The mother of a Sheffield Wednesday-mad teenager has hit out at the Owls after they confirmed their new junior kits will cost a whopping £45.
Wednesday officially unveiled their three new kits last week, with the home strip featuring white pinstripes instead of the usual thick stripes.
The design is certainly eye-catching – but the prices are eye-watering, too.
Senior fans wishing to show their support by wearing the Sondico shirt will have to fork out £55 – while junior tops cost just £10 less.
Across the city at Bramall Lane, Sheffield United’s new Adidas home shirt is £35 for juniors, jumping to £40 for age 13-14. Wednesday’s is the most expensive in the Championship – and only £5 cheaper than three-time Champions League winners Manchester United’s junior shirt.
The junior shirts were even more expensive before being reduced from £49 earlier this week.
The £4 reduction followed feedback from supporters on the day of the Owls in the Park event and a meeting earlier this week.
Debra Sunderland, mum to 13-year-old Owls fan Alex and his brother Brad, 15, said: “To be honest, I was totally astounded when I heard how much the new shirts are.
“To pay £45 for a junior shirt is so out of reach for the vast majority of people and a lot of parents will feel pressured into buying them for their kids.
“It’s unacceptable for them to be that expensive, really, and it’s a shame.
“As a parent, if you can’t afford to provide the shirt that they’ve wanted all season, then that’s not a nice position to be in and I think it’s scandalous they’re so much more expensive than any other club in the division.”
At £45, Wednesday’s junior shirt is more expensive than Premier League giants Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur and the same price as Chelsea and Manchester City, supplied by higher-end brands such as Nike and Adidas.
Wednesday say the new Sondico shirt combines ‘many different specialist materials with Optivent technology, a moisture management system which works with the body to maximise comfort and dry perspiration fast.
It adds: “The fabric technology combines stretch, moisture management, breathability and comfort to create the ultimate in performance sportswear.”
Sondico is owned by Sports Direct, whose majority stakeholder is Newcastle owner Mike Ashley – but Newcastle play in a Puma kit.
Excluding Wednesday, Burton, Reading and Preston, who have not yet confirmed their prices for the new season, the average Championship price for a junior shirt is £34.69 - almost 25 per cent cheaper than Wednesday’s £45.
The Championship average for adult kits this season is £45.
The price and pinstriped design didn’t stop Owls fans queuing around the block for the chance to get their hands on the new strips at the club’s annual Owls in the Park festival on Sunday.
But Debra, from Thorpe Hesley, added: “These kids are the future of the club, so we should be encouraging them to keep supporting the game and the club. But doing so is simply going to be out of the reach of so many before long, purely because of the rising costs.
“I think it needs to be addressed; the price of tickets is already extortionate and this is just something else on top. Parents will feel the pressure to provide the latest kit for kids to go to games in, because they’ll be comparing themselves against their friends, and it just puts that bit more pressure on.”
Young Owls fans – and their parents – face further expense if they opt to personalise their shirts. The name and squad number of star striker Fernando Forestieri would cost around £16 on top of the shirt price.
Wednesday declined to make a comment when approached by The Star.
Championship, Junior shirt prices 2016/17
(Short sleeve only, no name/sleeve badges)
Ipswich Town £34.99
Aston Villa £42
Nottingham Forest £35
Derby County £35
Rotherham United £29.99
Huddersfield Town £32
Sheffield Wednesday £45
Leeds United £38
Newcastle United £36.99
Birmingham City £35
Preston North End £36
Bristol City £30
* Reading and Burton Albion hadn’t released prices at time of publication
Selected Premier League prices, junior shirt only
Manchester United £50
Manchester City £45
Tottenham Hotspur £42