As a hesitant young man with bad skin and a few months work experience I had the chance to launch the first ever official Arsenal website. As the football hacks filed in next door, I gave Arsene Wenger his 2 minute briefing.
"You see Mr Wenger, it gives Arsenal fans all over the world the chance to meet and discuss the club. Look - 'gooner73' has just started a conversation....'
"Who's that French bloke we're signing? Vieira?"
"And if we click on here, we can see that someone has replied," I continued.
"Fuck knows, but he'll probably be a criminal like those cunts Hillier, Merson and Adams."
As expected, Wenger was unflappable. But he then offered an insight I never forgot.
"In sport, information and exchange is what drives us. I am all for open-ness and technological progress, but it is wise to retain some mystery and mystique. It keeps sport special."
Tim Whirledge has written up the new All Blacks campaign from adidas. The All Black jersey is probably one of the most iconic sporting items of clothing going. Rugby is one of the pillars New Zealand's culture. To wear the All Black jersey in New Zealand is the nation's equivalent of a knighthood.
A nice video aside, adidas have responded by making it un-special. Open up the trade press and it says, you've got to do blogs and stuff. You know - let consumers get involved and things. adidas have come up with the idea of weaving an "Adi-thread" in it, which means fans can get their names sewn into the crest, thus helping them "get closer to the team." The shirt is no longer for sporting immortals, but for Fred and Margaret from Rotorua too. The mystery and mystique starts to fade. The sport starts dropping down from its pedestal. It starts becoming a product on a shelf.
Reminds me of the time Umbro turned the England shirt grey, because it went well with jeans. Wenger wouldn't have signed that off either.