A month or so since saying I needed a break from feeling angry about stuff, I’ve got a bit of the old bile back. Nothing to do with the takeover, player departures or the lack of arrivals, still time to sort that. Nope, it’s that home shirt that’s done it.
When I saw it, it was like Groundhog Day, with me shaking my head, swearing, then wondering who thought it was a good idea and what they’d taken. After a few years of red overkill, it’s like adidas decided to even things up with the white.
I’d love to pull the current shirt on and feel the pride I did when it had Lambton’s or Vaux down the front of it, the logo, that is, not sticky patches of the actual product. But the last home number I bought was the Boylesports one. Of the kits we’ve had since, Symons is probably the best, which is saying something.
You don’t have to look too far on social media to find people losing their shit over kit. Stewart Donald has been asked for his thoughts on it. Glad I’m not alone, it’s good that so many of us are still proud of our club and want to show off their colours.
I’m not pinning it all on Stu, of course. I’d love to know what’s gone on with our shirts for the last few years. The home ones, that is, that’s the one people associate with the club. I’m cool with a random away number though, it’s a free hit, a blank template.
The Le Coq Sportif number copped flak on the day of its release but gained coolness and is now one of the retro options available in the club store, although the fact it carries the best badge we’ve ever had might have something to do with that.
If we’re choosing what we’ve got for financial reasons I guess it’s hard to argue, given our current situation. But it’s hard to fathom why a shirt made by an established manufacturer can look so underwhelming compared to others. Look at the simple, snazzy numbers Hummel make. If the play-off final was decided by kits, Charlton would have been out of sight by half-time. They looked mint.
Getting things wrong on the pitch can’t be helped sometimes, but I don’t think we’re helping ourselves off it. Do we have the power to resist whatever we’re given by the manufacturer and deviate from the corporate template or are we stuck with what they design?
If so, why not go it alone? Aston Villa and Bristol City are two clubs who’ve strayed from the mainstream in the last couple of years with decent results, couldn’t we do it too? The club could release a few designs, then get fans to vote on them. The engagement wouldn’t be bad and nor would the profit if it was all ours. Sounds too simple I guess...
I suppose there’s always the retro shirt option for dissenters and I’d imagine there’s a few of those being shifted at the moment. The young bucks want the latest clobber though, not to look like their dads. Do they rate the new look though? How long is it since any of us saw our new top and thought, with anything other than blind loyalty: “Canny, give me that”?
Thankfully, other clubs get it wrong too. Some Leeds fans are spewing because there’s no sign of either of their shirts for 2019/20 yet. Talk about an opportunity missed. There’s nothing better than being one of the first to get your hands on next season’s release and proudly showing it off on your jollies.
OK, at my age I shouldn’t be getting worked up about pulling on garish polyester, but those who know me know I’ve been doing just that for years. I’m partial to a foreign number too. If I see a shirt I like, I’ll have it. But it’s ours that matter, the only ones I wear with pride. One of my big regrets is that, during a series of moves in the mid-90s, my collection of home and away shirts, stretching back to 1977, went astray. Gutted isn’t the word.
Rant over. I know, not in the league of them up the road, whose meltdown is rivalling Chernobyl because Rafa’s had his head turned. After three years there, anywhere will seem more appealing. Like discovering Taylor Swift when all you know is years of swift ones with Steven Taylor, stamps anarl.