Football Kit Five Point Plan

I’ve had this post drafted for a while but Thursday night’s farce at Tynecastle where the home side, Hearts, were forced to wear their away strip at home against Liverpool has prompted me to complete it.

The main reason for this bizarre situation comes from the fact that all three of Liverpool’s kits managed to clash with Hearts’ maroon jersey. The core of the problem though lies in the fact that the Reds’ dark purple third shirt is, at a glance, very similar in tonal value and hue to their black away kit. An issue that I refer to below.

For this to be happening in this day and age with kit awareness and design sophistication at a peak is quite frankly ludicrous. For a club like Liverpool to employ a kit manufacturer who can’t even concoct a solid, usable, array of kits beggars belief.
I sense things are changing a bit in the football kit world and a few issues have crept in that may be threatening to the whole culture of football strips and the relation between the shirts worn on the pitch and replica sales and what determines this.

In my view the tail is now wagging the dog and unless common sense is brought into play the entire replica shirt boom is in jeopardy as fans realise what is going on. A kit shouldn’t exist just to sell replicas – end of story. If plenty of replicas are sold then thats great. More money for the club – vital in this day and age – and its a situation that with right management could exist as long as football does. Supporters want to be able to dress the same as their heroes on the pitch. But don’t design and produce a shirt SOLELY for the replica market – especially if due to poor consideration or lack of design/colour knowledge it doesn’t do its job on the pitch. This is what happened at the Hearts/Liverpool match this week.

I’ve drawn up a few points that I think should be put into place to re-evaluate kit design and bring it back on track in terms of its position and club integrity in football, improving visibility of players on the pitch and also its relevance and, more importantly, fairness to the replica/leisure wear market.

Many of these issues have been discussed elsewhere on the site…

1 Wear your home kit wherever possible.

This is the core of a club’s identity. If you’re playing away from home and there’s a clash wear your away kit. If there’s STILL a clash, then wear your third kit. Always wear your home kit at home and don’t change elements of it at all unless there is a clash (witness Man Utd donning their ‘night time’ white socks away at Everton recently despite being no clash). Maintain the integrity of the uniform and don’t change on a whim.

2 Ensure your home, away and third kits are all sufficiently different in colour to each other.

Each kit has to serve a purpose on the field of play – that’s it’s job – and should not exist in its own right purely for marketing a replica version. A team should realistically need no more than three kits per season. This should cover every eventuality and a sensible range of colours would accommodate this. We’re seeing more and more examples of home/away/third kits that are in the same colour (albeit a different shade) or tonal value as each other. Sell a leisure/off-field shirt for supporters to buy if you want to produce a different design in another shade of the colour.

3 Each kit should last two seasons.

This feels to me to be the natural lifespan of a kit. The longer period will allow kits to become more memorable and iconic. Too many good designs are wasted after just one season, condemned to the back of the kit cupboard. Plus imagine the excitement and anticipation each time a new kit is launched. I guarantee it will be more than exists now. It will also be a massive gesture to complaining parents who have to buy kits for their children. Too many clubs now launch three new kits per season (with at least one thats seldom worn) with many simple off the shelf teamwear kits with no special link to the club or bespoke quality. Change for change’s sake. Even to someone who loves kits as much as I do this does feel a tad excessive. To ensure at least one new kit is launched per season and provide steady income we should revert to the old trend of this year’s away kit becoming next year’s third kit. More practical and less wasteful – and no more old-hat £15 shirts at Sports Direct just months after a new kit has been launched. Kits are iconic and special and should be given more value.

4 Allow secondary sponsors on the kit in England’s top flight.

It happens throughout the football world – and even in the rest of Football League. Why not the Premier League? Is the league so high and mighty that it doesn’t want to demean itself by ‘excessive’ sponsorship/commercialism (yet it happily allows more than one manufacturers logo and permits the launch of three kits every year!) This rule could also bring in valuable revenue that may be lost by giving each kit a two-year lifespan. However – the only other rule I would make here is that the secondary sponsor should either be another brand, an additional logo of the main sponsor or an additional (possibly also enlarged) logo of the kit manufacturer.

5 Make new kits sufficiently different from the previous design.

Maybe a trite ‘Daily Mail’ style point but lets make kit design really exciting and interesting again. Even introducing a different collar design makes a massive impact to the shirt’s overall appearance and really helps make each shirt unique and special. Its a simple point but adds real value to each new design when it comes out. The anticipation for a new kit that, in my view, has been dulled slightly by the one-year cycle, will return and seeing a real innovative design move-on and a new style could increase sales.

Well….this is my five point plan that I believe could really rejuvenate the kit world and the replica kit market. I’d be interested to hear your views…

125 Replies to “Football Kit Five Point Plan

  1. Very good John, though I’d slightly disagree with you on the making each kit different, I’d say that your away and third kits should be able to sort any clash.

    Take Newcastle last season, they had a black third which seemed superfluous, but when you examine it there was no either team with a black home kit and that third could be worn against teams in white or stripes, allowing Newcastle to wear their traditional colours.

  2. Two sponsors? NO!
    I love Premier League for single sponsor on jerseys. I’m italian and I hate two sponsors on Serie A kits!

