Ticker Tape and Taping

Posted by John Devlin

I thought I might draw your attention to a little piece I wrote for Umbro in conjunction with their new Diamond Icons range of leisurewear. The post concentrated on a pivotal moment in both Scotland’s and Umbro’s history:

You can read it here:


Champions League Last 16 Kits

Posted by John Devlin

Now that the Champions League has reached the last 16 I thought it might interesting to check through the home kits of the clubs that are left. It’s a mixed bag, but of course with virtually all the clubs changing their kit every season this is always going to be the case. But on the whole I think the good outweighs the bad. Soccer Betting

The best kits for me include Roma (but how can you go wrong with that superb colour scheme?!) with the reversed stitching across the chest, Real Madrid – elegant all-white from adidas as ever, Schalke’s simple but strong blue strip and Nike’s Inter shirt that introduces a new twist (or should that be zig-zag) on the blue and black stripes.

The Kappa kits are strong – especially Valencia’s and I’m fascinated by adidas’ continuing experiments with outlandish kits for their French clubs. Both Marseille and Lyon are in the last 16 and as usual they are sporting completely different kits to their regular home and away (although both European home kits are also their domestic thirds – confused?!) The Marseille outfit I think really works and I love the subtle red, yellow and green stitching throughout but the Lyon shirt is just too much in my view. Yet so many adidas/French shirts are favouring this ‘in your face’ approach to kit design these days – its especially common in the country’s domestic rugby outfits as well.

The weaker designs in my view include AC Milan with the stripes just not working for me and Barcelona, which for some reason just doesn’t seem powerful enough…plus I don’t like the neck!

On top of that of course you have Spurs’ special all-white European shirt (with different sponsors to their regular Premier League jerseys) and Manchester United’s white socks.

Just for the record, the split across the manufacturers makes interesting reading with adidas dominating: ADIDAS – 7 KITS,   NIKE – 5 KITS,   KAPPA – 3 KITS,   PUMA – 1 KIT

West Bromwich Albion Kits 2010-11

Posted by John Devlin

west-brom-h-10-11West Brom kits always seem to be a bit hit and miss with me but I can’t put my finger on why. Maybe its the fact that the navy is often so dark it edges the colour scheme towards black and white and the overall effect is neither one thing or the other – I don’t know. Having said that the club’s 2010-11 home kit is one of the side’s better outfits in recent years. Like the Sunderland kit it borrows the trappings of Umbro’s late 70s strips for the club including the zig-zag trimming on the stripes and even going so far as to reinvent that jersey’s button-up neck (courtesy of an adaptation from the previous England kit). The shorts feature a simple trim along the leg and the socks are as plain as they could be. After a couple of years wearing shirts without a regular sponsor this year the Baggies have struck a deal with home emergency repair experts HomeServe who have decided to include a huge logo featuring their cunningly constructed phone number.

west-brom-a-10-11Away from home the club seem to have taken the advice of Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel and gone for a design that is ‘none more black’. With no contrasting trim whatsoever this mean, moody and magnificient strip’s only concession to flair is the inclusion of very subtle shadow stripes. In my view its simplicity makes the outfit one of the better black strips knocking around at the moment – its plainness means the necessary logos, badges, crests etc are presented clearly without clashing with the design. My only criticism is that as a set I would question whether the black of the away kit ‘clashes’ with the navy of the home.

West Ham Kits 2010-11

Posted by John Devlin

west-ham-h-10-11Up until this season I haven’t been the biggest fan of Macron kits. Having seen them close up during a Southend v Leeds game last year I was amazed at just how big and baggy the Leeds kit seemed and how this style made the outfit look very dated. However I worked on some Italian team Macron kit illustrations last year and was amazed at how much better their designs for continental sides seemed.

So I was delighted to see that for 2010-11 Macron are making kits for several English teams and all of them are a vast improvement on some of their previous strips. The ones provided for West Ham are, in my view, superb and manage to bring the heritage and history of the club together with some really nice, but not over-fussy detailing, and a very contemporary look and fit. The home shirt reminds me a bit of the Pony home kit from 1995 with its formal collar and simple pale blue sleeves (constructed with interesting panelling). The neck of the collar is adorned with two gold stitches arranged in to a cross (symbolising the club’s hammer motif) and the gold is continued on the cuffs as well. I don’t even mind the large Macron logos on the shirt and shorts! Its a classic design that works just as well with the away kit’s pale blue shorts and socks that have been designed to mix and match perfectly.

west-ham-a-10-11On to the away kit….another great design that resurrects the club’s late 50s/ 60s away kit of white shirt with a single claret and single blue horizontal band. Its an iconic design and its surprising that a revamped version hasn’t made a reappearance in the Hammers’ kitbag since its original incarnation. The shirt features identical stitching and panelling to the home kit – the only main difference in terms of construction is the inclusion of a pale blue crew neck and cuffs.

