I’m just going to come right out and say it: I suck at Photoshop.

A year ago, a Digital Photography course I had to take for my degree at university pushed me head-first into the world of photo-doctoring. Not to the point where we were creating things that weren’t there, but just touching pictures up so that they looked more aesthetically pleasing. I got out of the class with a solid A, but I didn’t then and I wouldn’t now call myself an expert.

Other people are, though, and fair play to them. However, when some of these supposed artists’ work – namely fake football shirt designs – hits the presses otherwise known as the Internet, I can’t help but ponder the following:

Shouldn’t we have anything better to do with our lives?

I realize that morbid curiosity gets the best of pretty much everybody at some stage, but sometimes I really do fear for those who fall at the first few hurdles. If you want a case in point, we’re right in the middle of a pretty big one at the moment, with tech-savvy prognosticators trying to predict what Adidas, Nike, Umbro, Canterbury, Under Armour – Yes, really. Hannover 96 must protect this house! – and all the rest of the kit manufacturers are going to be coming up with for club and national sides for the upcoming season.

That’s fine, except that by my math, ‘next season’ for a lot of those teams is around about five months away.

To help put this into perspective, allow me to throw in a personal anecdote. The club I support, Manchester City, is in its second year of a contract with French kit manufacturer Le Coq Sportif – Which translates into English as ‘The Sporty Rooster.’ …Yeah, okay. – and has travel agency Thomas Cook as their main sponsor. Both of these things are set to change next season, with City changing manufacturers (to Umbro) and possibly sponsors (to Etihad Airways).

I’m not going to speak for all City fans here, but frankly even that bit about next year’s kits is more than I’m really all that bothered to know at present, especially when I’m much more concerned with what’s going on more immediately with a club that’s still very much alive in the UEFA Cup and battling to retain their place in Europe for next season. Therefore, you can imagine that I might have been a wee bit annoyed the other day to find that the blog Todos Sobre Camisetas had unearthed the Blues’ supposed new home shirt for the 2009-10 campaign…or so they and we are all led to think.

On the surface, it’s all there: club badge on the left (from the wearer’s perspective), Umbro logo on the right, ‘Etihad Airways’ emblazoned in block letters on the middle of the chest. The only problem? It looks just like the supposed new England home shirt that has been making the rounds on Internet football sites. Which may or may not actually be the real thing. And is supposedly going to retail at a recession-tastic £50.

It’s with that last point in mind, then, that I put out the following question: Why are we encouraging this? I suppose there is the possibility that a lot of these ‘insiders’ are just wind-up merchants and/or supporters of other teams that are trying to get a rise out of rival fans, but I fail to see what purpose that serves.

Premiership clubs  evidently reserve the right to come out with the following season’s kits before the last one’s even finished anyway – See among others Chelsea wearing this season’s ‘new’ kit in the Champions League final last summer – thereby giving fans something to tide them over during the summer, which in my mind makes this plagiari…er, art of creating fake kit designs ultimately kind of pointless.

Then again, maybe I just have more pressing issues to worry about.