A very black day for All Blacks fans
New Zealand's Piri Weepu (centre) stands as he leads the Haka before the start of the match. AAP Photos
Crowded House once penned the anthem “Don’t dream it’s over”. It’s a sweet ballad that gave hope to all believers with the pinnacle line that reads, “Don’t let them win.”
The time has come to wake up All Black fans.
Several weeks ago I touched on a startling rumour that was running rampant through the rugby union community; that our proudest geographical asset, the historical All Black jersey, which has been just that way for more than 100 years, was selling out to a foreign sponsor, thus resulting in an eye sore of a logo being emblazoned across the jersey.
“Na she’ll be right bro, jersey’s been all black for years,” was the general statement heard from across the ditch, hence we went on with life with a somewhat comforting feeling that nothing will ever take away the pride of what that precious black jersey means to all New Zealanders.
Money does in fact talk with the NZRU announcing that new sponsor AIG will have prime positioning on the front of the jersey for the next five years, starting from this Saturday’s meaningless Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane.
No longer will the national anthem be sung hand over heart with just the NZ emblem and manufacturer’s logo on their chests. Now right bang in the middle will be AIG, which has absolutely nothing to do with New Zealand at all.
Sacrilege in its purest form.
Despite original reports that Adidas was against AIG appearing in such a dominant position, the deal has been done, breaking tradition and resulting in an iconic team looking cheap, which is ironic as the deal is set to be worth millions of dollars (astonishingly the actual figure that the NZRU are set to make has still not been disclosed).
See what always set the All Blacks apart from every other sporting team worldwide (apart from the obvious ability to dominate union) was the recognition by the simple fact it was a commercial-free jersey, in return enhancing its appeal to everyone from rapper Snoop Dog to despo housewife Eva Longoria.
Basically it was farking cool.
To be fair, we did have a good run though, the famous black attire has largely been commercial free, apart from the kit supplier Adidas logo, which also caused a minor upset with fans.
And who can forget the early 1990s when it had a wee romance with local brewery Steinlager being positioned ever so subtly. Sales did in fact benefit the booze company and seeing as it was an era where the All Blacks were playing ridiculous footy, no one cared too much. Probably because we were all drunk on Steinlager.
This, though, is an entirely different kettle of fish (fush). This AIG insurance team is an American company, not even from a round here cuz!
The fans are angry too. Any Facebook status or tweet will tell you that.
“It is part of our kiwi heritage, and by placing a company name on the front I think is completely disrespectful, especially considering it is a foreign company,” wrote Nico de Jong on the All Black official Facebook page.
“A hundred year history sold out for some cheap tacky advertising all in the name of greed,” Rene Gruss posted.
I struggled to find any positive comments.
I don’t care that it will help with the cost of the NZRU’s pricey outgoings, and I’m quite certain we have done a pretty damn good job the past 100 years remaining number one in the world time and time again.
Nonetheless this Saturday we will witness a new era. The one where we have to look at commercialism on our nations proudest product.
If Australia do get up this Saturday we now know who to blame. Or at least now can use this as a great jinx affiliated excuse.
Wallabies winning… I’m quite funny, aren’t I?