A football shirt can evoke many feelings in a football fan. The colours and emblems of your chosen team are carefully preserved and passed down from generation to generation. At least they used to be. Now teams have at least three kits, the second and third of which are normally purple or fluorescent green, or both in the case of Swansea City’s new away effort. There is an overabundance of needless alternate kits in the Premier League and it’s ruining football.
For a young football supporter, there is little more enjoyable than going down to your local sports store to pick up your team’s new kit before the new season. However, the current choice of strips are tasteless and adorned with unnecessary advertising, which is anything but subliminal. It is about time that the hierarchy of football stopped grabbing the pennies of supporters and went back to its roots.
In the good old days, a team would have one home kit and one away kit for emergencies. Even for an away match a team would wear their home kit unless there was a severe kit clash. Now Premier League teams are contracted to wear their away kits for virtually every away game. What’s worse is that these second and third kits are designed without the slightest consideration of the heritage of the team the strip is intended for. At the very heart of this is always a big corporate brand, looking to exploit young boys and girls across the country who just want to support the team they love.
Let’s take the example of Norwich City. This season they have, like most teams in the Premier League, released three different kits. However all three of their kits are green and yellow. There is no other team in the Premier League that wears the colours green and yellow. Even if The Canaries played themselves there would still be a kit clash.
Even worse than this is Newcastle United’s new home kit design. This year their home shirt features blue lines as well as the traditional black and white on the front. I can only assume the blue is intended to match the colours of club sponsor ‘Wonga’. Oh the irony.
It seems that the worst teams suffer from the worst kit designs. Newcastle’s new home shirt is the equivalent of putting racing stripes on a clapped out Peugeot 206 in an attempt to make it go faster. And there are many more like it in the Premier League this season.
Despite this I would still rather watch Newcastle United play Manchester United in their home strip rather than their away strip. Unfortunately this was not the case when the two sides met earlier this season. When I think back to previous encounters between these two sides, their kits stand out in my mind. Football thrives on nostalgia, and the black and white stripes of a Newcastle shirt are a wonderful reminiscence for every football fan, and an important part of Newcastle’s culture as a city.
If we don’t act quickly football fans across the world are in danger of supporting a different version of their team. Most Premier League stadiums are associated with the sponsor of a club rather than the name of a team, and it’s not an exaggeration to predict that one day we’ll be cheering Nike FC or Wonga United. Until that day comes we should cherish the few good kits we have or treasure the old classics for a trip down memory lane.