It took 95 minutes. From joining a snaking queue near Boots on Eagles Meadow to exiting the pop-up club shop that still has branding from its previous incumbent ‘Past Times’.
Was it worth it? Just about. I got my shiny new 150th anniversary Nike Wrexham FC shirt, the quality of which is much better than I anticipated. More about that later.
However, it is a good job Reds fans stuck in work or exiled diehards from across the globe didn’t send their grannies to purchase one on their behalf. If they had their cherished relatives could have knitted their own by the time they reached the till.
Those who work tirelessly behind the scenes knew the demand for the shirt would be there – it is a collectors item by virtue of its USP – the commemorative gold club crest and the black and white stripes.
However, some lessons aren’t learned. Whether it was the credit card transaction machine playing up or patient fans constantly being asked to “move up” by a exasperated volunteer to allow for more frustrated fans to join the horseshoe-shaped queue that had formed naturally inside the store. These are issues that could and should have been avoided.
Maybe there could have been scope for tables set up outside for cash-only sales. Maybe store staff could have been on hand outside with a mobile credit card transaction unit and a bag full of new shirts.
But then maybe I am asking for too much. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Other businesses didn’t miss tricks – Costa and Nandos staff eased the boredom (the excitement soon subsided) by offering refreshing samples and vouchers offering free chicken – well, almost free.
Minor gripes aside, it was fantastic to see the entire squad and management team on hand to assist with the kit launch. Photographs, autographs and chit chat were not too much trouble for any of them. Steve Cook paced around in deep phone conversation, presumably with Nike as it was pretty obvious demand would outstrip supply.
Reaction to the initial announcement that the 150th anniversary strip would pay homage to the colours the club first played in was mixed. Sheryl Crow said a change would do you good, but not everyone agrees. The history and heritage of club colours has come under the magnifying glass in recent years – just ask disillusioned Cardiff fans who bleed blue and continue to do so despite Mr Tan turning them red with embarrassment.
Plenty of factors came into play for Wrexham to sell out the initial batch of new shirts.
The release was due in July – it arrived on August 1, with the school holidays in full flow. The fact not even the players have worn them during pre-season meant fans, myself included, were champing at the bit to see whether the new kit really did do the 150th milestone justice.
Well, it does. With the predictable Dennis The Menace and Freddy Kreuger comparisons in the back of my mind I was still undecided 80 minutes into queuing, despite the shirt hanging on the rail just a few metres from me.
When I tried it on, however, I was sold. The 100% polyester felt good on the skin, it is super light and Nike’s ‘dri-fit’ technology means you should be able to stand ten deep waiting for a pint in The Turf without getting a sweat on.
It had nothing to do with the fact I fitted rather nicely into a size medium, as opposed to a large. Honestly.
This is what Nike says of Dri-Fit: ‘Dri-FIT is a high-performance, microfiber, polyester fabric that moves sweat away from the body and to the fabric surface, where it evaporates. As a result, Dri-FIT keeps athletes dry and comfortable.’
Thankfully, I don’t think we will have such perspiration issues during an October visit to Torquay.
The embroiderers have done a wonderful job with the badge – it is clear, distinctive and exudes class. Hats off to the club’s top brass for coming up with the design.
The black and red hoops are striking without being overbearing whilst the print of shirt sponsors Glyndwr University feels solid.
The round neck collar holds its shape better than the white one on the Adidas shirt of two seasons ago and feels more durable.
The rear of the shirt is a bone of contention. The hoops do not continue around to the rear. Instead there is a large red square to allow for name and number printing.
If, like me, you aren’t planning to get your nickname emblazoned on the back anytime soon then this looks a little out of place.
So, what of the sizing? I usually plump for large but Nike are more accommodating. I’m almost 6ft and weigh in at a little under 14st. A recent fitness blitz has probably assisted me being able to slip into a medium but I would recommend trying on before you buy. Thank god it is not Kappa – we’d all be asking for xxl and upwards.
All in all, it is a fine shirt. I’m not sure how much of an impact it had on me purchasing a catapult the next day though…