Stop, thief! That’s our jersey
132 Have your say
Western Sydney Wanderers strip (Image: Twitter)
It has been a bittersweet week for fans of the old North Sydney Bears. Websites across the land have been inundated with cheeky utterances of “Go the Bears” and “The Bears live!” after the Western Sydney Wanderers football club unveiled their inaugural playing strip.
Bears folk smiled at the humour of the situation but then again, deep down, there are some pangs of confusion. Something doesn’t sit right.
As some Roarers have pointed out, the Wanderers shirt is almost identical to the red and black hooped jersey the North Sydney Bears currently use in the NSW Cup competition.
By and large, the A-League fraternity looks to have approved the playing strip which should do really well in the merchandising sector as the Wanderers take shape for the 2012-13 season.
But for Bears fans – and I freely admit to having plenty of red and black blood in my veins since I was a kid – there is a feeling the team has fallen victim to identity theft.
Those are our traditional colours, our playing strip – surely the football mob could have come up with something a tad more original, using the same colour combination?
Would St George fans, for example, be happy if a local football club sent its players onto the pitch in white shirts with a big red V? Understandably, there would be quite a hullaballoo.
And ask the nearest South Sydney devotee if he or she would be pleased to see something similar paraded on a local football field, using their club’s famous cardinal and myrtle combo?
When contacted yesterday, Greg Florimo, the CEO of the Central Coast Bears franchise, said he had not seen footage of the Wanderers launch, nor pictures of players modelling the ‘new’ shirts.
“But I have no complaints,” Florimo told me, “Black and red are very strong and bold colours and I don’t blame them for going in that direction.
“We cannot control what others are doing. It would be a waste of time and energy complaining about it. I say good luck to them. They (WSW) have nothing to do with us.”
Florimo said, in any case, it was unlikely the hooped style of jersey would be tried if the Central Coast Bears won admission to the NRL competition. He said proposed playing strips would be taken to the supporter base and sponsors for opinion and approval.
With Florimo on the line, I thought it might be prudent to ask the state of play with regard to the CC Bears and their long running battle for re-entry to top flight league.
“We have tried to schedule talks with the newly formed Commission but everything is in a holding pattern until the TV rights deal is sorted out,” he said.
“The deal is obviously so critical for rugby league and its future. You would like to think they will have it done by the end of the year.
“I have only met commissioner John Grant once and that was at a social gathering. We did not discuss the Bears. I haven’t got any news to offer apart from the fact that we were ready to go if we got the call 12 months ago.
“We believe that our franchise, our team, would be one of the strongest and most viable in the competition.”
But, getting back on topic and that football shirt…
Some might say the WS Wanderers garb could be seen as a pinch from the famous Flamengo club in Brazil and maybe there’s even a little Man U flavour in there.
But to me, red and black hoops are the Bears. Whether they come back to the big league or not, I am uncomfortable that people are running around in something that looks like a replica of a Bears uniform.
A mate of mine suggested this black-red aberration might only last for one year. He said that’s the length of contracts being offered to the WSW recruits as finances at the new franchise are extremely tight.
Would top-quality players want to go there with next to no security for the future? Who even contemplates a one year contract these days? Certainly not the top-notchers.
The gung-ho WSW marketeers have pretty much pinched the shirts off the Bears’ backs. Maybe they’ll wander off into A-League oblivion before too much damage is done.
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