La moda de la temporada – The fashion of the season

Why do we do it to ourselves? It’s the start of another season, expectations are high, and we shell out another £40 for the latest replica shirt (possibly more for a ‘hero’ shirt) of our beloved team, but it seems that more than ever that the kit designers lack the creativity to make any significant changes to the new strips.

Gone are the days when you could except a new home and away shirt every other season, it’s somehow become accepted that every season clubs can bring out a new strip in order to fund their overpaid squads – something that is sadly not confined to the Premier League. Manchester United used to kop a lot of flak for bringing out an excessive number of kits each season but now the majority of teams have a home, away and even third shirt – which begs the question why can’t teams pick a colour in their away kit which doesn’t clash the home team’s shirt?

Although this is not strictly a fantasy football related article, familiarising myself with the all new season’s strips has become a bit of a ritual (ever since I collected the Merlin Premier League stickers) and I’ve picked out some of the kits that have received a lot attention.

To kick things off, Newcastle United are the first team on my list with their disappointing new home shirt. The problem with teams who have stripes as part of their design is that they can fiddle around with the arrangement, i.e. the number of stripes and width, and Puma have clearly got the balance wrong this season, making a mess of a simple, iconic shirt. Apart from the fact there are too few black stripes and the sleeves are entirely white – it just looks plain wrong. The club has also released a separate “limited edition” members’ home shirt, which features a gold club crest – talk about Mike Ashley testing the fans loyalty! After seeing some of their best players leave last season, Ashley is definitely trying to recoup some of the money he’s pumped into the club.

Arsenal have had a lot of classic designs in their time but they’ve received a lot of negative reaction to their 125th year anniversary kits, especially the away shirt. One comment that stood out for me was that the navy blue and turquoise shirt looked like something the jockeys wear for the Grand National! I guess the only consolation is that they are environmentally friendly with each shirt made from 13 recycled plastics bottles – something that Nike trailed during the 2010 World Cup.

On a slightly light hearted note, the Liverpool away shirt looks impressive (coming from a Man Utd fan) and shows others clubs how a commemorative shirt should be done. The new kit comes in colours which Adidas calls ‘solid grey’ and ‘bird silver’. All the logos on the shirt are in the bird silver colours, although the two eternal flames remembering the 96 people that lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster still remain in a bright red colour as poignant reminder. However, it’s Liverpool’s new third away strip that has proved to be too controversial for the Kop, with fans venting a lot of anger and refusing to buy it. Before I tell you the reason why, take a look at the kit first by clicking here.

Apparently, it’s because the colours are to close to their Merseyside neighbours Everton – not my immediate thoughts when I first saw the shirt! Adidas claim that the kit is throwback to Liverpool’s first ever home kit back in 1892 which incorporated alternate white and blue halves. Clearly some Liverpool fans need to do some brushing up on their history…

Although, Manchester City’s home kit looks not too dissimilar to last season, what made me laugh is that they got Liam Gallagher in to launch it – apart from the laughable celebrity endorsement (being modelled by someone who is clearly stoned off his face), it’s not a bad shirt. The Sunderland home kit on the other hand which is also made by Umbro is somewhat disappointing with the arrangement of the red and white stripes on the back of the shirt looking like a factory mistake.

Last season my main gripe was the Everton away shirt, which was a blinding luminous pink effort. This season, Le Coq Sportif have decided that the goalkeepers need a bit of camouflage! Both home and away goal keepers sport a camo pattern resembling something out of the army but this might be a deliberate ploy so the goalkeeper can blend into the pitch and confuse the opposition! However, the crown of truly bizarre camouflaged football kits still belongs to Patrick Thistle’s 2009 – 2010 away kit.

Outside of the Premier League has anyone seen the new England away goalie kit? Apart from being the worst design I’ve ever seen, it will certainly guarantee to district any strikers approaching Joe Hart’s goal – maybe England could even win the European Championships thanks to this putrid pea green effort.

However, the winner for the lamest effort this season goes to MiFit (or misfit) for their range of Wigan Athletic kits – home, away and third shirt. Apart from looking like something found in the discount section of JJB Sports, you’d be hard pressed to know that Wigan were a Premiership club wearing these kits – a Championship kit for a Championship bound team?

Other noteworthy mentions include Swansea who have gone for the “Easy Jet” look with their all orange away strip, Bolton Wanderers with their geometric nightmare of a home shirt, and the suite of Spurs kits with tacky use of the Bauhaus 63 font on the sponsor logo.

On a final note what’s with all the daft team sponsors? When was the last time you used Aon for insurance (Man Utd), Standard Chartered (Liverpool) for your banking or Genting (Aston Villa)/ 188 Bet (Bolton)/ Bodog (West Brom) for online gambling. I think what I really need is a Chang Beer to calm me down, anyone know where I can get a pint?