Leicester City: Stocksbridge Park Steels go international after launching limited edition Jamie Vardy shirt

It’s often said every penny counts in non-league football.

Monday, 21st March 2022, 5:18 pm

And with many of those further down the pyramid feeling the pinch, one enterprising club from Sheffield has tapped into the marketability of their most famous player to raise a few quid, gaining new fans from around the world in the process.

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Stocksbridge Park Steels, who play in the eighth tier of English football, are best known for being the club where Premier League winner and former England international Jamie Vardy began his career.

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Jamie Vardy won the Premier League with Leicester City (photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images).

Now they have launched a limited edition Jamie Vardy kit, complete with his name and number, based on the same design as the shirt he wore before going on to achieve footballing stardom.

The Leicester City striker played for Stocksbridge for seven years between 2003 and 2010.

"We have already sold four in America,” Stocksbridge’s vice-chairman Roger Gissing tells The Star.

"Due to Leicester’s links to Thailand there’s a lot of people showing an interest over there.”

Leicester and England striker Jamie Vardy during his days at Stocksbridge Park Steels.

Leicester City are owned by the Bankok-based King Power International Group.

"It would be nice if we could sell thousands,” adds Roger, who can still remember the first time he saw Sheffield-born Vardy in action while watching a match with his twin brother, John.

"Our first impressions were ‘wow’, he was like a rabbit with his shifts and quickness.

"We weren’t sure if he would make the grade because he was so direct and quick.

The limited edition Jamie Vardy Stocksbridge Park Steels kit.

"In non-league he was perhaps too quick because people couldn’t keep up with him. When it came to the cross no-one was there because he was too fast.”

Before long, Vardy’s ‘phenomenal pace’, as Roger recalls, resulted in plenty of goals.

"You sensed something was going to be there with him,” he adds.

"He had something about him which could make him a really good footballer.”

Vardy is still fondly remembered at his former club, who renamed a stand at their ground after him during the 2015/16 season when he broke a Premier League record by scoring in 11 consecutive matches as the Foxes famously won the title.

“It’s something we are proud of at Stocksbridge,” adds Roger.

"When people identify us they think of Vardy, we had a family come up at the weekend whose son is obsessed with Vardy.

"It meant the world to the young lad.”

You can pre-order the limited edition Jamie Vardy shirt at https://stocksbridgeps.co.uk/shop/merchandise/.