  3. Spot on John, look at Spurs opening game at Newcastle, they had to wear the away shirt with home socks and shorts and even then it was still a bit of a clash. The new 3rd kit for Spurs would be useless as well, it dark and light stripes.
    The Liverpool situation is ludicrous, all 3 kits are effectively dark, they should have at least one kit in a light colour, white or yellow would seem traditional.

    I don’t know about multiple sponsors on a shirt, check out some French team shirts, horrendous with all the sponsors. Maybe even allowing short sponsors could generate income.

  4. Agree with all of this John. True Newcastle ended up wearing their black kit due to others not having a black home but that could just as easily have not been the case. Having to wear an away kit at home or home when away is purely a case of a lack of due thought and consideration on the part of the manufacturer. Pretty inexcusable. The ironic thing is that I highly doubt that Liverpool would sell sufficiently more replicas to justify the colour decision. Also on sponsorship, the FA need to end the culture they have of selective morality.

  5. I’ve said this before but still maintain that it is the most workable system for avoiding clashes. Take a colour which is rarely used in home kits so most probably yellow. Make this colour mandatory for away kits apart from those of Norwich and Oxford (and anyone else who play in Yellow that i’ve forgotten) and hey presto no more clashes and no need for third kits.

  6. Alternatively have a league ‘kit coordinator’ to whom copies of all kits are supplied prior to the start of the season. He would then contact all teams prior to games and tell them which kits to wear.

  7. I’d agree with all points, particularly the 2 year ‘rule’ although clubs changing suppliers will obviously get round this. There is NO justified reason in my mind that a club the size of Chelsea and Spurs need to bring out 3 kits each season. At least Arsenal/Man Utd tend to use last season’s away as a 3rd kit. Similarly why do clubs like Bolton & Leicester need a 3rd kit at all??!

    Further ‘niggles’ i’d like to see stamped out – gloves…why??? (especially with short sleeved shirts!) Long sleeved undershirts, beneath short sleeves (colour doesnt always match, plain undershirt with striped club shirt). At least the overuse of white sock tape has been addressed this season!

  8. Also , it shouldnt need an expert to work out what kit to wear. All kits are registered with the league and i assume provided to each club so the kit man/secretary can work it out surely!
    Finally I cant really understand why Liverpool’s dark away kit would clash with hearts’ maroon. Surely if the maroon was that dark Liverpool’s home red would have been sufficiently contrasting??

  9. Andy, leicester have often needed a third kit as their traditional away colour has been White, therefore matches against Sheffield Wednesday etc have meant a third kit is needed. There was. Indeed the 2005-07 away kit was very rarely used and the third kit saw far more use, it was rumoured after that, that the football league wouldn’t let the club use White as an away colour until last year due to the number of teams wearing blue and White in the championship. I will admit that this years White third kit is pretty unnecessary however.

  10. Common sense is all that is required, just like the article.

    I’ve been banging on about “home” shirt being worn away for years unless it clashes.

    Norwich & Wolves very rare they clash, certaintly don’t need a 3rd choice

  11. Excellent article.

    I agree with all of the points, except maybe point three. I don’t think every kit should last two seasons. I think it’s fine to have a home kit lasting for one season, but every now and then you should bring one out that lasts for two. Like Arsenal, I suppose. They had the home kit which lasted from 2008 until 2010. Then had a couple of one season home kits, and now they have a home kit to be used for two seasons.

    Teams like Chelsea releasing three new kits every season is ridiculous, and just leads to poor designs and forgotten kits.

    The Hearts/Liverpool situation was ridiculous. I’m really surprised Warrior, as it’s their first Liverpool, and after six or seven years of the mandatory Adidas stripes, didn’t just go with a white away and yellow – in the same design as the home kit. I’m not sure “increasing sales” is a good excuse, as I’m pretty sure they would have sold more than the pretty naff black away and purple third.

    You are still going to get clashes though, whatever you do. Teams with three kits shouldn’t clash with anyone, but it’s all about opinion. A clash to one person, isn’t a clash to another. Look at me and Denis on here! Take Newcastle versus Tottenham from last weekend. To him it was a clash, and to me it wasn’t.

  12. Good article, but please no more sponsors. I tend to only buy international shirts as they have no sponsors. The time that clubs have 2 sponsors I would stop buying shirts, although replicas weren’t sold, there would be even more sponsors. Sponsors logos should match the colour of the shirt. Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal etc tend to have just white letters, but Blackpool, West Brom, Bolton etc have had panels that spoil the shirt.

  13. Nice article.

    I would find issue with rule number two though. Im a Toon supporter, and while we play in black and white stripes, our first away shirt was a white number with a black V. Im of the opinion that this should be allowed if a third shirt was gold or yellow, then this should be allowed. Also, West Ham (Sky blue with two claret hoops). If a team has an Iconic kit that is in the same colours as the home, then they should be allowed to have those colours.

    Having a mandatory colour for every teams third kit is not a good idea, even yellow for every third kit. I cannot see Ipswich nor Swindon fans being too enamoured with that idea, even if Ipswich did have a yellow change in the 1960s.

    On the 2 year lifespan, I agree, but teams should be allowed to change the colour of shorts and socks each year – For example, Bolton could play in white shirts with navy shorts and socks in the first season, then switch to white in the second. It would keep the kit fresh and give a new look.

    On the Manchester United wearing white socks at night, they did win the European cup wearing white socks, and it is a well established tradition, so that should be allowed too.

