Stella McCartney’s Team GB collection for Adidas amounts to nearly 600 individual items but few were more eagerly anticipated than the football shirt.
Great Britain, who qualify automatically as hosts, have not fielded a team at the Olympics since 1960 because of fears over jeopardising the unique status of the English, Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh teams in the world game.
And experts believe the unique football shirt – replica strips remain big business – could be the most popular item of Team GB merchandise when it goes on sale next month in outlets across the country.
An official Team GB football supporters shirt – which went on sale last year and was controversially modelled by Welsh players Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey – proved more popular than expected.
And leading sports retailers have already promised to heavily promote the strip alongside Umbro’s new England shirt, with the recommended retail price expected to be between £40 and £50.
London 2012 hope to raise £1bn in merchandising sales and generate £80m in profit and successful Team GB replica apparel will be key to this figure.
But McCartney’s Union flag inspired design didn’t meet with instant approval, with three-time Olympic champion cyclist Bradley Wiggins tweeting a simple “Oh dear!” when designs were first unveiled.
Red, white and blue has been replaced by the faintest dash of red and various shades of blue and McCartney claims the iconic Union flag has been “reconstructed” for a “contemporary modern twist”.
The football shirt follows the recent skin tight trend, although the replica version will have a little more give for those fans who enjoy pies more than push-ups.
The shirt is effectively half of the Union flag, with the red replaced by dark and light blue, both the shorts and socks will be dark blue with red trimming.
So far Britain’s rising stars have been chosen to model the strip, Sunderland’s Fraizer Campbell was present at the official reveal at the Tower of London and Rodwell appeared in marketing photos.
But David Beckham, who has a long association with Adidas, is expected be involved in a marketing push should he be selected as one of three over-age players in Stuart Pearce’s otherwise under-23 Olympic team.
“I really like it,” said Campbell.
“Every kit is similar so whatever event you are watching you will be able to tell which are the British athletes, so the footballers will have that connection with the athletes and the tennis players and the cyclists.
“I would love to be part of it this summer. It would mean everything as there has not been a GB team for a long, long time and so I’d be delighted to be part of a team that competes in our home country, delighted to be a part of something as big as this.
“That’s why it’s Team GB, it’s everyone in Britain coming together and performing as best we can to win things as a nation.”
Great Britain’s men start their Olympic campaign with an opening match at Old Trafford on 26 July, while Hope Powell’s women’s team are the first British athletes in action, playing their first match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on 25 July, two days before the opening ceremony.
© Sportsbeat 2012
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