Although I always enjoy browsing people’s comments and opinions about new shirt designs on other football kit sites it can sometimes be a bit of a disheartening experience. All design is subjective of course but it is amazing how opinions can be so radically different. For example, the new Lotto QPR strips have provoked several extreme reactions from people who think they’re the best things since sliced bread to those who just simply can’t stand them. But I’ve noticed increasingly many of the reactions to new kits just come across as bored and uninterested with no real passion or interest behind the designs. Many kit fans seem to be coming to the conclusion that the designs for 08-09 are bland or uninteresting, or as described on one site ‘sh*!te’.
Part of the reason for this may come from this yearly turnaround of kits that has become the norm in recent years. The feeling seems to be that many of the designs are just not different and exciting enough to provoke responses. Take for example the Umbro Everton kits (first, let me make it clear, I am a BIG fan of Umbro designs and always have been since the late 70s) but ever since they took over the mantle from Puma the club’s home shirts have hardly differed. People criticise this lack of development (and may also knock the template approach, but thats a subject for another article) and I think the designers need longer to create a really special design and the fans need longer to appreciate and identify with the current outfit.
A one-year lifespan is just too short – in my view this is failing to bring real character to these outfits as designers and suppliers are perhaps lacking inspiration. Is it a coincidence that more and more teams are releasing strips to commemorate certain events or milestones rather than producing inventive forward-thinking designs?
In the ‘old days’ after two or three years wearing the same shirt fans were just be gagging for a new design and there was real anticipation and excitement when you saw your team wearing a brand new shiny kit for the first time. Distinctive kits that were given time to ‘mature’ clearly defined eras in a club’s life – nowadays the fast turnaround of increasingly similar designs often fail to even define a season.
Now, after just one year its just ‘oh yeah, a new strip’ – another regular occurence. The magic seems to have gone a little. People just don’t seem to be getting really excited about new kits any more, its no longer an event its just another design – and quite often not much of a move on from the previous.