    Also, on the secondary sponsor, where should it be? on the back of the shirt above the number a la Latin American teams? Or on the shorts? Personally, I prefer the shorts.

  14. The only place a secondary sponsor should be allowed is below the number, in my opinion.

    It just looks awkward anywhere else.

  15. It does look awkward above the name and number for English teams, and Latin American teams who have the players name sandwiched between the sponsor and the number, instead of below the number (Club America, Gremio), it looks wrong.

    In Germany, they have the teams name on the back, and I prefer the team name above the number and the players below it (it gives the impression that the club is more important than the player, which is always true).

    In France, Some clubs have logos of the region they are based in (Saint Etienne, Montpellier), and it actually adds to the shirt IMO, though the other sponsors on the shirt are a different matter.

    Im not sure about additional logos of the Main Sponsor, in some cases it can work well (As a side note, why are there no English clubs that play in a Tricolour shirt?)

  16. Ha! I thought a few of the points would not find favour with everyone! With regard to secondary sponsors, we are seeing it at the moment with Lotto/Macron/Kappa placing huge additional logos on the shirts. Why is this not any more offensive then a 2nd sponsor on the back, beneath the number?

    Spiderbait, I do have a problem with Man Utd switching their socks to white for floodlit games. Their kit is red shirts/white shorts/black socks. If that doesn’t meet the grade as far as Fergie is concerned then he should switch the socks permanently to white. Chopping and changing is daft. The fact they wore white socks in 99 was again, because it was a night/floodlit game. I remember an evening match a few years ago vs Chelsea where Utd donned white socks at home forcing Chelsea to change to all blue. I do take your point about the NUFC white/V away shirt though. It does prove an interesting dilemma.

    Thanks for all your comments though….

  17. In American Football all teams used to have white away strips, and the owner of Miami Dolphins grew tired of seeing every opposition in white so he switched their colours to white so the oppo would wear different colours every game.

  18. Eric, sure it’s awful from the point of view of kit enthusiasts like ourselves, but ultimately the idea of an away kit is to avoid colour clashes and this would surely be the best way of achieving that goal.

  19. As a Liverpool fan, I felt a little embarrassed by the kit problems against Hearts. It made the club seem unprofessional and we had similar problems in the first leg against Gomel. Some of us did point out that Warrior had managed to produce a range of kits that would cause problems when playing the likes of Villa. The home kit is excellent (although I prefer round or V neck collars) but the others are poor.

    On your plan, I’d only quibble with allowing extra sponsors. A two year lifespan makes sense. Inspiration for new designs is getting a little stretched I think.

  20. Couldn’t agree more John, as anyone who has seen my comments on Warrior’s Liverpool kits will know, I don’t think any real thought has gone into them at all.
    As an FC Bayern Munchen fan, we seem to have settled back into a two year alternating pattern again, although we change our Euro/third shirt every year. The kits also cover every eventuality, being H-red; A-white; 3-grey/black. Generally the clubs in Germany seem to respect their fans more, although they’re not all immune – witness Dortmund bringing out four kits this season! Not sure about second sponsors though, to me the French/Swiss league shirts look a bit messy with too many logos everywhere.

  21. Martyn – Bayern’s kit history fascinates me as it seems to have been all over the place. Sometimes they turn up looking like Liverpool, other times as Stoke or even Crystal Palace! I’d love to understand the logic behind some of their designs.

    As for second sponsors, the cynic in me thinks the clubs would arrange for the deals to expire on years a kit change wasn’t due just to keep the annual cycle going…..

  22. @ Mark Jessop

    I just don’t think you need to go that far.

    If every team has three kits, and a little bit of common sense is used in the colour and the design, then there shouldn’t be a problem.

  23. Regarding the yellow change kit issue, the following clubs have throughout the years worn yellow but have certainly disregarded it this year: Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Newcastle, Tottenham

  24. On that actually Andrew, does anyone else find it kind of surprising that Man United haven’t have any yellow kit since the 70s (exlcuding the Newton Heath third kit)?

  25. Surprising? Not really. White and Blue away and third kits cover all eventualities. They took the modern option of black as a variation, which though I detest, I understand. Doubt we’ll see grey again though!

  26. I just think the yellow kit in the 70’s was very odd as Blue covered all options needed and had been worn in such an iconic game when the won the European Cup in 68. It’s not as if they were worried aboud replica sales back then.

  27. But like I said, it’s still surprisingly they stick to white, black and blue, as hardly anyone else (maybe West Ham) is so rigid, eg:

    Arsenal: yellow, white, various shades of blue, purple/black
    Villa: White, sky, yellow, black
    Liverpool: White, yellow, green, black, grey, silver
    Spurs: Navy, sky, royal, yellow, purple, black, brown
    Newcastle: White, black, blue, purple, silver, yellow, greenish

  28. ned (27),
    Bayern started life in white or blue before switching to red and white, initially as white shirts with red sleeves and red shorts, before reversing the colours in the late 60’s. Since then, they have worn red and blue stripes (in the early 70’s and again in the mid 90’s), and even midnight blue in the late 90’s, but usually return to all red. Personally I’d like to see a return to the early 00’s colour scheme of red with blue sleeves and white adidas stripes – really classy. But if you want to check out the full range of strips, check out – it has a link on there for every strip since 1900!

