Filling a void left by sports manufacturing giant Nike, a UK-based record label has released an England women’s goalkeeper jersey.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup might have ended in defeat for England, but the Lionesses’ exploits continue to inspire young girls and women across the country and beyond.
However, after kit manufacturer Nike failed to make a replica of the England women’s goalkeeper jersey, others have had to step in, including Oxford-based record label Alcopop! Records.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup – a record-breaking tournament
The 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand saw attendance and viewing records smashed. The matches attracted an unprecedented total of 1,978,274 spectators, averaging 30,911 fans per match.
Moreover, many eager fans tuned in at home, with the final between Spain and England watched by a peak audience of 12 million on UK broadcaster BBC alone.
The exciting tournament culminated in Spain winning its first Women’s World Cup, defeating current European champions England 1-0 at Sydney’s Stadium Australia. Real Madrid left-back Olga Carmona scored the winning goal for La Roja.
Despite the scoreline, one England international took home a trophy. Goalkeeper Mary Earps, who plays her club football for Manchester United, picked up the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper of the tournament.
The jersey controversy – Nike dropped the ball
Earps and her England teammates have rightly received praise for their efforts, becoming the first English team – men’s or women’s – to reach a World Cup final since 1966. The Lionesses’ recent success has revolutionised women’s football in England.
Attendances in the country’s top flight have increased 227% this year, while 2022 saw a 12.5% increase in the registration of female players and a 15% increase in female youth teams. Huge strides have also been made in other related areas, such as coaching and refereeing.
In spite of this, and of Earps’s achievements, fans have been let down by multinational sports conglomerate Nike, who have failed to make replicas of Earps’s goalkeeper jersey available for purchase.
Nike released a statement demonstrating their understanding of the demand for the jersey, and revealed that they were “working towards solutions for future tournaments, in partnership with FIFA and the [football] federations”.
Earps, who was also named best goalkeeper at the 2022 Best FIFA Football Awards, labelled the decision “disappointing” and “hurtful”. Earps’s comments have been backed by fans and former players alike.
Alcopop! Records – filling the England women’s goalkeeper jersey void
Many fans have taken matters into their own hands, creating makeshift England women’s goalkeeper jerseys with the sports star’s name on the back, and Oxford-based Alcopop! Records has come up with a particularly striking design.
Alcopop! Records co-founder Jack Clothier branded Nike’s decision a “ridiculous oversight” and thought, “If you don’t make it, we will”.
The result was a pink England women’s goalkeeper jersey with Earps’s name and squad number proudly on the back. Profits from sales of the shirt will be donated to “a fantastic women’s football charity”, according to the label’s Bandcamp.
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