Two great kits from Macron, both with a superb fit – I wonder if we’ll see the famous pale blue with two claret hoops strip next year, or are West Ham due a navy away kit?

Life as a football kit design student

Posted by John Devlin

I was contacted recently by twins Samuel and Thomas Phillips who are both studying Level 2 Sportswear Design at University College Falmouth. They were telling me all about the course and the work they are doing designing kits. One of the projects is designing a strip for their local side Perranwell AFC and they have set up a blog documenting their work. There’s some really great ideas there (especially their handling of the “stripes” problem!) and its a fascinating step by step look at how a football kit design comes together and what life as a sportswear design student is like.

I’m sure you’ll find their story interesting! Find out more at:


Sunderland 2010-11 Kits

Posted by John Devlin

sunderland-h-10-11Not much to complain about kit-wise at The Stadium of Light this season as Umbro have turned out a solid pair of strips for The Black Cats. The home design is clearly based on Umbro’s classic late 70s/early 80s Sunderland outfit with its tidy collar and sober stripes. On closer inspection though the stripes actually feature a very subtle zig zag weave which is comprised of tiny Umbro diamonds. A nice touch and again reminiscent of late 70s striped kits which were often seen to have a similar effect due to the style of the fabric. The socks are also based on the late 70s pairs and feature simple white turnovers. Online bingo company Tombola become the club’s new sponsor although the logo doesn’t feature on children’s replicas due to recent gambling legislation. The whole design of the kit is simple but very effective – plus its refreshing to see a jersey that doesn’t mess around with the presentation of the stripes – adidas take note!

sunderland-a-10-11The club’s new away is another superb Umbro strip. I have to admit I really like the subtle muted off-white colours that are appearing this season (see also Everton’s third kit) and this shirt is comprised of a colour rather grandly named as silver birch and trimmed with zinfandel (that’s claret to you and me). OK,  naming issues aside, the colours form such an interesting combination on the strip (which is almost identical in design to Blackburn’s away kit) and create a really individual and classy looking outfit. One of my favourite’s of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur Kits 2010-11

Posted by John Devlin

spurs-h-10-11As usual Spurs launched three new kits at the start of the season – their fifth set of Puma designs. Last season’s home strip ruffled a few feathers and this year’s has done the same. Again Puma have ignored the pure lilywhite shirt design preferred by fans and have instead included a prominent navy panel across the shoulders in a style slightly reminiscent of Admiral’s famous England outfits of the early 1980s. The Puma logo is placed high and reversed out of the navy on the right shoulder with the Spurs badge further down. A wrapover neck with a small V inset forms the colour and the main panel of the shirt is adorned with a subtle diagonal shadow stripe. The shorts mirror the shirt design and include a large white panel on the bottom of the right leg. There’s a new sponsor at White Hart Lane this season – well, tell a lie, there’s actually two. Software company Autonomy will appear on Spurs’ shirts for league games with financial firm Investec worn for cup matches. The deal to split the sponsors in this way is a first for the Premier League (I believe) and was the brainchild of Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy. Investec’s cup shirts have been very popular and have sold out in the club shop.

The design has grown on me to be fair since its launch – I still would much rather see the club in a pure white shirt and I’m really against giving secondary colours too much prominence on jerseys. Still, its something different and will no doubt lead to a very warm reception for the much plainer shirt I’m sure Puma will introduce at the Lane for 11-12.

spurs-a-10-11Away from home Puma have opted for light blue this season. Its a different design to the home shirt and instead is one of this year’s standard Puma templates as premiered in the World Cup and also worn in the Premier League by Newcastle. However for this strip Puma have gone for alternate blue and white flashes on each sleeve and trim on the collar. The shorts however retain the white trim and include the ‘interesting’ Puma logo on the waistband.

spurs-3-10-11The club’s third shirt is in navy blue and again is formed from another standard Puma template that was launched in South Africa. For me this is the least successful kit of the bunch.There’s just too much going on and the combination of white and fluorescent yellow gives the jersey a cluttered approach. The shorts and socks however simply follow the design of the away pairs.