  29. Glad you agree Denis. Personally I’d like to see adidas bring back blue as a second colour to the Bayern home strips, it used to work really well when used with white piping.

  30. Great article, however I have to disagree on the ‘extra sponsor’ point. I think 1 sponsor is enough. Too many sponsors/logo’s really spoil some great designs. Why kit manufacturers have to have 3 of their logo’s on a kit annoys me enough, but an additional sponsor looks cheap/tacky. France is by far the worst I know of for this. I wish UEFA would bring in laws for this.

  31. Denis, remember that article about Ferguson wanting a white change kit every season from now on (despite having it for the last seventeen years or whatever)? It may be that because he insists on white it negates the value of another light kit, ie. in yellow.

  32. With all due respect Jay, that’s rubbish. Liverpool have often worn yellow as a third option when they had a white away, ad I’ve never seen yellow v white classed as a clash anywhere except international tournaments.

  33. Two excellent points. But you’re talking about Home v change. I’m talking about Away v Third or vice versa. Surely most teams should have a light coloured change and a dark coloured change? Yellow is generally considered a light colour. Are there any teams that have two light coloured change kits in a single season?

    International tournaments are often under Uefa control like, say, the Champions League. Perhaps M Platini has something to say about two light change kits?

  34. Sorry, didn’t read your point there, Denis. I s’pose Liverpool have done that, as recently as 2006 I believe?

    Probably is rubbish then. I’ll think up another reason without foundation…

  35. I better comment on the plan, anyway. Not sure how to do this because I’ve obviously got a ridiculous opinion on each point. Best to stagger perhaps…

    1. Yeah, we should view change kits as exactly that and only wear them if forced to by the opposition’s kit (when playing away) taking precedence. But if kits don’t get worn then they don’t sell, so they’re bound to be thrown into action when it’s not really necessary.

  36. Yeah, I saw a picture of Cruyff wearing a white Barça shirt and NOW I CAN’T FIND IT. Think it was in some encyclopedia of world football or something.

    Barça have had: orange/yellow (not light) & black; black and mint green (not really light); mint green and pink/orange (not light); pink/orange and yellow (light, just); yellow and sky (not really light)…

    Is that the season you mean? 2008-09? Not really white and yellow standard. I’ll give you Liverpool 2006-07 but not having Barça as a Nike team with two light change shirts.

    Inter with white and yellow? More likely but the yellow’s likely to’ve been hooped with grey and black…which I s’pose United could do. What was my original point?

  37. Mint green is light, or at the very least bright, and certainly not dark! Ditto for the pink/orange (I get chastised by females for describing peach as a mix of pink and orange, I’m right, yeah?).

  38. Peach is certainly a mix of pink and orange but that kit wasn’t peach. It was orange in a certain light and pink in another (I believe natural light and floodlights made a difference). A wonderful creation.

    Not light though. Yellow and white Nike change kits, the quest continues. I surmise that Manchester United do not have yellow change kits because Nike consider white and yellow to be too light to both be worn as change kits in a single season.

  39. 2. Great point there, John. Warrior have obviously dropped one with the Liverpool Away and Third kits and I agree with Nike that yellow and white should not be used as change kits in the same season as they are both too light.

    Great call regarding the tonal version rather than tones on playing wear at the expense of functionality. Umbro messed a lot of those up but some were great. Or perhaps goalkeeper shirts could be pushed more as replicas and could be different shades of the outfield kits but then used with a different kit.

    Red Home, Yellow Away, Blue Third, Pink GK (worn with Away & Third), Gold GK (worn with Home & Third), Navy GK (worn with Home and Away).

    You know they belong together.

  40. This is probably a pretty useless contribution to this discussion as one is home and one is change but Hereford had Nike kits that were white and yellow at the same time from 2005 to 2009. I guess it’s different with lower league clubs though who would just select their own teamwear from a catalogue?

  41. Personally I’m all for ‘traditional’ strips – Barca should always play in orange away from home for me – not the insipid almost orange of this season, but a proper, strong orange (I’m thinking EC ’92 at Wembley). Just like Juventus should always have a blue away, Milan should always be white away, Real Madrid navy away…As a Bayern fan, we always seem to come back to white away, although the navy of a few seasons ago was one of my favourite shirts – but white is more traditional (would love to see red and blue side bar brought back though).

  42. Martyn, I’ll disagree with you again. (But I’ll spell your name right this time!). For me, Barca should be in yellow (a darkish shade, with 1 claret and 1 blus stripe) on the left hand side of the shirt. Juve should be in yellow shirts and blue shorts.

  43. Yeah, it’s all well and good wanting team’s to stay with the same colour scheme for away kits but they won’t make any money that way. They need a rotation of away colours to give people something new to buy. Fans might buy a slightly different home shirt each season but similar away kits is likely to be a different story. Milan tend to stick with red/black, white and black but they have such nice kits they probably do ok.

  44. I think football clubs should follow the direction o f hockey teams in North America. The home jersey colour is unique to the team. The away jersey has to be predominantly white and third jerseys can be unique in colour and design again.

