’s kit releases.

Reader Comments (17)

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Mark Boullé
1 Posted 23/08/2023 at 16:46:47
Good article Charlie. It does seem pretty scandalous when you analyse it as you have.

Personally, I never really got the 'new kit every year' thing. Maybe it's a factor of living in Oxford and not local to Everton, but my take it that, as long as I have an Everton shirt for the few games I make it to, that'll do!

I got the 125th anniversary shirt in 2003 which still (just about!) fits – I see no need to change or update it!

Mal van Schaick
2 Posted 23/08/2023 at 17:06:40
Well highlighted, Charlie. Affordability for any fan from any walk of life should be a priority for the club.

I hope that those responsible for pricing it all up read your article and act accordingly. Otherwise we are in the realms of price fixing and the trading standards or similar should look into it.

Michael Kenrick
3 Posted 23/08/2023 at 17:07:06
Just to drill down on one point, Charlie, when it comes to "following the money", the cash paid for each shirt does not all go to Hummel... does it?

I imagine the distributor gets a wedge, which is EFC if you are buying from the store(s). They are currently showing at £65 via the online shop. I assume Hummel sponsor the club at an agreed fixed sum, then indeed make their money back (and possibly more?) on every shirt sale. But Everton must also make more money on what is sold through their channels?

And checking on the Hummel website, it is actually showing a shirt price of £60 — but wait! Hurry in folks! A 50% slash in price to £30 — for both the home and away shirt!!!

£80??? They must have seen you coming, Charlie.

Kieran Kinsella
4 Posted 23/08/2023 at 17:07:54

Yes, people should complain. It is outrageous and why do we need two or three new kits every year? But the real issue that no one wants to address is that all of this is due to players' wages.

You mentioned the average annual wage on Merseyside is £35k. The logic used to be players earned more as their careers were relatively short. Therefore, they'd have some cash in the bank to maintain their lifestyle after football.

Well, Mason Holgate is reportedly on £70k a week for 5 years. That means over the course of his contract he'd have earned an equivalent to 520 years of the average Merseyside salary. I could see 10 maybe 15 years for down the road but 5 years work for 520 years of pay seems somewhat excessive.

I just wonder whether it will take a whole bunch of clubs including probably Everton going bankrupt before there is a great reset. The wages seem to jump double-digit percentages every year. But where is the money coming from?

TV companies are increasingly snubbing TV rights deals (Under-21 Euros, Women's World Cup etc). As TV networks around the globe turn to cheaper options, eg, Bundesliga, the Saudi League, the Premier League will have to drop their demands for revenue.

If that happens, how will Chelsea honour their 8-year contracts on six figures for their 50-man squad? They can't. Not just because of FFP but because of lack of cash.

Something has to give soon cause they can't squeeze fans and TV companies (who make money off fans) much more.

Bill Gall
5 Posted 23/08/2023 at 17:28:36
No I would not buy a new shirt every year, but the problem is a vast majority of supporters do and that is why the clubs will continue to do it, especially if a new player's name appears on the back.

It seems that the more successful clubs charge more, so with the lack of success at Everton caused by inferior management at board level, the price of Everton shirts could remain lower.

Danny O’Neill
6 Posted 23/08/2023 at 17:29:04
It's a fair article, but there is a balance unfortunately.

We have to be mindful of where the majority of our matchday fan base lives and comes from.

But then we are about 5th or 6th from bottom in terms of most expensive season tickets at £690.

Fulham (yes Fulham) are charging over £3,000 for sections of their new stand.

Tottenham and Arsenal over £2,000. Others over £1,000.

Add that up over a season when you look at the attendances.

