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August 16, 2011

I Judge You When You Wear That Jersey

Someone once coined the expression “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” That person was an idiot.

First impressions are everything. It’s why newspapers go for the splashy headline. It’s why people spend an inordinate amount of time figuing out what picture to use for their Facebook profile. It’s why I hear the words “curb appeal” 15 times whenever my girlfriend watches House Hunters.

The clothes you choose to wear go a long way towards making that first impression. Fair or unfair, we make snap judgments about people all the time and your choice of wardrobe reflects something about you whether you meant it or not. And you meant it.

The same principle thus applies to sports jerseys. As football gets more  popular here in the states (or at least the idea of football) we are starting to see a larger, more diverse array of kits.

And just like any other clothes, I’m judging you based on your choice of soccer shirt. You made the decision to support that club (don’t tell me you just like the color, football jerseys are expensive), or at least pretend to support them. So now you have to deal with the consequences.

Below I present a handy compendium of the jerseys I see and why the people in them make me angry.

(Author’s Note: You may wear one of these shirts and also be a very knowledgable football fan and have a perfectly valid reason for supporting whichever club. I don’t want to hear it. There’s a time and a place for everything. And this is the time and place for irrational vitriol.)

 Barcelona

Case in point: Justin Bieber

Let’s get this one right out of the way. If I see you wearing a Barcelona jersey, I’m going to go ahead and assume you don’t know anything about football. Anything besides the fact that Barcelona are supposedly the best team in the world that is.

You’re a sheep. And you’ve probably bought into all that “more than a club” bullshit too.

Oh, but they represent Catalan culture you say? Sorry, they rep Qatar now. Ass.

Celtic

God this one pisses me off. I see it all the time living in Boston. You think that’s an Irish shirt just because it’s got a four-leaf clover on it don’t you? DON’T YOU!?

Yes, I know Celtic FC was founded by an Irishman and has roots in Glasgow’s large Irish immigrant population. But the Masshole wearing the jersey doesn’t know that. So shut up.

Non-Mexican Guy Wearing Mexico Jersey

Oh you’re just sooo contrary aren’t you? You know what you are? You’re the guy wearing the Lebron jersey in Cleveland.

I’ll stop short of calling you anti-American. But I bet you’d steal my job if you had the chance.

I suppose a case could be made that you just respect the skill and beauty of Mexican soccer. Wait, no it couldn’t.

You know what real El Tri supporters would do if you wore that to a match? THEY WOULD THROW PEE ON YOU.

Chelsea

Yep, I'm talkin to you Will.

The whole idea for this diatribe came about on my recent vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. For those of you who don’t know, MV is a pleasant vacation island off the coast of Cape Cod filled during the summer months primarily (though not exclusively, hence my presence) by the supremely wealthy, where this summer I spotted 5 Chelsea jerseys in a week.

That’s 5 times more than any other kit I saw, save Real Madrid with 4. This judgment goes for you Galácticos too.

With apologies to Autoglass, if I catch you wearing that goddamn blue thing I’m just going to assume you’re a priveleged snob.

That or you didn’t start watching football until 2004.

You could probably buy your own club. Why would you choose to support this one?

I saw a 9-year old boy wearing a Terry shirt and I was so angry I cried.

Netherlands

You think marijuana is super cool. You don’t smoke it all that often unless someone else buys it but man, drugs right?

Maybe you really are a stoner. But you’re a dumb one, because most stoners are paranoid and don’t like to attract attention. Don’t you think wearing bright orange sort of defeats the purpose?

Any David Beckham Jersey

You really think you’re hot stuff don’t you? And it hasn’t been raining, so I’m going to go ahead and assume that is a massive amount of product in your hair.

You could have just gone for the England kit but you decided to go with the player name that most fits how good looking your mom says you are. Or alternately, don’t even act like you gave a rat’s ass about the LA Galaxy before Goldenballs arrived.

If you also have whatever hairstyle Mr. Posh is sporting at the time, I’m literally seconds away from throwing up on you.

Italy

Spell 'Azzurri' Pauly. Go ahead. I dare you.

