Frustrated by Nike’s “disgraceful” decision to not sell a replica kit for goalkeeper Mary Earps, record label Alcopop! has released their own, to give the Lioness “the respect she deserves”.
While the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup thrilled audiences around the globe, footwear giant Nike came under fire from Lionesses fans – and Mary Earps herself – for excluding Earps’ shirt from the replica jerseys available to buy.
Amid frustration from fans, an Oxford-based record label has taken matters into its own hands.
Alcopop! Records challenged Nike to release an Earps goalkeeper kit on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, on 16 August, writing: “If @Nike doesn’t sell a @maryearps027 replica shirt soon, I SWEAR we’re gonna make some… Ball’s in your court massive corporate sporting giants >>> Ball. Is. In. Your. Court.”
Alcopop! warned the brand that they would make their own, and now they have, telling PinkNews: “Mary Earps is a national hero. It’s time Nike treated her with the respect she deserves.”
On Sunday (20 August), as more than 11 million viewers tuned in to watch the nail-biting World Cup final on the BBC, the record label announced the release of an “100 per cent unofficial” Mary Earps shirt available to buy, with a sweet tribute to the Lionesses’ goalie.
“Win or lose this tournament, Mary Earps has been a hero and inspiration to so many and, quite franky, it’s disgusting that *redacted* haven’t bought out her jersey for fans to buy,” the label wrote. “So we’ve had a go.”
The baby-pink, long-sleeve Earps jersey is designed by illustrator and Lib Dem councillor Rhi Lee, and all profits go Football Beyond Borders, an education and social inclusion charity that supports young people to finish school with the skills and grades to successfully transition to adulthood.
Alcopopl! label manager Jack Clothier blasted Nike for “letting down our next generation of women’s goalkeepers” and called the brand’s decision not to make Earps’ shirt “an absolute disgrace”.
Clothier told PinkNews: “We’ve been absolutely captivated by the World Cup this year, and fully behind the Lionesses as they’ve progressed from the stuttering start against Haiti to the sublime demolition of Australia in the semis …
“Such heartbreak in the final, but that doesn’t detract from the absolutely sensational effort those England players have put in – especially Mary Earps – which makes the fact that Nike haven’t bothered putting her replica jersey up for sale an absolute disgrace.
“It feels so disingenuous that this global megabrand purport to be ‘inspiring the next generation of women’s football’, but can’t even be bothered to represent one of the finest contemporary footballers that England has produced.”
Earps is undoubtedly one of the finest modern English footballers, taking home the prestigious FIFA Golden Glove Award for most clean sheets in the tournament at the World Cup final awards ceremony on Sunday.
England’s goalkeeper #01 Mary Earps poses after receiving the ‘Golden Glove’ award at the end of the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup final football match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia in Sydney on August 20, 2023. (FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
“How inspiring is it when a young kid sees their hero save a penalty in the World Cup Final, but can’t wear their shirt and pretend to be them next time they play football over in the park?” Clothier continued.
“What does it say about Nike, when they are letting down our next generation of women’s goalkeepers?
“We, and the illustrator who helped us with this shirt (Rhi Lee) wanted to make the point that it’s all very well paying lip service to women’s sports – but it’s vital that the money behind the sport back up all the ads and the snappy taglines they pedal with geniune support and representation.
Clothier explained that Alcopop! chose Football Without Borders as the beneficiary for the shirt’s profits because it helps young people “harness what they love and use it to build a path into the future”, something that “the Lionesses are doing every day in this tournament”.
Alcopop! Records is the home of artists including The Subways, Johnny Foreigner, Pulled Apart By Horses and Loose Articles.
The Alcopop! Mary Earps tribute jersey is available to buy here.