A LEAGUE of Ireland jersey launch isn’t usually considered newsworthy but when Bohemian FC revealed their 2019 away kit last week it made headlines around the world.
The controversial top features an image of Bob Marley in what the club describes as a ‘nod’ to the history of Dalymount Park where the reggae legend once played to a packed stadium.
The new jersey instantly divided fans with some describing it as an abomination or embarrassing, but others embraced the design and praised the club for being creative and innovative.
But regardless of views, the launch has been an unprecedented success with pre-orders outselling the combined sales of away jerseys from the past two seasons within hours. Less than a day after launch, the first batch of 1,000 had totally sold out.
It’s also been making headlines not just in Ireland, but around the world as traditional soccer fans debated whether the jersey was artistic genius or just a tacky eyesore.
According to the club, the jersey, designed in conjunction with kit supplier O’Neill’s, is a tribute to the stadium's special place in the hearts of both football and music fans.
Bohs director Daniel Lambert admitted he was taken aback by the response to the new kit.
”Pretty astonished at the reaction to this, but it's great to see so many people discussing Bohs on a quiet Tuesday afternoon,” he posted on Twitter.
“The old stadium has seen many events aside from football and celebrating some of that history is nice before the floodlights are torn down.”
Lambert also pointed out that Bohs are up against the English Premier League’s mighty marketing machine and needed to “think outside the box” to get attention.
Modelling the new jersey alongside Bohs player Rob Cornwall, comedian and recent Bohs convert PJ Gallagher said he loved the new top.
“It's a great design and it's always great to see Dublin’s best club find new ways to celebrate their history and that of the Home of Irish Football,” he added.
Gallagher also joked about the link between Eurovision legend Johnny Logan and Bohs fans, who took to the singer when they bumped into him on the flight back from a UEFA cup game.
"To be honest I was hoping for a Johnny Logan jersey but maybe that’ll be next season. What’s another year?”.
Bohs supporter Cllr Larry O'Toole (SF) also expressed his satisfaction with the jersey.
“I’m very happy with it, I think it’s a great initiative," he said. "The product went viral in a couple of hours which is great for the club and the league in general. When has a League of Ireland club been the centre of such universal attention?"
Priced at €49 for children and €59 for adults, the next batch of jerseys will be available online at shop.bohemians.ie after Christmas.