Lest you think I’m not an equal opportunity slanderer, I give you full permission to go up to any mook you see wearing the Azzurri top and ask him to name one player on the current roster.

9 times out of 10 you’ll get a loud, angry reaction that you and I both know will only be masking shame.

Or ask what those 4 stars on the crest represent. They don’t know? Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Tell them to put on one of those “Ciao Bella” Coca-Cola shirts and get lost.

Manchester United

You are just the worst aren’t you? Let me guess who your other favorite sports teams are:

The Yankees? The Lakers? The Cowboys?

Ding. Ding. Ding.

I’d call you a front runner. But that’s not even an insult to you is it?

I suppose there’s a slight chance you might just be a Sikh. But I think there are other ways I could figure that out.

Even if you’re English, you’re not even from Manchester are you?

Manchester City

You are from Manchester, and therefore have never seen the sun. That or you have an unhealthy love of Oasis.

Bayern Munich

Quick, name me one other Bundesliga club. Just one. Nah, didn’t think so.

Arsenal

You’re French.

France

I can beat you up.

Argentina

Cokehead.

Stoke City

Is this a joke?

Inter Milan

Now you’re just trying to piss me off.



About the Author

Orr





103 Comments


 
 

  1. mountainWAG

    BRILLIANT!


  2. MP

    At least 75% of people in Boston that wear Celtic jerseys are under the impression that it is an Ireland shirt. Or somehow related to the Celtics.


  3. Lennon's Eyebrow

    That was awesome. And this has nothing to do with my hatred of Arsenal, but most of the people I see in Arsenal jerseys are complete hipster douchebags


  4. BG

    AC Milan: you’re quietly judging everyone’s soccer shirt choices.
    Flamengo/Brazil: did you enjoy your trip to Rio during carnaval?
    Boca Juniors: the Buenos Aires airport gift shop had some sweet deals, didn’t it?


  5. In 2004 I befriended a young Geordie at my hostel in Paris because he was wearing the stripes. He loved the idea of a Yank Toon supporter (he was also plastered, though perhaps that’s redundant) and on the spot gave me the shirt off his back. shockingly he was wearing an undershirt. also shockingly, he wasn’t morbidly obese.


  6. mightymightydr

    What do you think when someone rocks a Sp*rs kit?

    /first one to say “Jew” loses.


  7. Oyeoro

    While I am and Arsenal fan and not French nor a hipster, I am willing to on the limb and argue that most Arsenal fans (esp. the ones that remain after this season) are actually know more than the average fan. But the Spurs’ fans, well…. they burn down their own part of London..


  8. clemantona

    Orr – for me, the italian jersey triggers pure illogical and uncontrolable rage. So while you may think you can beat me up in my french jersey, i’m thinking about what i have in my pockets to stab you with if we end up crossing eyes
    <3 you


  9. MP

    Germany: You hate people in Spurs shirts.


  10. Orr

    @Clem – I don’t know if it’s totally illogical. I’ll be the first to admit we can be obnoxious. But why not just go for the headbutt?


  11. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @MP: Nice.


  12. What about people wearing Nani shirts? Even I call them twats.


  13. Stephen

    Dear city of Philadelphia, please stop wearing all of your Phillies s*** to USA games. I can’t tell you how many of those stupid Phillies Hawaiian shirts I saw at the USA-Mexico game last week. Yes, your brand new label-on flat-billed Phillies Starter hat is bright blue with a red star and white P (not that those are even Philly’s effing colors… kinda like the camouflage Yankees hats and pink Bo’Sahwks hats). But if a USMNT game was anything more than an excuse to tailgate and spill beer every time you lean over to your friend to ask “HowwwwrethePhhhilllllsdooooin?!?”, you’d know that most people wear red to the games. Philly fans:MLB::Alabama fans:SEC.


  14. WhiteSpeedReceiver

    What if I wear a United shirt and my other favorite sports teams are the Twins/Vikings/Fuck the NBA?


  15. @WSR: My faves are, in order Angels/L.A. Kings/Lakers/fuck the NFL.


  16. MP

    United/Yankees/Jets/Knicks/Rangers for me.