  45. Andrew (52),
    Oh yeah, forgot about that one – that was a nice kit, and at least used the colours from the club badge. But for me the classic Juve away strip was the one from the 90’s – blue with yellow stars on the shoulders. This is clearly a controversial issue! As regards the subsequent comments, templates change a lot so you get variety from different trim etc (for example Bayern’s last white away shirt before the current one had silver hoops on it) – but for me tradition should always be the way to go – just seen Spurs’ pointless third shirt. the white home (even with the ‘wrong’ shorts) is fine, as is the navy away, but why not an all yellow third? traditional, and would cover ALL clashes.

  46. Unless I’m missing the point, I don’t believe there’s a need to force any team into having a yellow change strip or that of any other colour to be honest.

    It’s as simple as this. If you have a dark-coloured home kit, choose a light-coloured away kit and vice-versa. If you have a striped or hooped home shirt (i.e. Newcastle or QPR), make sure your change shirt/strip is plain and in a completely different colour (yellow would often be an ideal choice here).

    The reverse can also apply for third kits, i.e. if your team wears a predominantly plain shirt/shorts combo, use your third strip to bring in a striped/hooped shirt as a suitable alternative.

    All of this would make sure that a colour clash would be avoided. In short, do the opposite to what your opponents have (i.e. dark/light, plain/striped).

    Strange to think we’re still having this problem given that the main era for this was during the 60’s and 70’s when most people had black-and-white TVs!

    Great article John, by the way! I’d love to see the two-year kit span return again as, like you say, a kit is something to hold up as a work of art on the pitch and is to be enjoyed by the fans. Not sure I agree about the secondary sponsorship though!

  47. I don’t think so, David. As we saw on the first day of the season, Atromitos’s third with white shorts and socks would be acceptable to officials.

    I reckon it’s just that Newcastle are showcasing this kit having only launched it recently, marketing it as a European away

  48. I don’t know, I have a feeling the referee might have thought black and white clashed with grey. I’m not saying it is a clash, but I can see a picky referee thinking so…

    I don’t mean to keep disagreeing with you Denis. It’s almost like a parody of itself now!

  49. I’d add that After the infamous Man Utd ‘invisible kit’ incident that football kits need to allow players to see each other.

    Maybe they should all be flouro?

    Seriously though I remember hearing that the grey England Euro 96 change strip, like the Man U kit also designed by Unmbo, was designed to look better when worn with jeans.

  50. That kit blows. Mainly because the definitive look for Newcastle shirts is now Demba Ba wearing them with a baselayer and last night he was too hot. Or is it cold?

    3. I disagree with home shirts lasting two seasons. If I see a picture of a player I immediately want to know what season it was taken in (Denis, don’t get into the penultimate/last game of the season thing) and with two season kits that can be difficult. Plus, why should some teams have the latest template/style from the manufacturers while others have to make do with a year old version?

    If nothing else, with sponsors agreements not being made in line with manufacturer deals, two season kits can mean a change of the brand on the front which completely defeats the purpose of carrying the kit over, save for shorts and socks sales.

    A kit should become iconic because of its notable design or by association with on-field success. If it’s poorly received or the team underperformed in it then ditch it and start afresh. Denis, I don’t wanna hear about The Invincibles…

    Just to contradict myself, I do agree with away kits being retained as thirds. I think three new kits a season is a bit much and as long as teams do get two brand spanking new designs each year I can deal with an older third kit occasionally being used (as, following on from Point 2, it shouldn’t be required regularly).

    I do also think that popular (sales and/or cult acclaim) shirts should be kept on and new runs produced for the new season. I think, and hope, that the Athletic Bilbao green Away shirt will be kept on this year, but that follows the above pattern.

    The only problem is when we want to interchange elements of kits to avoid clashes (home shirt and socks with third shorts, for example), so the carrying over of one kit means the templates will not tie in with each other. I feel a plug coming on…

  51. The single thing I hate about football kits the most are the sponsor’s logos. I don’t think I could bare to watch if they added secondary logos. Look at the kits from Brazil or France where they are plastered with multiple corporate identities – they are abominable!

    Agree with much of the rest though – especially the two year cycle.

  52. I find the sponsors on kits all part of the interesting thing about football kits really.

    Kinda surprised people still find them such a big turn off in 2012…

  53. i can accept away kits changing every year on the proviso that the previous kit used as a third kit. secondary sponsors a big no no. stop both teams wearing the same shorts and keeper kits to be either green,red or yellow.

  54. When they go up for corners near the end of the game! Doesn’t just have to be the ref though, you have to take the goal-line officials into account too.

    Overall I agree with you though, I don’t mind goalkeepers and officials in same colours, it’s just odd that you’re of that opinion and then so exercised about the same colour shorts, which rarely contribute to confusion!

  55. Yeah, if you read my previous post on the subject, I did say that although I am fine with officials wearing the same colour as goalkeepers, in matches where they have the goal-line extra official – I don’t think it should be allowed, as the extra official is standing right next to the goalkeeper.

    As for shorts clashes, to be honest, it might just be that I grew up in an era where shorts clashes were very rare, and it’s just something I don’t like.

  56. Agree with all points bar the 2 sponsors idea,we’ll end up with kits like billboards!! As a Man Utd fan i’d like us to wear Red/white/black as home kit,White/black/white as change and a third shirt in black to be worn with either home or change shorts when playing stoke etc. No need for 3rd shorts or socks and this to last 2 seasons.
    I’ve said on here before that i’m not keen on the white socks in europe,if white is so visable then why not come out wearing Real Madrid colours!!

