As far as football writing goes, I am not really good at scouting young players, advanced metrics, tactical analysis . . . you know . . . anything about the game that drives page views or general interest.
Which is why I have zero problem publishing my thoughts on the 1. FC Köln fanshop.
I suppose there is something questionable about implying that I am actually good at such a thing, but it’s my niche for now, and if you find someone who’s done it better already . . . go pound sand.
Anyhow, my inbox this morning informed me that the club fan store was offering an additional 20% off certain items with the use of a code (SALE 0720). They didn’t say it was secret or for members only, nor can I imagine they would object to anyone knowing about it and potentially spending money with them, so feel free to help fund our search for midfield help.
There are times I am 100% guaranteed to virtually go to the fan shop to load my virtual shopping cart: new-uniform-release days (especially the Karneval kits) and announcements of sales. Momma raised herself a bargain shopper. The downside of that raising, however, is that the gut-punch of the cost of shipping to the US usually leads me to just leave the cart in the middle of the aisle and exiting the store entirely.
Even knowing that I won’t likely buy anything for real, I shop. Maybe it’s insanity. Maybe it’s therapeutic. I don’t know. But today, I have decided that I will share my process with the world. The world of sports merchandising is not without it’s fun.
The Red Billy Goat
I love Hennes and believe he is the greatest mascot of all-time.
A red Hennes, though . . . a blood-red Hennes, at that? It is still great, I suppose, but in an entirely different, potentially Satanic (I’m awful at religion stuff, so don’t feel the need to correct me) way?
If the club is courting horror fans into the club, this would be a fine start. I know that Stephen King is a big baseball fan. Does he have room in his sports life for a German football team? This would go great in his library, I should think. From there, it spreads through the rest of the horror fiction world and then it’s onward to global dominance.
Better strategy than the de rigeur TikTok account, I should think.
“Well, Mr. King . . . WE ARE WAITING!”
Stadium LED T-Shirt
This is a wholly unremarkable shirt, I must admit, excepting the embroidered club crest tucked away at the bottom right (of the photo). The image, in fact, makes it look like it’s a plain black t-shirt that was worn during the photo session with the iron-on image superimposed onto it via whatever photo-editing program was being used. Even the font used for the club name has a ring of plain-jane to it, but at least it wasn’t the much ridiculed “Comic Sans,” I suppose.
Yet, it’s the captain doing the wearing, so I’m instantly fond. Jonas Hector can do no wrong, and I’m incapable of hearing otherwise for now.
Artisenal gin? REALLY?!
Because I was born and raised in a nation that still has far too many Puritannical laws in place, my instant reaction was, “Is this even legal?” Seriously, if you’re not from the US, you probably wouldn’t believe how stupid some of our laws around alcohol are. If I walked down the street with an open beer can in my possession, I would be doing so unlawfully. Here in the state of Washington, children are not allowed to be in establishments that serve alcohol unless there is some form of physical barrier between the general area of the restaurant or bar and the actual bar itself. It can be something as minimal as some metal pipe fashioned into a hip-high rail, but it has to be something . . . because THAT will help deter children from going to the bar to order and be served a round of Jäger shots?
In any case, Germany is not the US (sigh), so they can legally do things we cannot do here, so I shall have to survive without feeling compelled to buy a Detroit Lions Tequila and the like. Fortunately for me, I don’t even like gin, so this wouldn’t even make the cart for me, as nice as it would look on the liquor shelf.
Now, if the club wants to try to enlist Snoop Dogg to help him break his own record for largest cocktail using Effzeh Gin in a “Gin and Juice,” there is potential here. Only thing is that I would bet Snoop already has his favorite clubs and is likely a Bayern guy. We may need to find another artist famous for a song about drinking gin.
“Mim Radd Erus” Bike Seat Cover
Oh, housewares area . . . you are a true treasure trove.
Not only is it a bike seat cover that will allow you to sit on the club crest, but it’s designed to look like your seat is covered in goal hair, specifically that of Hennes, though I don’t know you would need to prove that the image used was actually that OF Hennes, nor does the site say which Hennes (yes, there have been several . . . they don’t actually live forever) served as the model.
The easy joke here will be that as your sweat is funneled through your nether regions, down into the bike seat cover, you get the bonus feature of making your seat smell somewhat goat-like, though I imagine Hennes smells of nothing but greatness. Other goats, however, have a reputation.
The text bar that says “MIM RADD ERUS” is a bit of Kölsch dialect. I think it means “out and about with the bike,” but someone more-fluent in Kölsch can correct me. My German, ironically, does feel more fluent the more Kölsch I drink.
The Adorable Cardigan
As my already existing children fight over video games in the adjacent room, it’s difficult for me to say this, but this is so cute that it almost makes me want to actually buy this and then have another child so I can put it on them as frequently as it was clean to maximize wearings of it before they grew out of it.
If you have yet to have children but plan on indoctrinating your future offspring into the FC world, you should probably be ordering this now and you may as well throw the “Emilstr.” cardigan and the Hennes-themed bath poncho in there as well. Once you’re ordering, go big!
Yes, cowboy hat!
This is probably what I would want to wear to Karneval, should I ever again attend Karneval in Köln. The copy on the page does reference “crazy times”, so it’s not as if they’re expecting to see this worn by someone competing in a PBR event.
The other potential use for it would be to wear it to a country-music show of some sort for sheer shock value, if that is at all your thing. Sporting events, punk rock shows, country bars, you name it, I’ve always dressed a bit like a plain ol’ middle-aged dad and am now officially fully in my element.
I cannot even imagine.
What I imagine happening is that people see something strange about your eyes and stare until you explain. THEN they want to get a closer look. Even in pre-covid-19 times, I don’t want to be that close to almost anyone.
I will only hope that they brought someone, somewhere, some joy.
I don’t think the socks come with it, but MAN would I look amazing in this! Might as well wear it with the cowboy hat!
Karneval Goalkeeper Jersey
If I do actually beg the Mrs. for permission to spend wildly at the FC shop, this would be the most-likely catalyst. I genuinely love this shirt and am still carrying some regret over not getting one of the Ausweichtrikots (or, third jerseys in US-sports uniform-speak) that I really, really liked and was sold-out by the time I got over to the stadium (it’s a bit of a haul). It’s probably overly busy with everything crammed onto this shirt, but I don’t even care. I love the embroidered jester’s cap and the city flag, as well as the sublimated city map with the stadium and Hennes featured on it. There’s even a nod to the cathedral at the bottom, which is fair, as the Kölner Dom DOMinates this season’s third-kit.
Then the decision is whether to get a name and number on it or go blank. If “JA!” to player name and number . . . it’s technically a keeper shirt, so am I obligated to stick to a keeper? If so, is it Horn or do I do the US thing and get Brady Scott (look him up). If I can do whatever I want (which of course I can), do I repeat my lone FC jersey out of loyalty to Hector? I mean, he’s been loyal to the FC, so it wouldn’t be out-of-order. I would maybe lean toward Ehizibue as one of my favorite newer players, but worry that eventually some coach will marginalize him out of the squad because sometimes Bundesliga coaching retreads are fun-killers who are afraid to use a weapon like EZ in favor of playing conservatively and on the counter. Take the long-term play and pick one of the youngsters?
Sigh . . . that will be my last actual football whining on here today, because just like with real shopping, I reach a point where I’m just done.
I am done.
There are more FC goodies available at the fan shop both in the current sale items as well as the among the non-discounted items. I mean, a FIRE PILLAR?! I can barely believe I’ve not already ordered that one.
Happy shopping, fellow Effzeh!