  17. WhiteSpeedReceiver

    Jesus Christ, you guys are assholes.


  18. Pradajames

    Newcastle United jersey? Masochist.


  19. Mountain Wag

    @oyeoro – agreed. separately, I actually rarely see people in AFC kits. The majority of those i run across in my travels are Chelsea and Real Madrid.
    .
    Separately, it was goddamn insane how many RM kits were at the RM/Union game the other week. And they didn’t look brand new either. They were being worn by any and all people that weren’t Caucasian though…


  20. friends and I saw a guy this weekend with a Gudjohnsen Barca kit. we had no idea what to make of him (very swarthy, rotund man, not hipstery at all).


  21. Mountain Wag

    @WSR – That’s what I’m here for (to tip the balance of assholishness). I don’t care about baseball or basketball. Was raised on the Saints (when they sucked), family ties to Bears/Green Bay, and now I have to root for the Bengals (who are worse than Arsenal, so it makes my footy season look bright!). woohoo!


  22. Eladio

    At a Phish show this summer (yes, I’m a hipster douchebag), 3 guys sitting together were wearing: Arsenal-Nasri; ManUtd-Rooney; Chelsea-Champions. I have a photo (albeit with a guy walking in front of them), but since I’m an Arsenal doofus I have no clue how to post it here. The question still remains: Of those 3, which one was most deserving of being hit over the head with a snow shovel? Chelsea-Champions by a mile.


  23. Lennon's Eyebrow

    Spurs/Yanks/UGA/Hawks


  24. Eladio

    @LE: Thanks for allowing me to hate you 3 different ways now.

    Arsenal/Virginia Tech/Red Sox/Bruins


  25. MP

    @Eladio: I don’t think I can come up with a worse shirt than Chelsea Champions.


  26. Arkie

    Personally if I see anyone with a real European jersey I ask them for a loan because I know they have money to burn. Shits ridiculous.


  27. What about White dudes wearing the Drogba Côte d’Ivoire kit from last summer?


  28. Chad

    On a somewhat related note, I was in China for about three weeks recently. The number of Barcelona jerseys was staggering, both on locals and foreigners. Second most common were Chelsea shirts. Exactly one person (English tourist) acknowledged my West Ham jersey (this says I’m a masochist, I know). I did pick up a Beijing Guoan FC shirt at the Worker’s Stadium, despite not seeing any Chinese club shirts the entire trip.


  29. Tno

    I saw a Nasri jersey at an Angels game a few weeks back. Fuck that guy.
    Padres/Spurs/Clippers/Fuck the NFL


  30. Lucius

    Thanks for posting your allegiances Eladio, now we all know you are officially the worst person on earth.


  31. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @Eladio: Well I hate you 4 ways. Boo Phish.


  32. Eladio

    @Lucious: I don’t think the audit has come back yet, but when it does, I think Casey Anthony will still be a smidge below me.


  33. Lucius

    You’re a hokie who roots for arsenal. No one is below that.

    Phish is just the mayonnaise on your shit sandwich.


  34. @LE, Eladio I have plenty of reasons to hate both of you
    Everton/Yankees/Saints/Steelers/Penguins/Clemson/Fuck the NBA but I guess the Hornets


  35. @BG: funny you should mention Boca Juniors because my wife got me that kit on her trip to Buenos Aries.
    -
    The only kits I wear in public when I am not playing a soccer game have been the following: Liverpool; Timbers; AC Milan (for the UF Foul Up in Baltimore) since they were playing terrible Chelsea and had Onyewu–I have not worn since; USMNT. Now if you ask me how many kits I have in my closet that I wear to play soccer in–well, the number goes up . Include those mentioned above plus a Mannschaft kit, Netherlands, Ivory Coast, Boca Juniors, and I guess that’s all.


  36. Villa kit: “Is that West Ham?” NO, MOTHERFUCKER!


  37. Tno

    @Keith
    Duhh, it’s obviously Burnley.


  38. All you “Fuck the NBA” people can get fucked by rabid, herpes infected rhino.
    /Favorite sports team is Portland Trailblazers.


