The question might seem a bit unusual, sacrilege almost. But I’m coming at it from the point of view of a collector of jerseys. I support Bray Wanderers but also have a UCD jersey, a Wexford Youths one and a Shamrock Rovers one. I plan to get a couple more League of Ireland ones this summer. I have no problem wearing the jersey of my rival clubs within our League, obviously not to a game they are playing Bray in though. I’m happy to fly the flag for the League of Ireland as a whole, not just Bray Wanderers.
I have a couple of Ireland jerseys but also own a lot of jerseys of other national teams from around the globe. I’ve got an Italy one and a Belgium one amongst my collection which I wear regularly. I’ll have my priorities right when we square up to Kompany and company or the Azzurri in June, but I’ll wear the others on a more suitable occasion. I have an Iceland jersey and am looking forward to wearing it on the days they are playing in June, it’s great to see them finally qualify for a major finals.
In England I support Rochdale but also have several other League One / League Two jerseys such as Crewe Alexandra, Yeovil, Port Vale and Swindon Town. Not following a Premier League team across the pond allows me to wear Liverpool, Manchester United or City, Arsenal and Chelsea as I please – it causes some raised eyebrows and confusion!
Obviously players can’t have any qualms about jerseys they wear. The days of the one-club man have essentially gone and they have to move club as and when their career dictates – there are many in the League of Ireland who have played for upwards of half a dozen different clubs. In England, Marcus Bent has the record  of most Premier League clubs played for, so he has quite a colourful collection of jerseys [Andy Cole played for 8 top-flight sides too but his single Arsenal appearance was before the Premier League’s inception in 1992].
How about you. As a supporter, would you find it easy to wear the jersey of another League of Ireland club, assuming your side isn’t playing them? Obviously there would be some no-go areas, dictated by rivalries. But we are all football fans, and part of the uniform and identity is the jersey. What better way to financially support clubs we visit in the League, than to pick up a jersey in their club shop? Not every week obviously, but maybe once a season? We buy other souvenirs in the club shops, and a jersey is something that can be worn repeatedly so will give value in the long term.
You can’t beat a football jersey for casual wear, especially in the summer months. I have a well-defined annual routine with my jerseys. In the autumn and winter when it is getting too cold to wear them any more I pack them away for hibernation. Late spring sees them unearthed after their rest and washed.
Contrary to the old myth that colours ‘run’ in a washing machine, I bung as many jerseys as will fit in the drum in together irrespective of any colour worries, and everything comes out as it should. I’ve quite a few jerseys that have been going for more than 20 years.
My favourite position in soccer is goalkeeper and they tend to be my heroes more than outfield players. I have a sub-collection of goalkeeper jerseys, including a retro one of the jersey Bob Wilson wore between the sticks for Arsenal in the early 70’s. Former Bray keeper Matt Gregg once donated the Crystal Palace goalie jersey he wore against Liverpool in a League Cup semi-final to a Wanderers fundraiser; I was lucky enough to come away with it that night.
In summary I’d say that a football jersey is more than a way of advertising allegiance to your club. It is a fashion item, a colourful garment of clothing. Wearing the jersey of another club in the league could be a way of showing solidarity. We are all in it together.