Guest Author - Alice Jones
A good place to start when deciding on a gift for a soccer / football fan is to ask yourself a few important questions and write down the answers.
What team does my friend or family support? What are their favourite players? What are the famous sporting achievements of their team? What does my friend or family member admire most about this team?
If you know these things then that can help a lot in deciding on the best and most unique gifts. You would not want to buy a Manchester United gift for a Liverpool supporter for example. That could be a disaster!
It will also be helpful to know what they already do have, so that your gift will be unique.
One of the best gifts you can get relatively easier than you think, is a personalised signed photograph, postcard or poster of their team or favourite player. This is simple to do and not expensive. You can buy a photograph and then send it to the club with a stamped addressed envelope and a letter explaining how the person is a life long supporter. You can do this with any picture that you can obtain of the club or of their favourite player(s) or even a calendar.
If you ask for a personalised dedication then most football clubs, especially the Premier League ones, will get back to you in a short time. They have signing sessions once a week where they will do this. The reason for asking for the dedication is to personalise it for your friend / family member and also because the club will not sign straightforward autographs to prevent it being sold for a profit on ebay. They will quite happily sign personalised gifts however.
Other good gifts to buy, are autobiographies of their favourite players or managers. You could also get these signed although the postage might be a little more expensive. There are also some lesser known books available. It is a good idea to look on the internet to find some of the unofficial sites which will help you to find more rare books about the club and it's history.
Most of these websites will have links to buy them online or the address of the book shops where these books are stocked. You will usually find them through the unofficial websites or doing a google search for "team name" + football memorabilia.
There are some very good and relatively rare sports memorabilia out there to collect which would make a perfect gift! These can range from recent history, to a specific focus within the teams history. If you know the person you are buying it for well then it makes it easier to decide which one to buy.
DVD's are available with the teams greatest goals on them. You can also get videos about many different aspects of the teams history. Best goalscorers, cult heroes, fa cup wins, European successes.
If the team is not so successful there will still be plenty of gifts out there to buy, because all teams have their own highs and lows, and most of it is charted through history on video if you know where to look. Once again Sports Memorabilia shops can be found which stock these items. Usually they will be in the home town of the club, but most of them will do mail order.
If you want to buy a team kit, you have a choice of either buying the latest one, with a personalised name on it. Either you can get the person you are buying it for printed on the back, with their favourite players number, or you can get the favourite player on their. If you are going to do this it is best to find out first to make sure you have the right number and players. Alternatively you could get a retro kit. These are kits from the past, which are very popular, especially with older people who tend to look back to the "golden era."
Computer Games such as Football Manager, Championship Manager, Fifa and Pro Evolution Soccer are all very popular. Getting the latest of these games is a good idea if the person likes to play on computer games. Make sure you get it for the correct platform, either Pc, Playstation, X box or other. If you have bought the latest game then I am sure it would be appreciated.
Another nice touch would be to go on one of the stadium tours, and perhaps give them the present on the the tour. This would make a perfect way to celebrate a birthday or special occasion for any avid football fan.
I hope that this has given you some good ideas. There are probably more ideas as well that I haven't mentioned here so far like a team mouse mat and mouse or a team baseball cap, jacket or other merchandise that is available through the club shop or dedicated alternative stores. Happy gift hunting!