  39. Stephen

    Arsenal/UGA/Braves/(other Atl. teams). @LE: Go Dawgs! Since grad school has banished me to the cold half of the country, UGA-GT is the only game I get to go to each year, when I’m home for Thanksgiving.


  40. georger

    I’m just better than everyone regardless of what they’re wearing.


  41. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @Brian: At least we can bond over the Yankees.
    .
    @Stephen: Nice to see a fellow Bulldog. Too bad you’re an Arsenal fan. We coulda had something special.


  42. bergkampesdios

    If I can think up a reason in my head on the spot why someone wearing the jersey is just a glory hungry whore who knows nothing of the game, my first instinct is to despise them. This is quite easy with the likes of Chelsea, Man U, and Barcelona (and even Arsenal). The exception is USMNT.
    On the other hand, if I see someone in a jersey that clearly has nothing to do with marketing budgets, I instantly give them props in my head. The exception is Stoke.


  43. Wedel

    Hahahaha – this is awesome! Nice work Orr.
    -
    United/Islanders/Yankees/Fuck the NFL/Fuck the NBA harder. Also Go Bedlington TERRIERS!
    -
    I have 3 shirts: Scotland, United’s 1968 Big Cup Final (the blue one that is my avatar), and United’s 1993 third (purchased at OT in 1993). I only wear the ’68 Big Cup one — no one knows what it is. I dig being stealthy.


  44. Wedel

    Oh hai, Berg. Fuck you.


  45. Stephen

    @LE The glass is only 1/3 full. You’re also a Yankees fan. But I try to see the positive. Btw- I found this out recently, you can get green peanuts (the ones you need for making boiled peanuts, which you need for watching UGA) from Asian/Indian grocery stores. That was a huge discovery for this UGA fan in New Jersey.


  46. Wedel

    @Stephen: My only connection to boiled peanuts was in Tennessee. I drove my gf home for spring break back in the day and her dad was waiting for us on the front porch. He looks at me, shakes his head from side to side, and says, after a long pause, “well, Yankee, you want a peanut?” To which I responded, “yessir, nice to meet you, sir.” As introductions go, I thought it went reasonably well given the cultural chasm separating NY and TN.


  47. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @Stephen: I’m also a Braves fan. But I was from New Jersey before I was from Atlanta, so the Yanks come first. My dad wouldn’t have let me grow up any other way.


  48. Andrew

    I saw a ManU Valencia jersey yesterday at the grocery store. In West Des Moines.


  49. Is it safe to say that everybody pre-judges you as a hipster if you wear a soccer jersey? Especially if it’s barcelona/arsenal.


  50. Goat

    Got some boiled peanuts while visiting the wife’s family in Georgia but they weren’t green so we had to get some proper ones to bring home. Also got 5 bags of grits.


  51. bergkampesdios

    Wedel – you f*cking fud. Had no idea you were Scottish. That makes this ManU thing even harder to take.

    I have three jerseys – 1974 USMNT, Bergkamp, and Eduardo (Father-in-law is Croatian). I only ever wear the USMNT, and then only during games.


  52. RFCSean

    Wore the Reading FC kit on a recent trip thru Epcot and got many compliments ( and condolences on the Wembley loss) while at dinner at the Rose & Crown in the English pavillion. Met a gal from High Wycombe and she said how fierce the Royals/Chairboys derby used to be. Most were just surprised to see a Yank wearing something other than ManUre, Chelsea or Liverpoo shirt. C’Mon UUUURRRRRRZZZZ!


  53. Orr

    While we’re listing our other allegiances: In addition to the obvious Milan and Italy, I do support Liverpool and the USMNT for football. Then its Mets/NY Giants/Knicks/NY Rangers.


  54. @RFC Sean: On the train back from Barca-ManYoo, a PNE supporter commented that “you don’t see many Villa kits” to which I responded that a PNE kit is even rarer.
    -
    and Mets/Villa/Devils/Giants/Nets (by default)/Soda Cows (by default)/Sorrento Calcio(they’d be my hipster team)/Roma(in passing)


  55. Also, here’s my kit list: 81 Villa home throwback, last year’s Villa long sleeved home (with Albrighton’s name/number on the back), 08/09 Villa long sleeved away, 2010 WC Deuce kit, 07/08 Villa home, a Roma “throwback” polo, and an Inter Fat Adriano knockoff purchased near the Vatican


  56. Orr

    @Keith – As long as the actual Inter didn’t get any of your money, I’ll let that slide.


