Half-minister, half-biscuit: how a Dukla Prague shirt outed Damian Green as an indie fan

The first secretary of state revealed his love of cult Wirral band by wearing the away kit of an obscure Czech football team at Latitude festival

Name: Dukla Prague.

Appearance: Red shirts with yellow sleeves, or yellow shirts with red sleeves.

Age: You might say 69 years, since the famous Czech football club that won 11 league titles between 1953 and 1982 was founded in 1948.

Fine. I’m happy to say that. But you might also say 61, because that club was originally called ATK Prague, then UDA Prague, and only changed its name to Dukla Prague in 1956.

Just forget I asked. Except that team, for all practical purposes, ceased to exist when it merged with another and moved to the city of Příbram in 1996. Although a new version was formed when Dukla Dejvice (founded 1958) changed their name to Dukla Prague in 2001 …

Be quiet! Look, football is a nerdy business. Just ask Damian Green.

Who’s Damian Green? He’s the second most powerful politician in Britain.

Really? Well, it depends how you define it. Green is first secretary of state and minister for the Cabinet Office, which makes him a kind of deputy prime minister, although he probably lacks the influence of the chancellor or the prominence of the leader of the opposition or …

Just tell me what he has got to do with some random Czech football team! He spent the weekend at the Latitude festival wearing a Dukla Prague away kit. “It was given to me by my wife as a Christmas present,” he told John Pienaar on 5Live.

Why? Fans of the wry Birkenhead indie band Half Man Half Biscuit will know why. The shirt is worn as a reference to their 1986 song All I Want for Christmas Is a Dukla Prague Away Kit.

Oh, God. Is this like David Cameron loving the Smiths? Yes, but with an extra level of irony that Green, or his wife, may have noticed.

What’s that? The song tells of playing games with a spoilt boy who has his own Dukla Prague away kit, and it ends with the same boy as an adult handing the singer his unemployment benefit. Green was himself the work and pensions secretary until last month, making him the boss of the UK benefit system.

With his own Dukla Prague away kit! Exactly.

Do say: “This nerdy trend for wearing obscure football shirts is becoming wearisome.”

Don’t say: “Actually, in 1986, Dukla Prague were far from obscure, having reached the European Cup Winners Cup semi-final that season and …”

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