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April 2021

Surely children’s replica shirts should be a lot cheaper than the adult shirt, not more expensive!

by Ian Brookes

I was at the Emirates Cup this weekend with my 2 sons and has been the recent tradition, I treated them to a new shirt for the season.  Of the 3 on offer both opted for the Home kit in short sleeve with Lacazette and number 9 on the back.

The cost of this is £61, (£45 for the shirt, £16 for the name and number) you can add badges to the shirt (Premier or Europa League) at an extra cost of £4 each. Being as badges are worn on both arms this would be an extra £8.

I noticed that a standard adult shirt (short sleeved, with no name or number) was £55. Living in the UK we have VAT which is not applied to children’s clothing. This therefore means that the nett price of the adult shirt is £45.83 (to which 20% VAT is added) making the Junior shirt in real terms more expensive.

I decided to take a look to see if Arsenal are unique in this way and to compare us to the other top clubs however added in some others for balance (Bournemouth and Leicester).

Just to confirm the price comparison is based on this season’s home shirt, in short sleeve with no added, names, numbers or badges for either the Adult or Junior shirt. I have also shown the nett comparison in cost terms of the Junior compared to the Adult.

To also confirm these are the published prices on the official clubs websites with no offers or deals being taken in to consideration.

Club Adult Top Adult Top Less VAT Junior Top   Junior vs Adult Junior discount
Arsenal  £55.00 £45.83 £45.00    -£0.83 1.8%
Tottenham £60.00 £50.00 £48.00  -£2.00 4%
Man U  £60.00 £50.00 £50.00  £0.00 0%
Man C £60.00 £50.00 £45.00 -£5.00 10%
Chelsea  £59.95  £49.96 £47.95 -£2.01 4%
Liverpool  £50.00  £41.67  £42.00  +£0.33
Leicester  £50.00  £41.67  £35.00 -£6.67 16%
Bournemouth  £45.00  £37.50  £35.00 -£1.50 6.7%

To simplify the table the final column shows how much discount each club gives for its children’s shirt.  Leicester comes out best with a 16% discount for children.  Liverpool comes out worst by charging more for its children’s wear than its adult clothing when the VAT is taken into account.

Of all the teams shown the best value junior kit is Leicester’s at £35 which is £6.67 cheaper than the adult shirt when VAT is taken into consideration. Arsenals junior top is just 83p cheaper, Liverpool’s shirt for children is 33p more expensive.

Bournemouth offers the most competitive priced adult shirt at £45.

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Leicester and Bournemouth’s junior shirts are at £35 which is probably where I would have liked the Arsenal junior shirt to be.

I guess the greatest frustration is the fact that clearly the Junior shirts will contain much less material than an Adult shirt yet this is not reflected in the price for most of the football clubs shown.

Only other thing of note is that Tottenham, Man C and Chelsea kits are made by Nike, Man Us top is Adidas, Arsenal and Leicester are Puma, Liverpool New Balance and Bournemouth is Umbro making Nike and Adidas the most expensive Adult shirts at £60 each.

Footnote from Untold’s maths correspondent: taking a price that contains VAT and then getting the pre-VAT price is something that can cause confusion.  The assumption can be made that one simply takes 20% off the price of the item including VAT, one gets the pre-VAT price, but this is not right.   If one does this starting with an Arsenal shirt at £55 and knocking off 20% one gets £44.  But if you take £44 and add on 20% you get £52.80 thus revealing the fact something is wrong with the maths.

To do these sums (just in case you find yourself ever having to do this), you have to consider the price paid in the shop as 120% of the base price, and therefore take the price in the shop, and divide by 120 and multiply by 100.  Arsenal’s shirt is £55 including VAT.  Divided by 120 and multiply by 100 and you get £45.83 as the pre-VAT price.  To check this is right, multiply £45.83 by 120% to get the price including VAT and it is £54.9999.  That gets rounded up to £55, which Arsenal pocketing the £0.0001p.

I am certain you always wanted to know this.

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12 comments to Surely children’s replica shirts should be a lot cheaper than the adult shirt, not more expensive!

  • Scuba


    Clubs don’t make the shirts, or set the msrp on the shirts. They sell the right to do that to their shirt sponsor, who then produce the shirt, set pricing on the shirts, and sell them to shops (including the club store). The Arsenal store is actually buying their inventory from Puma, and then selling it for profit. The pricing is likely largely based on wholesale pricing.

