eddie gray & dom matteo open united pop-up shop at trinity leedsBack
Eddie Gray and Dom Matteo cut the ribbon on Leeds United’s new pop-up shop in Trinity Leeds this morning, and Eddie told us, “It’s great for the football club.”
The store is the first Leeds United shop in the city centre since the club’s shop on Albion Street closed in 2007, and will be on Trinity Street near Burton and Marks & Spencer until 31st August.
“I think it’s great for the football club,” said Eddie Gray. “To be associated with Trinity Leeds is good as well, and it’s in a prime position. It puts the name of the football club around.
“Everybody who walks into this centre will see it, so that’s great. It’s a good idea for the football club to take it on, and hopefully it’ll do well.”
The shop is selling the new home and away kits, with the first shirts already being bought just after the shop opened at 9am. There are also shirts from the club’s retro collection – including replicas of classic kits that Eddie wore for Leeds in the Revie era.
“Funnily enough, it’s something you don’t really take a lot of notice of when you’re playing football,” said Eddie. “I was never one to think, oh, this is a really nice strip. You just played in the Leeds United strip whatever the badge, whether it was LUFC, the Smiley badge, whatever it was. You just went out and played in it.
“But I think the strips now are terrific, they’re completely different now to when I played. You look at the colours on them, all the various shirts – we played in white or we played in yellow. It was completely different to the strips there are now.”
The shop is decorated with graphics featuring highlights from the club’s history, and Eddie laughed when he saw his own face among them. “That’s when I had dark hair – and long hair! It’s nice that the club have done this, and I think it looks really good.”
When Eddie was a player the souvenir shops weren’t just run by the club – they were run by centre-half Jack Charlton. “I remember big Jack’s shop,” said Eddie. “Big Jack had a few shops over the years, clothes shops and everything. He had a shop up at Roundhay Road, had it for years. Big Jack actually had the shop at Elland Road, he used to sell the memorabilia, strips and stuff like that.”
The current team are a long way from the heights of Eddie’s day, but there is a lot of optimism about the start of the new season. Thanks to reduced ticket prices, reengagement with supporters and initiatives like the new pop-up shop, the game against Brighton at Elland Road on Saturday is set to be watched by a crowd of over 30,000, seven thousand more than attended the opener last season.
“I’m very impressed by that,” said Eddie. “I’m sure Brian McDermott’s looking forward to it, and his staff – and the players will be. It’ll be a great atmosphere at Elland Road – and let’s hope we can kick off with a win, that’s the important thing. If you get a big crowd in you want to win the game and keep the fans there.”
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