Oxford United have been accused of trying to rip off their own supporters with an “exclusive limited edition replica shirt” that bears a striking resemblance to teamwear from kit supplier Puma.
The League One club announced on Monday that just 125 of the shirts, priced at £75 each, will go on sale ahead of Saturday’s match against Shrewsbury Town to mark their 125th anniversary, with the team set to wear the kit for the game itself.
But eagle-eyed supporters swiftly noticed that the orange design with black trim – claimed by Oxford to be inspired by Headington United, the club’s name from its founding in 1893 until 1960 – can be bought from Puma’s own store without any club insignia for as little as £8.
One supporter, Tino Rice, posted underneath Oxford’s promotion of the shirt on Twitter with a screenshot of the Puma teamwear and said: “Hmm... this ‘limited edition’ £75 anniversary kit appears to be Puma's 2018 orange and black identikit that is currently available for £8. This is a £69 mark up to sew on a custom badge.”
Another fan, Andrew Oakley, replied sarcastically: “Think everyone is being a bit harsh, it does have a small NUMBER embroided [sic] on it between 1 and 125, that’s at least £60 extra right there.”
“That is absolutely laughable,” said supporter Connor Wakefield. “We’ve gone from classy, bespoke kits to a laughable ‘off-the-hanger’ top.”
Oxford say the 125 limited edition shirts – “one for each year since the club was formed in 1893” – are numbered and embroidered on the bottom right-hand corner to make each one “truly unique”. Sponsor logos have also been removed “to complete a vintage look and feel”.
They will go on sale at the club shop on a “strictly first come, first served” basis at 11am on Saturday ahead Oxford’s match against Shrewsbury, though they are far from certain to be in high demand. “I don’t think they’ll be queuing round the block somehow,” said David, another Twitter user.
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