  57. @Orr: it was early in my willingness to wear soccer shirts, and I knew enough to not get the Beckham Real Madrid knockoff they had.


  58. Lennon's Eyebrow

    My kit list: 05/06 Spurs home jersey because I did not know Kappa shirts were not made for normal mortals, 08/09 Spurs away (baby blue and ugly), last year’s Spurs home shirt with Modric’s name and number (please don’t make me regret that), a late 90s Newcastle shirt that my friend gave me when he decided he didn’t want to be a Newcastle fan anymore, he wanted to be a Liverpool fan (he’s now a ManU fan, and if you couldn’t tell, a terrible person), and a Fluminense and a Flamengo jersey that I picked up in Brazil.


  59. Ryan

    The only people I really truly judge when I see them wearing a jersey are Mexico fans, for many of the reasons listed above.


  60. WhoNeedsForwards

    If I see someone in a Liverpool shirt, I assume I’ll hate them.
    If I see someone in a Sounders shirt, I assume I’ll hate them.
    If I see someone else in a Wigan shirt (yes, I have one[#10 N'Zogbia, $30 off the Wigan website btw]), I’ll crap my pants.


  61. WhoNeedsForwards

    Oh, the list is Home and Away Timbers kits for this year, Cahill 07 Home, Arteta 08 Away, Baines 09 Away, and my first kit: Beattie #8, 2005 Home kit. lol


  62. Goosie

    I have a Cameroonian kit that I’ll wear occasionally (mainly to volleyball practice) but I’m about the least hipstery person ever.

    Packers(fuck the Vikings – even though I love Minnesota) /Twins(when I watch baseball which is almost never)/TWOLVES!!!(even if they’re the second worst team in the NBA)


  63. Tno

    @Goosie
    Mhmmmm volleyball player.


  64. Joep

    This used to be such a good site. Ribbing is fine, vitriol is beyond stupid.


  65. @Joep: not sure that this is anything other than ribbing based on stereotypes we have of various clubs. Although it is also important to note that this is written based on American fans sporting various kits and not people from those various locales.


  66. whodat

    “while i thought the article was pretty funny, the writer is a complete douche. is this dude american? if he is, then whuy doesnt he call it soccer and soccer jerseys. you, sir, are a tool.


  67. MP

    /reads whodat’s comment
    //reads it again
    ///repeatedly bashes head against desk


  68. A

    When you called gel, grease, brylcreem whatever Beckham puts in his hair “product” – you destroyed any credibility you had with your tough talk.


  69. Lennon's Eyebrow

    Real men say brylcreem.


  70. I agree with whodat. Italians from the Boston area shouldn’t be considered Americans.
    /ducks


  71. AC Milan: See Italy section.


  72. Chris Stone

    Here’s a rule i made up a while back:
    No self respecting MAN (ie more than 25 years old or so) should be wearing a professional sports team replica jersey, think about it and apply to those you see wearing jerseys.

    I used to have a bunch back in the 1970′s as a teenager when soccer was fringe/countercultural, the coolest: Barcelona red and blue stripes (no logos at all)and a white Sao Paola FC short sleeve. Having said that there’s one jersey that to this day trumps them all…The Caribous of Colorado, check it out online


  73. @Chris: I have a rule that no self-respecting MAN or WOMAN or CHILD wear leather fringe unless it’s Halloween or that just happens to be their club scene. But you know, different strokes for different folks.


  74. Mountain Wag

    @chris – for what it’s worth, the WAGs of the world agree with you. It’s ok if you’re at a sporting event, but other than that…no.


  75. 18nalax

    I have a Schweinsteiger Bayern München jersey. I can also name more than 1 Bundesliga team. But I follow the Bundesliga quite heavily, way more than then NBA.


