As we’ve seen before on Pies, it’s fair to say Reebok gave Nike a serious run for their money during the 1990s when it came to cranking out memorable big-budget football adverts.
That said, one of the brand’s more enduring campaigns was actually one of their less glitzy projects – the ‘Other Careers’ series of print adverts.
The concept was simple: A raft of elite footballers were transported to an alternative reality, depicted slogging away in the humdrum ‘other careers’ they wound up with having spurned Reebok products as kids.
Based on national stereotypes, the series’ archetypal advert was probably Ryan Giggs selling flowers in a Welsh motorway lay-by, but many other big names of the era were also involved…
“I was about 15, I think, My mum gave me the money to buy some new Reebok football boots. But on the way to the sports shop I decided to get a cheaper pair so I could take a girl to the pictures.”
Ryan Giggs, Flower seller, Cardiff, Wales.
“It was my birthday. My father gave me a choice – a pair of Reebok football boots or a new train set. I have never regretted taking the train set.”
Dennis Bergkamp, Cheese maker, Amsterdam, Holland
“I’d asked my mother for a pair of Reebok football boots. But she came back with a cheap plastic pair. She was sure I’d get bored with football after a few months.
Raul Gonzalez Blanco, Fisherman, Murcia, Spain
“I was going to buy a new pair of Reebok boots. But my friends talked me into buying fireworks instead. What’s it called? Peer group pressure?”
Andy Cole, Chip shop assistant, Nottingham, England
“I sometimes wonder what I could have acheived if I had bought some good quality Reebok training kit instead of that cheap nylon rubbish.”
Peter Schmeichel, Pig farmer, Gladsaxe, Denmark
Several corresponding television spots were also produced, though we can only find evidence of Bergkamp’s mesmerising acting debut…
Aren’t they all fantastic? Deadly Den just looks at home in a pair of white rubber wellingtons.
Nike have finally furnished us with the brand new togs Brazil will be wearing at the World Cup this summer.
The home kit features a new shirt which Nike assure us is rendered in the brightest and most vivid shade of yellow that the Selecao have sported for over 20 years.
Indeed, the designers took a trip to the Football Museum in Sao Paulo and used a colour swatch book to match the exact ‘Samba Gold’ hue of the shirts Brazil wore while winning the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
The away kit sticks with the classic blue/yellow/white formula though, as modelled ably by Paulinho here, the shirt does feature a rather smart ‘geometric camo’ motif across the torso…
Brazil are set to wear one of their new strips for the very first time this Friday, when they take on hosts Russia in a World Cup warm-up friendly in Moscow.
Manchester United are reportedly mulling over circulating song lyric sheets among fans at Old Trafford in a desperate bid to wake the enervated stadium from its slumber.
Without a hint of irony, Jose Mourinho has complained several times in recent months about the effect a “quiet stadium” has had on his team.
As such, according to The Times, United have drafted up a couple of proposals to rouse the crowd:
Proposals include printing out song sheets containing the club’s most popular chants and distributing them to supporters as they enter the ground.
Another option is to print lyrics in the match-day programme, or to post them on the club’s website so that fans who attend fewer games know the words before they get to the stadium.
The BBC add that United fan groups are exploring the possibility of allowing “Bundesliga-style cheerleaders” to rally the masses though you’d think the last thing anybody needs is 500 Mancunians with a megaphone to fight over.
Taking the handbrake off a team chock-full of exciting attacking and creative talent might also be an option worth exploring.
For the record, Ian Stirling, vice-chairman of the United Supporters Trust, didn’t appear to give much credence to The Times’ speculation…
If consideration comes under immediately dismissed then it could be true. File under lazy ABU ‘journalism’. https://t.co/jtzvfmuOPc
Not that we’ve got anything against lyric sheets being passed around, but it all seems like a lot of effort to go to when the most popular chant at United for the past couple of months only has one word anyway.
Attack, attack, ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK (repeat ad infinitum)
Fans must simply download the Panini Digital Sticker Album app and then embark upon the hunt for digital stickers to fill it with – by virtue of Panini plying you with two packs every eight hours. Extras can be earned by completing challenges and redeeming codes from various Coca-Cola products.
Basically, you spend real money buying digital sticker packets, then add the digital stickers to your digital album using digital glue. Got/Need-a-holics can even form digital ‘collector’s groups’ to swap digital stickers, digitally!
Pah. Give us the visceral thrill of tearing open a paper packet to find half Coventry City’s team photo and three Andy Hinchliffes any day.
Nothing more, nothing less – just a big dump of photos from England’s midweek training session at St. George’s Park ahead of their dual friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy coming up in the next fortnight.
The big/only news out of the Three Lions camp is that Trent Alexander-Arnold was invited to train with the senior team for the morning session.
However, the Liverpool right-back is still set to play for the Under-21s against Romania and Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Dutch limbered up at the picturesque, tree-lined KNVB Sportcentre in Zeist, where new coach Ronald Koeman will whip his maiden squad into shape ahead of the match at Ajax’s Amsterdam Arena on Friday evening.
