Alan Dee: I’d put my shirt on betting firms aiming to cash in on this broccoli brainwave

Let us take a few moments to consider the important role of broccoli in professional sport.

Tuesday, 12th November 2013, 11:15 am
Opinion - Alan Dee

Broccoli, in my opinion, gets a poor press. It tastes a whole lot better than cauliflower, it’s a lot less fiddly than sprouts, and it’s generally accepted as one of the healthiest things you can put on your plate.

But for some reason many people have it on their ‘don’t put that anywhere near my knife and fork’ list.

When George Bush became president of the United States – we’re talking about the dad here, back in 1990, not the idiot son – he famously declared that one of the benefits of being the most powerful man in the world was that he would never have to eat broccoli again. His mother, wise woman, had regularly served it up during his childhood and insisted that he finish his plate, turning the Texan into a contrarian when it came to calabrese.

At the time, the American leader’s public dissing of an innocent vegetable brought howls of protest from those who looked to make a living by growing it – the USA, fact fans, is the world’s third largest producer of this miracle food, after China and India. The UK, if you’re interested, sneaks into the top ten but is hardly a major player.

So broccoli needs a few friends – which brings us to the world of professional football. While our Premier League teams sport the logos of payday loan firms and oligarch owners, one of Spain’s lower league teams has gone one step further.

To give a bit of a boost to local farmers, the players who turn out for La Hoya Lorca in the third division sport a kit in a bilious green which has been created in homage to the humble brassica.

As they trot out for away games – they don’t use this kit at home, as their fans are probably sick of the sight of the stuff after a week toiling in the fields – they look like an underfed Incredible Hulk tribute troop.

It could, of course, be the thin end of the wedge. I can see the marketing men even now working on kit designs that will give their sponsors even more promotion, although with so many of the teams sporting the logos of betting firms and the like on their chest the likeliest design would need to include a combination of hard currency, blind optimism and torn-up betting slips.

And combined with the current craze for dayglo boots, this could be a recipe for mass migraines at every stadium in the land.

But the people I really feel for, if this takes off, are the poor saps who have to hand paint tiny Subbuteo players in the kits of the teams punters want to buy.

Once it was pretty much a choice of red shirts or blue, with both keepers in sober green – but their world might be about to get a whole lot more difficult.