  57. Looking at Everton in all-blue at the Hawthorns, I think all-navy would be Spurs’ best bet when they go there, though some refs do not like teams to have the same colour sleeves

  58. It’s not the first time Everton have worn blue at West Brom, though its often happened whenever they’ve had a white and a black change kit in tandem – either of which would have caused a clash.

    But as for Spurs, I got a feeling if the third kit clashes (stupid choice of shirt BTW) then I think they’ll end up wearing the home shirt with the away shorts and socks, which is far from ideal considering the amount of navy and white in it compared to West Brom.

    However in years gone by, Spurs in white-navy-navy against West Brom in their home kit was commonplace before the 70’s. Like this from 1964/65…

    How they got away with that I don’t know, even back then in grainy black and white TV (with the added bonus of a bit of snow on the ground!). Back then of course Spurs had a navy away kit, but what was West Brom’s excuse when playing at White Hart Lane in their home kit?

    Last but not least – Norwich wearing black at Spurs……. erm, why? Last season they wore green there as well.

  59. Dagenham & Redbridge (away at Wimbledon) changed from their home red shirts to sky blue shirts. Wimbledon in all blue as proper Wimbledon teams (not Buckinghamshire frauds) should be. Not a major clash but as the Daggers home shirt wouldn’t have caused any clash whatsoever can anyone get their head around their reason for changing? Is this the first case of a team wearing their away kit which is actually more of a clash??

  60. Ronan the officials may have deemed the Blue side panels on Dag & Red’s kit to cause a clash for the Lino’s. Palace had the same issue against Southampton a few years back. They were forced to wear White training tips without the red side panels.

  61. john b (81),
    Totally agree with you. I have seen a lot of comments on pages like this from Man Utd fans who can’t understand why Nike get rid of perfectly good shirts after one season. As pointed out before, for the entire 80’s they wore white away and a blue third. As a fan of Bayern Munchen, and as I have said before on this page, our best combination is red home, white away, dark third. Personally I’ve never understood Man Utds white sock thing either – glad even a fan of theirs agrees!

  62. …I’d also like Man Utd to wear a green and yellow third (Newton Heath/92 Umbro), though I can’t see the Glazers being too happy about that! But I see nothing wrong with clubs original colours being brought back as away/third shirts if there is no clash.
    NB. I wouldn’t put it past Nike to bring out a blue/yellow combi next year in deference to Chevrolet commercial colours – its a very american thing to do that (in Indycar racing in the states drivers change their helmet colours to match the car sponsors quite a lot).

  63. 4. The point re second sponsors shocks me. I didn’t imagine John calling for something like that.

    I quite like sponsors but the problem is that the more you have the more chance there is of one being an organisation which is unpalatable or simply whose logo looks nasty on the kit. (Another plug? Why not?

    Sleeve sponsors I can take or leave but my personal favourite additional sponsor positions are under the number and the all time classic low down on back AND duplicated on the backside of shorts (so the sponsor’s seen whether the player wears the shirt tucked in or not).

    That said, when certain clubs play such hardball on sponsorship deals that they end up having no sponsor at all, and deals being bumped up due to the exclusivity anyway, I’m not sure Premiership teams would enormously benefit from it – and not likely that it’s a requirement to stave off administration. The increase in revenue would quite possibly, in the PL, be a drop in the ocean. It’s a very different scenario in lower divisions.

    The use of another logo of the existing sponsor’s a nice idea and I’d like to see restrictions on the size and quantity of manufacturers’ logos being relaxed. I think a huge Swoosh at the bottom of the back of shirts might actually look pretty cool, or on the back of the shorts and it’s a pity we don’t see socks like these

    Munster rugby have their main sponsor on their shorts and socks too and it works well, especially on the latter.

  64. 84. Ronan Smith.

    It’s funny you should say that as I saw a lot of Wimbledon from 1999 until 2002 as I lived in the area at the time, and I remember Bolton turning up at Selhurst Park in 2000/01 wearing their blue away kit. Why they didn’t wear their home kit, I’ll never know.

    Yeah, as you say, not a clash, but they would have been better off just wearing their home kit. Wolves did the same thing that season. Turning up in their blue away kit when the normal old gold home kit would have been a better choice.


  65. On several occasions over the past twenty years Wolves have had old gold change shorts, so I don’t understand that either. Wasn’t there a bizarre incident (I think in 93-94) when Man Utd arrived at Selhurst Park to play Wimbledon wearing their ‘Newton Heath’ yellow & gold third kit and Wimbledon changed to their red away? explain that one to me…

  66. I know this one! It was the Cantona cushion and volley game and Wimbledon’s blue was dark enough to clash with the refs who were still wearing black in the cup(s).

  67. As an aside, Robin van Persie looks much better in the Away than the Home.

    Nice pic, Eric. Love the differently coloured number and name mounted on different colour areas of the shirt. Reminds me of the brilliance of the Germany 2008 Home kit which had black numbers on the back but white on the front.

    5. I probably agree that if we have a two year cycle for kits then the changes should be significant but I think a gradual evolution and progression is necessary if a new kit is released every season.

    Olympique de Marseille used to change their kits quite subtly (this demonstrates the progression from 2004-05 to 2006-07 and I think that was a gesture to fans who bought the kit and didn’t want it to look outdated twelve months later. This way you could buy a shirt every two or three seasons in the knowledge it wouldn’t quickly become be worlds apart from the current style, which 10/15 years ago was pretty important.

