The landscape of football in Northern Ireland is quite unique. Much like many other areas over the the past half century plus, people's loyalties in the game were dictated by their religious beliefs.
If you were a Protestant you generally supported Northern Ireland, while Catholic football fans would usually follow the Republic. While Northern Ireland have made an attempt to ease this divide in recent years, it is still very much present at club level.
The likes of Cliftonville would have a largely Catholic fanbase, while Linfield would certainly be known for having a pretty much exclusively Protestant following.
The most successful club in Northern Ireland, they have long been accused of hardly being the most welcoming to visit fans from across the divide. The club or its supporters have hardly done too much to change that assessment.
When they announced their new away kit for the 20/21 season yesterday, it seemingly featured a not so subtle nod to their political leanings.
— Linfield FC (@OfficialBlues) June 10, 2020
That looks suspiciously like the flag of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the unionist terrorist organisation which killed over 500 people, most of whom were Catholic civilians.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the UVF's flag this is what it looks like:
Typical UVF right there pic.twitter.com/mrgxAzKab1
— Barry O'Kane (@BarryOKane1888) June 10, 2020
Considering the reputation held by Linfield, many have unsurprisingly pointed out the similarity between the kit and the flag is in very poor taste.
Linfields new away kit is about as subtle as a chainsaw 👀 pic.twitter.com/GfBLcV0IKG
— Stephen Todd (@UbuntuLad) June 10, 2020
Well, that's me never going to another Linfield match. https://t.co/5GoajF4MVh
— Paidí Mac ☭ (@TheFlag0fWar) June 11, 2020
That kits just called me a fenian bastard https://t.co/SuqAeDiF5M
— Melly (@kmcfc_) June 10, 2020
This is why an all island league of Ireland is needed
So Feckers like this can get walloped in Derry, Cork, Dublin, Sligo, wherever 🇮🇪☘️ https://t.co/iDHgEUEE0j
— 🇮🇪☘️🇪🇺 (@IrishPropaganda) June 10, 2020
Seriously? An away kit based on the flag of a banned terrorist organisation that murdered 500 people? That is what Linfield wants to visibly stand for? Shame on you. pic.twitter.com/yCNaImircE
— Fionn Theas (@FionnTheas) June 10, 2020
Any Fenian that plays in that should be ashamed. A disgrace of a club imo,there's no way that's a coincidence
— PJ (@PJkelly66) June 10, 2020
Despite the uproar, the kit has nearly sold out on the Linfield website, with only a few in one size remaining.