  76. danunited

    Over my lifespan I have owned an argentina shirt(coz it looks good and argentina are good), real madrid shirt ( coz it was reduced), a lot of england tops (coz I’m english) and a lot of manchester United top (coz I support them and I’m from salford manchester). I think the “there’s no united fans in manchester” is a load of bullshit. I live there and is more or less 50-50 split its just because we have soo many worldwide fans that our overall % of manchester fans drops because of it


  77. @MW: I thought that was understood. To view sporting events as spectators (live or TV) or to play in a sporting event are the only times it is acceptable to wear sports uniforms.


  78. The Widge

    So um buddy, what kind of jersey would you wear?


  79. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @TFA: Don’t forget hipster music festivals! (At least according to this place)


  80. UKhanDoIt

    @Eladio-At Phish show last night I counted 5 Barca shirts; didn’t see any other kits


  81. Precious Roy

    LE: This is what I saw at the last hipster music festival I went to (Pitchfork). So I’m guessing those are now post-kit gatherings.

    Yeah, that’s a white guy in full Arab garb. Now that I think about it, I guess he could just be a Citeh fan.


  82. Orr

    All this was supposed to be was humor everybody. I have no real problem with anyone wearing any jersey. I included the “author’s note” to sort of get that across and everything else, as TFA already stated, was just broad satire. To the guy who called me a douche, that’s sort of the tone I was going for I guess, judgmental douche, so I’m glad it resonated with you.
    @The Widge – I wear my Italy jersey sometimes, which is why I made sure to include that too. Buddy.


  83. Joez

    Arsenal 2008 kit. became a fan at 18. (im 22) but didnt want to be like the stereotypes so I saved up and flew from florida to watch a game at the emirates. If that doesn’t cement me as a true fan, nothing will. btw- I have no local club as I live in florida.


  84. Meh

    So can an American wear a soccer jersey or have you officially declared that people wearing them are lame?

    You seem to think all Americans in soccer shirts have something to prove, while you make presumptuous babble up about the intentions and motivations involved in buying a loud, colorful jersey. Some ARE just cool looking. I would never spend the money, but I can imagine wearing one.


  85. MP

    There are many, many dumb people in the world.


  86. Orr

    I just commented that I wear them…


  87. @Meh: do you have some disability that impairs your ability to recognize and/or understand sarcasm? if you do, then i apologize for the following remark, but if you don’t then you are a moron.


  88. ivy

    I love it when people don’t get sarcasm.

    ^get it?^

    For the record… Liverpool/Sounders/Mariners/University of Washington/f*ck the Seahawks/really f*ck the NBA.

    Last night I was at the Mariners game and I could clearly see the jumbotron screen across the street at CenturyLink Field from my seat. It was like real life picture-in-picture for Sounders CCL match.


  89. Tyler T

    When I see an Arsenal shirt I think moron/ hipster douchebag. When I see Barca I think person with limited knowledge of the sport. When I see a Spurs shirt, I think intelligent, salt of the earth type gent.

    Allegiances: THFC/Milwaukee Brewers/ I don’t bother with anyone else.


  90. When I see Spurs shirts I think whiny little brothers. When I see Liverpool shirts I think Al Bundy.


  91. Tno

    @Ivy
    I completely understand your “f*ck the NBA” stance given your city.


  92. dan

    You’ve got some retarded readers here. Does that bump you up to a second tier blog?


  93. Tno

    @Dan
    Brooks Peck thinks so.


  94. WhoNeedsForwards

    Eh, I can’t get a date anyway, so I’ll continue to wear kits in public.


  95. @dan: they are only here temporarily. we will continue to be third rate.


  96. Liverpool/Union/76ers/Raiders (don’t ask, at least I’m not an Eagles fan)/Flyers/Phillies…I’m 24 and got into the beautiful game late — first-ever match I watched was the 05 comeback, how could I be anything but a Red?


  97. Jenny

    I have a Bayern jersey and hell, I can name every Bundesliga team and even a few 2. Bundesliga too.


  98. Orr

    It’s taking Jenna an awfully long time to look these teams up. I’m a little worried.


  99. @Orr: Her internet failed.


 
 



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