  68. Fascinating reading everyone! Have to say I’m surprised so many are against additional sponsors. I thought it would go someway to compensate potential loss of income due to restricting shirts to a two year cycle. The way I see it is that the Football League has it – why not the Premier League? Nobody complained when Chelsea had their additional charity logo in last year’s CL – surely we’re not all so hung up on commercialism that we would have a problem with that sort of thing on every shirt if it brought extra cash in?

    I personally have more of a problem with large competition sleeve patches and additional manufacturing logos going unchecked on shirts than an additional sponsor.

    Something else struck me about the two year cycle as well – the fact that often a perfectly good shirt is mothballed due to it being out of date come June/July and replaced by the new design. In this day and age when we’re supposed to be protecting resources etc. why should this waste continue?

  69. It’s a bit idealistic – the only way how to force teams to change to a 2 year cycle is to stop buying replicas every year. The teams and their kit suppliers would not force anyone into a 1-year cycle if the sales are consistently low. Unfortunately with the kit market being a global market this is difficult to achieve.

  70. You make an incredibly pertinent point, John. At the end of each season there must be an incredible amount of player and replica stock left over. Where does it go?

    Olympique de Marseille used to give a lot of training kit to fans – knowing that club it probably would have been a first come, first served free-for-all – and I believe Liverpool have in the past given playing wear to The Red Cross but what happens to the rest? I think some goes to Africa in some shape or form but how much clutters up warehouses, ends up in landfill and never gets seen again?

    In truth, I know more and more is going exactly where it should go in order for it to find the most loving home – and make certain opportunists very wealthy along the way – but it must still be a tiny proportion of the total stock. It should be accountable and recycled – whatever use of that word is appropriate – in the most efficient and, probably, ethical way. Sports Direct and TK Maxx stocking it as discount lines and then throwing it in a skip to make room for newer stuff – if that’s what occurs – doesn’t sound like it fits the bill.

    I did once visit a wholesaler with lines up to fifteen years old that made me pinch myself, but it wasn’t comprehensive. Where did the Celtic player issue tartan shorts from 08-09 go? And the bumblebee luminous yellow change shorts from the following year?

  71. My team, Tottenham, have released at least 3 new kits a season for the last 9 years! In that time there have also been 125 year special edition kit and the dual sponsorship shirts for the last 2 seasons.

  72. To the layman Manchester United are still seen as the worst offenders, even though Spurs and Villa have really overtaken them! In saying that, United are trying to make a comeback after deciding to have a new home every year now!

  73. “layman” indeed. You can level many things at Manchester United but this idea of United as ruthlessly exploiting their fans via the sheer number and frequency of kit releases is something that the msm put out there as a cheap way of filling inches and selling units in a slow news week.

    The fact is that Manchester United were commercially savvy when other teams were dragging their heels. United, along with partners adidas, Umbro and Nike, have consistently offered value in their releases. Granted, back in the day there were more of them, just, but did the Arsenals, Liverpools et al have two season Home shirts consistently for over twenty years? Did they release and retain interchangeable shorts and socks on a regular basis? Did they routinely carry over Away kits as Thirds, either with a sponsor change or not?

    More importantly, United’s kits have been, from a United fan’s point of view and particularly during the Umbro period when this reputation manifested, brilliant. Newton Heath, the Home shirt with OT in the watermark, the one with all the names of former and current players.

    United’s underdeployed curiosity kits were either released as such, and with good reason, like the frankly superb white adidas one they wore against Barça in the ECWC final because (they assumed) they needed an alternative for the match – then retailed because it signified a notable achievement on the pitch – or became of interest due to being abandoned through not cutting it as playing wear – the grey “Southampton” one – which should always be the priority anyway.

    Even when in 1997 it looked like United were fleecing their fans by releasing an alternative Home kit for the Champions League they promptly won the competition the following season – when they couldn’t have worn their standard Home because of the diamond strips anyway – and kept the kit, albeit latterly with an extra star, for three years. That’s the kind of fleecing I can get on board with.

  74. Jay29, some fair points. But do you also remember how United bafflingly released an all-blue strip halfway through 96-97 – would it not have made more sense to bring it out at the start of that season? You’re right about interchangeable shorts and socks being a feature of some of those 90s kits, although I also remember them bizarrely pairing the home change with white away – see 99 FA Cup Semi replay.

    Let’s not forget the one-season wonders of 98-99 3rd, 99-00 away and 00-01 third – quite a few to only briefly see the light of day.

    Good post though – interested in your last point – why couldn’t United wear the 98-00 home strip in Europe? I did like the fact that the UCL kit was kept for three seasons though.

  75. Yeah, United haven’t been completely faultless, and they’re getting worse, but the whole idea of them being this monster ripping people off seemed to emerge in the early to mid nineties simply because most football club marketing departments around that time didn’t know their arse from their elbow, whereas United were quite astute.

    The 99 semi is oft-referenced and there seems no real reason for it other than the kitman packed the bags for Villa Park in a rush. Mistakes happen.

