Home » Furious England fans slam new ‘woke’ kit after St George’s Cross row

Furious England fans slam new ‘woke’ kit after St George’s Cross row

Shoppers outside Nike’s flagship London store on Oxford Street weren’t impressed with the change (Image: Nigel Howard/Daily Express)

Football fans have voiced outrage at the changes made to the new England men’s football shirt ahead of the 2024 European Championships.

It comes after the traditional red St George’s Cross embroidered on the back of the collar was replaced by a multicoloured cross in navy, light blue and purple.

Nike, who makes the kits, said the change was a “playful update” intended to “unite and inspire”.

The majority of shoppers outside Nike’s flagship UK store on Oxford Street in London were confused by the alteration and the reasoning behind it.

Only a few voiced support for the change and said they were “united” and “inspired” by what has rumbled the nation.

The new England football shirt

The Daily Express managed to catch a shopper who had just parted with £84.99 for the shirt (Image: Nigel Howard/Daily Express)

Haydon and Kia

Haydon, 21, and Kia, 24, couldn’t wrap their heads around the change (Image: Nigel Howard/Daily Express)

“It’s sacrilege, it’s absolutely disgusting,” said Rob, 51. “It’s the St George’s Cross, nothing else. There’s nothing that inspires me about it — I won’t be buying it.”

David, a 41-year-old investor, questioned whether the change was worth it. “When I initially saw it I did think it was a bit off,” he said. “It’s kind of causing controversy for no reason.”

Nike has said it was not its “intention to offend” with the new design, while it and the FA, the governing body of association football in England, inset they will not recall the shirt.

Haydon, 21, said he didn’t “see the point” in the change, while Kia, 24, added: “I just don’t understand why they’ve changed it, it’s just your country. There are many, many other ways you can inspire and unite, but the flag is the flag.”

Assad, a 17-year-old avid football fan, similarly couldn’t wrap his head around it.

Asad, 17

Football fan Asad said Nike could’ve added details elsewhere on the shirt (Image: Nigel Howard/Daily Express)

He said: “That’s the kit that’s going to be representing the country. They could’ve added little details elsewhere on the shirt, on the sleeves, anywhere else. But the cross? They didn’t have to change that.

When you think of England, you think of the red stripes. Every tournament you see people painting their hair, their faces [in the stripes]. What’s the point of changing it if it doesn’t make sense?”

Would he be buying the shirt with a hefty price tag of £124.99 for the authentic version worn by the players or £84.99 for what is called the stadium version? “No chance,” he added.

Alistair Shaw, 40, meanwhile, said he “didn’t mind” the change and that it seemed to be a move towards being more “inclusive”.

Janie Ledgister, 38, said she felt the St George’s flag can “sometimes be perceived as a bit negative”. She continued: “I think this is a bit more positive. I like the ‘unite and inspire’ tagline, I think it’s a good thing, a positive thing.”

Alistair Shaw, 40

Alistair Shaw, 40, said he “didn’t mind” the change that seemed to be a move towards ‘inclusivity’ (Image: Nigel Howard/Daily Express)

And Jody Alexander, a 42-year-old healthcare worker, was flummoxed by the outrage surrounding the change. He said: “You have to expect a change of kit every year, every two years — it’s just a normality. We’ve had many kits in the past 10 years, so I’m not sure why there’s a sudden outrage about the new change of kit. I really don’t get it.”

Figures across the political spectrum weighed in on the debate, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak telling reporters that he “prefers the original” and that the national flag was a “source of pride” and identity.

“When it comes to our national flags, we shouldn’t mess with them because they’re a source of pride, identity, who we are, and they’re perfect as they are,” he said.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour Party leader and Prime Minister hopeful, came out as one of the first politicians to criticise the change.

Janie Ledgister, 38

Janie Ledgister, 38, liked the change and the message behind the ‘unite’ and ‘inspire’ slogan (Image: Nigel Howard/Daily Express)

Jody Alexander, 42

Jody Alexander, 42, said people ‘should expect’ a kit change every few years (Image: Nigel Howard/Daily Express)

Describing the St George’s Cross as “something to be proud of”, he told The Sun: “I’m a big football fan, I go to England games, men’s, women’s games.

“And the flag is used by everybody, it’s unifying, it doesn’t need to change. We just need to be proud of it. So I think they should just reconsider this and change it back.”

Nike, who announced the change this week, say the shirt harks back to the one the team wore at the 1966 World Cup, the only major tournament won by the men’s team.

A standard shirt will cost £84.99 — £20 more than the kit England wore four years ago — while the junior equivalent costs £64.99.

Nike has also released an “authentic shirt” which has “lightweight, quick-drying technology to help keep you cool and comfortable on the field”, according to the manufacturer, which costs a staggering £124.99 for adults and £119.99 for children.