John McFarlane Snr
7 Posted 23/08/2023 at 18:45:15
Hi Danny [6] I burned the 'midnight oil' writing about a player who played long before the clubs became involved in the commercial side of Shirts etc. When I finished, I immediately thought of you and the loyal fans who travel all over the country. If you have the time to read it I think that you will enjoy it, "Champagne at Highbury"
Regarding the price of shirts etc, I have never bought anything, but I have had them given as birthday or Christmas presents. People who know me, know that that I'm an Evertonian, and people who don't know me won't be interested
Pat Kelly
8 Posted 23/08/2023 at 20:10:27
The fans hold the ultimate sanction here. Just don’t buy the shirts.
John Raftery
9 Posted 23/08/2023 at 20:18:24
When on holiday last month I was surprised to see the new Benfica and Porto shirts being sold for €99.00 in one of Portugal’s main sports retail outlets. It seems to be part of an inflationary trend involving all the top clubs.

It will be interesting to see how resilient demand for new shirts proves to be at a time when the club is in the doldrums. In previous years after the initial rush of sales in pre and early season they have usually been heavily discounted by November often to the tune of 25/40%.

Michael (3) I am not sure any money from sales in EFC outlets goes directly to the club. I may be wrong but I was under the impression Fanatics run the two shops and the online service. It may be of course a % of profits goes to the club with Fanatics carrying the downside risk.

Barry Hesketh
10 Posted 23/08/2023 at 20:20:44
I always believed that the manufacturer gave a set sum of money to the club and that the number of shirts sold or not, doesn't really have any impact on the club, but I could be wrong on that.
Eddie Dunn
11 Posted 24/08/2023 at 06:42:19
My wife is a keen quilter and can sew all kinds of things. I wonder how a home made kit would go down on the terraces?
Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 24/08/2023 at 08:35:18
I rarely wear colours John.

I go to the match when I can. I don't wear shirts. Never really have. I have a photo of me, my two brothers and my son outside Wembley in 2009.

I'm the only one not wearing an Everton shirt. One of my brothers has one of those blue nose things attached to his face. I told him to take it off.

It's not my thing. Those who speak to me know I'm an Evertonian and realise very quickly.

Don't get me wrong, I know the club needs to improve on marketing and expand the brand. Last time I looked (I'm out of date), but you couldn't buy an Everton shirt in our own airport.

Try London. You will see the obvious London clubs alongside Liverpool and Manchester United.

I love our tradition, but if we are to grow, we need to expand our brand.

I live in a city that doesn't have the same connection to their football clubs that we do. They usually attach to something associated with success.

We will never lose our soul, but we have something that a lot of footballer followers will connect to if we get the messaging out there.

What is Barcelona's phrase? More than a club.

We are Everton. Bitter (with reason), twisted (with cause), but proud. And we have standards alongside expectation.

I'm feeling the pain right now, but we are playing Wolves on Saturday.

John McFarlane Snr
13 Posted 24/08/2023 at 09:32:16
Hi Danny [12] I do wear a shirt, [ but not for every game] as I have already stated, my son and daughter buy me shirts as presents.

I know that there is a lot going on at the moment, but I did inform you on another thread, that there is an article on Tommy Lawton, ''Champagne at Hjghbury''. I think that you may find it interesting, it's a bit disappointing, after a couple of days there have only been two responses

John Pickles
14 Posted 24/08/2023 at 09:33:14
The only kit that needs to be carefully priced is the children's kit. In this case there is pressure to buy as the recipient doesn't care about economics. In all other cases, a new kit each year is hardly one of life's essentials.
Jimmy Hogan
15 Posted 24/08/2023 at 13:24:13
If you look at old footage of crowds in the 1970s, absolutely no-one is wearing a football shirt.

Then a demand was created by the clubs, who relied on the misplaced loyalty of their fans to brainwash them into buying a new kit every season.

I have never fallen for it. As far as I am concerned, football shirts are for the players.

John Kavanagh
16 Posted 24/08/2023 at 15:56:40
You can get a kid's size shirt for £30. And they pay you! Unfortunately, you have to take Maupay who's still wearing it.

PS Jimmy H @ 15. Ecept in our case, because on Sunday's evidence our players aren't worth the shirt.

Derek Thomas
17 Posted 27/08/2023 at 07:40:41
The day you become or know you are an Evertonian, or even a fan of another club, you are metaphysically issued with one item.

Stick: 1; with shitty end, fans for the use of.*

* You are expected to provide your own pocket; bottomless apparently, club / sky for the use of.

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