    Jake Cohen does a great job dispelling a lot of the myths about shirt sales and club income, he’s worth a follow.

  • OlegYch

    i doubt the amount of material in child vs adult shirt accounts for more than 0.5 pounds, but cheers to Leicester for making child shirts actually a tiny bit cheaper

  • nicky

    I wish I could anticipate that your excellent post might bring change but no chance.
    This con trick played by ALL clubs on the poor old supporter is an absolute disgrace and should be stopped.
    And Arsenal FC are no exception.
    Clubs are now issuing a multitude of kits more than once a season, which is quite obscene.
    Once upon a time the FA, UEFA or FIFA might have stepped in but all these bodies are now tarnished with the same brush…..greed. 😉

  • Menace

    The replica kit business stinks. It rips the fan of hard earned for being a supporter. The price of kids versions are a true indictment of greed from the clubs. There was an occasion in the past where a £10 voucher was included in the season ticket/membership kit, that helped a little. It would really be kind to show families some sympathy by a discount (eg buy 1 get one half price) for quantity.

  • luscious lisa

    As the blokes behind this blog appear to be Marxists, they will be familiar with the “Labour Theory of Value”. The labour theory of value says the value of something is proportional to the work that went into making it. Which is why a Rolls Royce is worth more than a mini, and a adult replica shirt should rightly cost more than a kids replica. Obvious, right?
    Except it’s not. A fake replica shirt probably cost more to make than the one in the Arsenal shop, but is a fraction of the cost. If there’s a rip off, that’s the real one. Which is why i’m off to Thailand next week to buy 100. No make that 200, and having read this helpful blog that i’m going to make sure they are all kids sizes. That should cover the cost of my season ticket.

  • nicky

    @Luscious Lisa,
    While I understand your reasoning, spare a thought for the poor souls of all ages in the “sweatshops” of the Far East, who work appalling hours for a pittance.
    The owners of these appalling places are as greedy as the football clubs. 😉

  • luscious lisa


    and where are the replica shirts made, and most of the other stuff in the Arsenal store? Not Islington i’m guessing.

  • nicky

    I think it’s pretty certain that the Far East provides ALL the kits ALL the clubs have for sale.
    It all adds to the profits conned from the supporters and only goes to emphasis the greed….. 😉

  • Blacksheep

    Thanks Ian, the outrageous price of replica shirts is just one of the reasons I’m very selective as to when or if I buy one. I still have my 125 years one and its not worn out. Tony still wears the 1930s one he bought direct from Mr Chapman.

    LusciousLIsa makes a good point (but not about us all being Marxists – Tony is a businessman, Ian and Andrew are far from Marxists and I’m an anarchist thank you very much – no idea about Walter but then he’s Belgian and they don’t do politics) – no, about sweatshops. These are made abroad and at a fraction of the price charged to the customer. This is not unique to football kits of course but football shirts have a longer shelf life than most fashion, which has a shorter window to sell at full price.

    vive la revolution!

  • Andy Mack

    I believe Puma have a big operation in China, Vietnam and Indonesia (although I’m sure they also manufacture in other S.E.Asian countries as well), as do Nike and all the other manufacturers. I’m sure their website will tell us that they don’t use sweatshops and that their process is checked carefully to ensure fair trade and fair wages, but like all the others, there are plenty of things they don’t ask about.
    I’m sure Puma are no worse and no better than any other kit supplier in that respect.

    However this high pricing is the exact reason people are happy to buy fake stuff at less than half the price of the genuine stuff.
    If the shirts didn’t change every single year then more people would pay out for an original but to do that every year is a real kick in the wallet.

  • nicky

    @Andy Mack,
    The day will surely come when the designers will find it difficult to produce an acceptable new design. They are already becoming more and more bizarre. 😉

  • Andy Mack

    nicky, fakes don’t have to be great copies when they’ll only be relevant for one year max.
    I’ve travelled around Asia (particularly S.E.Asia) and seen loads of people wearing fakes but I just see someone showing some affection for the club (even when they don’t really know anything about AFC but just liked the cheap shirt in the market…). 😀