Almost Weekly Blog – 14th February

Posted by John Devlin

Sorry for missing last week’s blog – unfortunately my 9-5 working life is taking up far too much of my time and energy at the moment – I hope to get a better work/True Colours/life balance shortly!

Thanks for the responses to the Wales kits article – I love producing this mini-features that take a concentrated look at a specific kit topic and hope to produce plenty more with a mixture of already published illustrations and new ones. I’m also working on a few more 08-09 kits with Nottingham Forest and Newcastle’s kits almost ready to go.

True Colours illustrations can also now currently be seen in Derby County and Oldham matchday magazines on a regular basis. Plus I’ve produced a couple of illustrations for the Swansea v Fulham FA Cup tie programme (I’ve just finished watching the match).

Its thrilling to see a handful of 09-10 kits already sneaking out. I’m not one to stick my neck out too much with opinions on designs (being a designer myself I realise that design is subjective and know only too well what its like when someone criticises a piece of work you think is great!) but I have to say I LOVE what I see of adidas’ new templates. They seem to be a cross between cycling jerseys and rugby tops. A real innovation that brings a breath of fresh, contemporary air to the football shirt world. They really reinvent what a football shirt can be. I hope the leaked previews that are knocking about are accurate. I’ll try to bring some illustrations soon.

On the flip side, if what has been revealed of the new England shirt is genuine, then…well…I am appalled. It is one of the worst football shirts I have ever seen. Umbro, who I have to say are probably one of my favourite kit designers (and that fact doesn’t change!) seem to have lost the plot with this. Far too much red, clumsy design, too many fiddly devices (although I am interested by the new 3D barcode ‘thingy’) and just generally a lack of ‘Englishness’. I really hope this is a red (literally) herring thrown out to confuse kit counterfeiters…we will have to wait and see. Personally, I think the time has come to return to a much plainer, whiter shirt with less of the red elements that have been used for the last few kits.


20 Responses to “Almost Weekly Blog – 14th February”

  1. Austin Says:

    If anything, I’d like to see an England home shirt that is devoid of red. My favorite England home shirt of the last 20 years was the Euro 1996 home shirt that used navy and light blue for trim colours. To me, it was a monument of subtle beauty.

  2. john Says:

    the England kit should be-
    white shirt,navy trim and red numbers
    navy shorts
    white socks.
    I also wondered why did they put England over the 3 lions? everyone knows its England!

    The best England strip was the 84-86 one though i do have a soft spot for the admiral 82 one .

  3. Rich Johnson Says:

    Agreed on the England ‘preview’. One of my favourite England kits of recent (well it seems recent to me!) was the one worn at Euro 2000. Plain white shirt with some interesting detailing in the fabric and a round, navy and white striped neck. Combined with the navy shorts, it looked the epitome of minimal cool and made us look a serious proposition (no gimmicks needed here, just watch the football!)…shame they couldn’t follow it up with results though. I think there should be very little red and more navy on the England top. Keep the red to the Away kit, where it looks great.

  4. Rich Johnson Says:

    p.s. Totally agree with you ‘john’. The 84-86 England kit was another classic. Again, nothing fancy, just an understated mix of core colours.

  5. amir Says:

    Isn’t the ‘England’ thing on the badge to do with a trademark thing? The FA has the same design with ‘the FA’ instead.

    Also all the home nations (I think) and the majority of others have changed their badge (to some extent) in the last 10 years eg. Ireland, Holland, France, Spain, Italy the list goes on. I think the England redesign is conservative compared to some others.

  6. Rich Johnson Says:

    I have to say I hated the Euro 96 shirt when it came out and it’s still not one of my faves. That weird blue colour on the trim just irked me…

  7. Chris O Says:

    Personally, I feel there should be *some* red on the England shirt as it alludes to the colours of the national flag. Not sure there should be red in the quantities shown on the ‘leaked’ photos though!

    Interestingly, two years ago to this very day I conducted an online poll on my website (http://www.spaotp.com/2007/02/kit-legend-england.html) to see which was the most popular England shirt of recent times.

    Having check the results just now, I see that with 311 votes cast, the shirt currently in first place is the one worn by England in the 1982 World Cup. Never would have thought it would be so popular!

  8. John Devlin Says:

    I have to say Chris that the 82 England top is also one of my least favourites – I was surprised to see it win your vote. Like Rich, I also was not in favour of the turquoise on the Euro 96 kit. I think the kit should be white with navy, and just a splash of red.

    Incidentally, a few sites (and the Daily Mail) are reporting that Umbro have denied the shirt is genuine. Fingers crossed. Its certainly stirred up a fair bit of interest – perhaps its all a big marketing ploy to boost sales of the new kit?

  9. John Devlin Says:

    Rich, just read your post re the Euro 2000 kit, I agree, on looks alone I thought that was one of the best England kits. However, on actually handling one I seem to remember the fabric being almost like cardboard! Really stiff and synthetic. Anyone else remember that?

  10. Andrew Rockall Says:

    Umbro are claiming the shots released are NOT the new kit. I hope this is correct, it is an absolute shocker!

  11. Rich Johnson Says:

    Never got to handle the Euro 2000 kit…don’t know why, but I rarely buy England shirts these days…maybe because they’ve been mostly uninspiring…My local Sports Direct is selling them off for about £4.50 and even then, I can’t bring myself to get one as I’m currently eyeing up the Japan one with fanning out yellow lines. I do have a ‘Youth’ size England top from 1988 complete with sewn badge (a rare thing in those days…the size above had a felt one) though…the one with the buttoned round neck…which took a lot of getting used to.

  12. Izaak Says:

    i remembered the England Euro 2000 home kit. one of the most uncomfortable shirts ever produced.

    my fave has to be the England Euro 1988 shirt though the campaign was forgettable.

  13. Mark Jessop Says:

    A bit unrelated (well completely in fact) but does anyone know who in English football has had the longest stint with a single manufacturer. Off the top of my head I would guess Forest with Umbro since 1986.

  14. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Mark – good question, I think you’re right, it is Forest. I know Man City were with Umbro for 63 years before Kappa took over in 97.

  15. Denis Hurley Says:

    Anyone seen this?

  16. Denis Hurley Says:

    I suppose it would be an idea for me to put the link too!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/umbrofootball/sets/72157613662155207/

  17. John Devlin Says:

    Drool….Denis, that is the find of the century! How did you hear about it? I knew Umbro were seriously attempting to document their past.

  18. Denis Hurley Says:

    Hi John, it was mentioned on http://www.uniwatchblog.com yesterday.

    Had been unaware of the blog too, it’s interesting enough

  19. Jon Says:

    From what was reported in the Daily Mail, it looks like Man City are set to end their deal with Le Coq Sportif two years earlier than planned and return to Umbro after a gap of 12 years.

  20. John Devlin Says:

    Thats great news! City and Umbro go together. Prior to Kappa’s arrival at Maine Road they had the longest kit relationship in British football I believe. Let’s just hope Umbro don’t dig out that new ‘England’ template!

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