As well as making money off his good name, Vodafone are also giving a little bit back to their customers – specifically those signed up to the new ‘Mo Salah World Rate’.
In a new initiative, the company have promised to dole out 11 free minutes of phone calls to anybody on the rate each and every time the Liverpool star finds the back of the net from now until the end of the season.
Vodafone Egypt has a voice tariff bundle called “Mo Salah World”. From now until the end of the campaign, every time he scores, Egyptians signed up on the bundle get 11 free minutes!
11 is his shirt number, so seems a fair number to use.. #BrandAmbassadorpic.twitter.com/Ix55cjo7vu
Given that Salah already has 35 goals to his name this season and is out-scoring just about everybody else in world football, a decent March, April and May might just be enough to put Vodafone Egypt out of business entirely!
Puma have released a job lot of new kits that the requisite nations will be wearing during the upcoming international break and (for some of them at least) on until the 2018 World Cup.
The batch contains 10 new away strips for the likes of Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon, as well as the Russia-bound teams like Serbia, Switzerland, Senegal and Uruguay.
As you can see, Puma have put as little thought and effort into the designs as humanly possibly, cranking out near-identical, all-white designs for each shirt.
The most galling aspect, however, is that they’ve also had the gall to claim the kits “represent each nation individually”.
To be fair, Serbia’s does have a stripe.
Call us curmudgeons if you must, but surely a better, more concise way to celebrate each country individually would be to create 10 bespoke designs rather than fobbing them all off with cookie-cutter templates?
Inspired by Armani’s obvious misery, Pies thought we’d take a timely look at some of the other frankly rubbish Man of the Match trophies that have been doled out over the years.
Burger King were responsible for equally surreal scenes at the end of last season’s Argentinian Super Copa match when, after scoring in a 3-0 win for Lanus, Lautaro Acosta was presented with a complimentary barbecue grill and custom apron…
After being crowned Man of the Match in a Rumbelows Cup game for Charlton Athletic, striker Carl Leaburn did his best to feign enthusiasm after winning a 21-inch colour television…
When Carl Leaburn picked up his Rumbelows Cup MOTM award.
Underwhelmed after finishing 15th in the Eredivisie the season prior, Dutch side NEC Nijmegen hatched a fiendish plan to coax better results out of their players in 2013/14 by promising free bikini car-washes to each game’s top performer.
NEC went on to get relegated after finishing 17th.
You should see the size of the padlock
As if to mirror the esteem of the tournament itself, it’s only fitting that standout players (Luka Modric, in this instance) at the Club World Cup take home a large key made from flimsy cardboard.
Photo: Shaun Botterill/FIFA/Getty Images
Indeed, thanks to Toyota, the giant gaudy Man of the Match key is a tradition that spans all the way back to 2008…
On par with the Club World Cup, preseason friendlies have become hotbeds for hideously tacky cups and awards.
Here’s Sergio Aguero, making a decent fist of feigning delight while accepting what looks suspiciously like a large credit card advert after emerging victorious at the *checks notes* International Champions Cup China (?)…
Raul Gonzalez Blanco pretty much won it all as a player: six La Liga titles, four Spanish Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, three Champions Leagues – oh, and this plastic piece of tat for being named Man of the Match in New York Cosmos’ win over Fort Lauderdale in the 2015 NASL Championships.
In 2015, CAF thought it would be a good idea to allow fans to present the Man of the Match award to players directly, leading to wonderful scenes such as this…
Rice is nice
Ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia, the Nigerian Football Federation decided to rally their players by announcing that the Man of the Match would win 10 large bags of rice.
The bags would then be donated to the player’s charity of choice courtesy of match sponsors Big Boy Rice.
Flicking a casual two fingers to the disciplines of sport science and nutrition, Shabanie Mine FC happily ply their players with a full pallet (24 bottles) of Castle lager as a reward for putting in a Man of the Match outing.
Turns out they’re a little more health-conscious in the Botswana Premier League, with the Player of the Month taking home a plastic tub of various groceries…
Mamelodi Sundowns hit the headlines a month or two ago when one of their players received 5gb of free data to use on his mobile phone courtesy of league sponsors Telkom…
Here’s Emma Bynre of Arsenal Ladies doing her level best to look happy with the coolbox she received after being named Man of the Match in a Champions League tie against Gotenburg…
If you’ve ever wondered what German football would look like were it inhabited solely by creations from the mind of Charles M. Schulz, then wonder no longer, dear chum.
The following fantasy kits are the work of graphic designer Joaquin Marcos, who set himself the task of adapting specific Bundesliga shirts for all of his favourite Peanuts characters. Because why not?
In we delve…
Borussia Dortmund/Charlie Brown
Eintracht Frankfurt/Linus van Pelt
Werder Bremen/Peppermint Patty
Schalke 04/Lucy van Pelt
FC Erzgebirge Aue/Schroeder
Aren’t they great? We’d pay good money for most of those little beauties – Dortmund and Gladbach being our two favourites.
If you like what you see, there are more Bundesliga/Peanuts hybrid kit designs to view over on Joaquin’s Behance gallery page.