    The 1998-00 United shirt couldn’t have been worn in the Champions League because of the diamond strips down the sleeves, which Uefa rules on size/quantity of manufacturer logos banned. Here’s two pictures of Schmeichel, wearing “the same” goalkeeper shirt, that demonstrate it:

  76. Jay29ers my team Ipswich used to give their old kit to a local non league team(can’t remember which).This summer Ipswich sold in their club shop some of the remaining un-numbered playing kit from last season. I was able to get a couple of player issue shirts and the blue home change shorts. I also remember Aston Villa selling their 91/92 away players shirts in their store even though they were still wearing the design because the old shirts had the football league badges instead of the premier league badges.

  77. …and re adidas stripes, me neither. From the late 2001-02 season up to the end of 2002-2003 Real Madrid wouldn’t have stripes in domestic competition but would in the CL and I think Ajax’s agreement is/was similar. adidas get preferential treatment it seems, or the stripes are not classed as a trademark by Uefa, regardless of how many people the manufacturer sues for using them.

  78. Scott, good call. Arsenal used to do something similar I think but now it seems have an ongoing agreement with an online retailer.

    Chelsea stock goes to M&M Sports I think, or did do.

    I don’t care too much about the ethics of it – though hopefully have enough of a moral compass to have an idea of what should happen – more am annoyed that there’s change shorts somewhere out there that I can’t get my hands on.

    These socks too:

  79. Jay (107), a lot of good points, most of criticism of MU seems to stem from jealousy.

    Of course, if I were to forensically examine their kit history I’m sure I could find a few areas where wastage (i.e. more than one set of shorts or socks in same colour) could be avoided 😉

  80. Oh, they’ve been far from perfect – partcularly recently – but I’d say their record is much better than most other clubs with a significant replica wear revenue stream.

  81. I think adidas have preferential treatment in UEFA competition because since the “beginning of time” (©1992 SKY TV) they have been an official sponsor. I’m sure if UEFA followed the case of the IOC and banned the three stripe trim that is adidas’ trademark, they would be needing a new match ball and plug a sponsorship hole of several billions of pounds.

    P.S. I think Ajax didn’t have the adidas trim on their home shirts in the Dutch league for a time due to fan pressure. I think their first kit brought about such a negative reaction that it was devoid of adidas trim until relatively recently. Why the sudden change in the last couple of seasons I don’t know but it probably involved more money to include the trim!

    I think Real Madrid’s that time was due to their centenary so wanted a kit devoid of any trim.

  82. Yeah, I probably wasn’t explicit enough about why I thought Uefa gave adidas a break. They’re obviously a big sponsor, hence the preferential treatment.

    Re Ajax and Real, it’s going to be a preference v money thing that meant they sometimes did and sometimes didn’t wear the stripes, but it’s perverse that it was in the Champions League, where they “shouldn’t” be allowed, that they did wear them. Yes, it means the majority of games over the season see the shirt devoid of stripes but, in terms of regulations, it’s a*se about face.

  83. Yes, adidas have had preferential treatment in Europe for a long time. According to the book ‘Fever Pitch’ about the battles between adidas and Puma, it was adidas who put pressure on UEFA to have the Umbro logo covered with tape on the Liverpool shirt in 1984 European Cup final:

  84. (1). strongly agree.
    (2).agree- each team should start season with 3 kits (2 if your an norwich,oxford or wolves who rarely clash) that at the very least will get you though that league season with no 3 out of 3 kit clashs with an league oppnent. maybe have an rule that of your 3 kits at least one is “light” and 2 “dark” or vise verse.
    (3).semi agree- i think an better rule would be that all 3 kits h,a,3rd have all got to be worn at least during 20/25 maybe 30 different competive games before being replaced. this would give the club/kit makers the option of changing at least the home kit/one of the 3 kits at least every season but also ensure that the away and espyically the 3rd kits get equal useage!
    (4)semi disagree- for me less is more which is why i normally prefer international shirts! that said sometimes i like it eg. bayen munich in owen hargrees pomp had the team name printed on the back with the players name. could also work if maybe all 20 premier league teams backed the same charity/cause that season maybe picking an new one each season?/
    (5)semi agree- however it could be argued that each passing year that gets harder to do in practice!! take music 99% of people think the glory days of music have passed but how hard is it for mordern musicians to make an classic (and not sample something that already exists on purpose or totaly not) when their have been thousands of purfect songs already!!

  85. i agree with most of your points john …what i dont agree with is secondary sponsorship, ..i dont mind it in the lower leagues so i dont mind opening up this in the premier league too much, but i think it should be restricted in that it cannot be the manufacturers logo …we get too many of those as it is and it spoils kits too much

    i also think that these manufacturers logos should be limited to two places on shirt shorts and socks (so thats one main logo and in the case of adidas their stripes on each item of clothing)

    some fair ideas their though …i hate how commercial the game has become and i hate that kits are not seen as functional any more …i mean ..after all you dont see adidas designing my Visi-vests for their replica value …..their work wear ..their to make you seen in a warehouse and thats it,

    a football game is a workplace …kits should be functional workwear FIRST ..resale second

  86. Yeah, it is annoying.

    I don’t mind say Northern Ireland wearing their away kit in every away game, as obviously having a green home kit isn’t going to necessitate many opportunities to wear an away kit, Whilst I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to football kits, I also am a realist and understand that having an away kit which is never worn just isn’t going to fly.

    But there is no excuse for Scotland, as navy blue is going to mean they come up against enough teams in blue to show off their away kit.

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