Slazenger: A real life tragedy
When Bond beat Goldfinger in a golf match, you weren’t too worried about the result. You were more concerned as to where you could purchase that classic Slazenger burgundy v neck sweater. Likewise when Ken Rosewall lost to John Newcombe in the 1970 men’s Wimbledon singles final you were more focused on Rosewall’s polo shirt than the outcome of the match. These were much sought after items of clothing in the late 60’s and early 70’s in the North East of England, but not easy to obtain. Large department stores such as Bainbridge’s or Fenwick’s didn’t really cater for the sporting man at that particular time, the only shops that I can remember stocking these priceless gems were the sports shops run by Stan Seymour and Frank Brennan. These were must have items of clothing and could easily match anything that Fred Perry had to offer at that particular time. Oh, how times have changed, while Fred Perry has managed to stay ahead of the game Slazenger has slowly declined in to a second rate brand that is now owned by Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley. Ashley may be a brilliant businessman, but he was never going to take Slazenger back to its former glory. His policy of stack them high, sell them cheap has worked extremely well for him, but it is tragic to see that this once simple understated brand is never going to return to the level it was once. Despite all that has gone on at Slazenger I still crave that timeless v neck sweater, fortunately you can still purchase the real I am, not from one of Ashley’s dreadful stores but from Anthony Sinclair of Mayfair. It does not come cheap, but Sinclair has worked painstakingly to recreate this unforgettable jersey and has produced a great product that is as good as anything out there in the marketplace. In the hands of Anthony Sinclair, Slazenger may have a chance to rebrand itself extremely well in the hands of “Cashley” it is as they say at Newcastle United game over.