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I suppose one of the most eagerly awaited events in the close season is always the launch of a new kit. These days this happens every season whereas when I was knee high to a grasshopper then you knew the kit would remain the same for about three or four seasons on end. Then it changed to every couple and now there’s a new jersey, home and away, every season. Whilst it might be a strain on the finances, particularly in the current climate, if the demand is still there then the manufacturers will always supply. Simple economics really you could say.

What some people don’t know is that the Lads didn’t start their life off in red and white stripes. You might think it’s been a staple since our formation way back in 1879 but you’d be wrong. The Lads first started out in an all blue kit believe it or not which kind of explains why we have worn a lot of blue related away kits in our time: call it a nod to history if you like. We then switched to a Blackburn Rovers halves type jersey in 1882 before moving the synonymous stripes in 1887. Remarkably the lot up the A19 wore red and white stripes too before becoming barcodes in 1904.

One for the trivia buffs that, eh?

When I was growing up, Umbro were the kit manufacturers. In fact, Umbro made kits for virtually most teams actually. That double diamond logo was a common sight as much as seeing other well known, at the time, manufacturers such as Bukta and Admiral. The kit wasn’t lightweight as it is now either. It was proper heavy duty cotton and gosh you knew it especially if wearing it in a kickabout during a downpour. I recall Mam having a go at me once for that, and what a roasting that was. You soon did learn.

Another thing about the kit back then was the price. I remember getting the kit when I was about 6 or 7 and I mean the full kit, and Mam paying about a tenner for the whole lot. These days if you want to go all John Terry, it’s going to set you back a hell of a lot more than that: even the socks these days cost a tenner in adults and £8 in junior sizes. Modern pricing can be best described by the recent launch of the Scotland 150 anniversary jersey. I was going to purchase it, since I have Scottish roots through my late father who hailed from the East End of Glasgow no less, but baulked when I saw the price. £90! And that was just for the jersey and a replica at that. Yeah, okay. Just imagine how much the full John Terry would set you back.

Back to the Lads kits though, we have had some good ones and we’ve had some bad ones haven’t we? To me, the jersey should be a simple broad red and white stripes and accompanied by black shorts and red socks. That’s my ideal Lads home kit. No faded red stripes nor narrow red and white as worn in that nightmare Championship season of 2016-17. Those stripes should also complement the sleeves. Away, I liked the last two away kits but my favourite was the blue one worn by Sir Gary of Rowell between 1977 and 1981 and the Hummel blue worn by players such as Marco Gabbiadini between 1987 and 1991. Everyone will have their own favourites of course.

I think the last Lads kit I seriously bought was the 2013-14 home jersey, and the following season’s away one. Since then I have not bought one. It’s not that cost is a major factor but the reason that it will be old come the following season. A jersey these days in my size would be £55 and considering the Mugpies fleece their fans for £65 for a replica, then that’s cheap as chips considering like. Not owning a current jersey doesn’t make me a lesser fan of the Lads than someone who does. It’s all about principles really you could say.

So here’s to see what Nike, providing they’re still manufacturing it, churn out next season. So long as they don’t come out with something that looks like a six year old has come up with a his/her Crayola crayon set then that’ll sit a bit more finer with me. Not that I’m going to pre-order it mind.

What’s your favourites then? Go on, tell us like.