Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Premier League Kit Parade (Part 1)

This time last year, SPAOTP brought you pictures of some of the new shirts being released for public purchase by each of the Premier League clubs, and we asked you to tell us what you thought of them.

This year, we've back again for more of the same and we've got even more new designs to show you, so let's crack on and see what the twenty clubs of the Premier League will be wearing this season. In Part 1, we begin with...

...and the first thing you notice about their new home and away shirts is that they're strangely familiar - particularly the away one.

Nike have this time come up with another of those 'controversial' Arsenal home shirts where the sleeves aren't predominantly white as we're all used to seeing - a bit like the first one they produced for The Gunners back in 1994 - but that navy blue stripe resonates with their 2000-2002 kit as well.

As for the yellow change shirt, that can only bring back memories of one thing - the exciting climax to Arsenal's 1988/89 season in which they beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield to clinch the title.

It's the classic combination - yellow with navy blue sleeves, and it's bound to prove a big hit with the Arsenal fans, purely for nostalgia value alone. A good pair of shirts from Nike, we think, and a slight improvement on last season.

Aston Villa
Once again, we have a couple of offerings from Nike, but this time we're left with a slight feeling of disappointment.

Oh don't get us wrong - both the home and away shirts are nice and smart and no doubt well made, but they lack any sense of excitement or specific interest. Perhaps Nike went for the traditional look - something non-flashy and respectable?

Either way, the home shirt isn't vastly different from the one Villa wore last season, while the Summer Blue away shirt contrasts nicely with the previous white one. The thing is, we like Aston Villa's white away shirts so even that isn't scoring big points with us.

All in all then, a couple of safe shirts design-wise from Nike but if this were a school report we'd now be scribbling down the immortal phrase 'could do better...'

Blackburn Rovers
The first of six Umbro offerings here, and already there's one thing to note - the new Blackburn away shirt is already available to buy via their club website, but the home shirt isn't. You'll therefore have to make do with a picture of David Dunn wearing it for the time being.

So let's begin with that home shirt. Once again, the pendulum that is the eternal debate about whether the kit should have red trim swings back in the direction of 'No'. In many ways, that makes this shirt smarter and more refined - OK, we're tempted to say it's potentially less interesting to look at, but we think it's nicely styled, actually.

And then there's the away shirt. Now this is more like it... We're big fans of this one as it's that classic 'feature stripe' design that comes back in vogue every so often. This one's well executed with a white and royal blue stripe going down the middle on a navy blue background, but a technical point here - shouldn't an away shirt be coloured in such a way that it contrasts significantly with the home shirt? Discuss...

Bolton Wanderers
Now here's where we enter the realms of the surreal and the slightly comedic...

As you can see, Bolton's new shirts for home and away have what you might call a 'unique design element' - a strange dark-coloured thing that goes around the neck, over the shoulders and under the arms.

Seen from a distance and from certain angles, it looks like any player wearing one has got a rucksack strapped on his back. Suffice to say we fear for any replica shirt-wearing Bolton fan that has to catch a Tube train home from an away match in London this season.

While we're all in favour of creative design and a fresh approach, we think this is a step too far on the part of Reebok. We're also tempted to say that this is the sort of kit that you'll either love or hate, but to be honest it's more likely to just make you laugh more than anything. We'd like to be persuaded otherwise, though, so if you're a fan of Reebok's latest, leave us a comment and tell us why...

Somewhat typically from one of the 'Big Four', we have not two but three new shirts for the coming season, all of which are once again brought to us by Adidas.

Seen side by side in this manner, you'd first have to say there's an element of the 'template kit' about this (not that Adidas are any strangers to the art of designing template kits) but there is at least some difference in all three shirts as can be seen by (a) their colours, and (b) their collars.

Yes, it's another example of that 'let's keep it simple' mentality which you can't really knock but at the same time it doesn't really set the pulse racing either. We think the first point on the agenda when Chelsea met up with Adidas this summer was 'Get rid of that fluorescent yellow aberration from last season', and that they've duly done. It's been replaced with an old-fashioned (for Chelsea) warm yellow and blue edition which is much more pleasing on the eye, although it'll probably end up selling fewer units than the black one.

Still, all three look good to us and they're probably already flying out of the Chelsea club shop as we speak. So what are your thoughts on the new Chelsea shirts, or indeed any of the shirts mentioned above? Which would you be happy to keep as a memento for your future grandchildren and which would you happily set fire to in a frantic fit of pyromania?

Leave us a comment and tell us - we'd love to know your opinions. Meantime, look out for Part 2 heading your way shortly as it features Everton, Fulham, Hull, Liverpool and Man City...


sp3ktor said...

I'm sure the Bolton kit is based on somthing Captain Kirk once wore...

Chris O said...

Excellent! It just goes to show there are no new designs in the world of football kits...

Duffman said...

I'm just delighted to see Crown Paints back on a football shirt once again. David Dunn could be Jan Molby.

Seb @ Inside Left said...

Hmm, something of a retro theme to these strips, they remind of some of those horrid mid 80's to early 90's years. Particularly that Bolton one. Urgh. Hope Hull don't bring their Tony The Tiger kit back, we'll all be getting eye-strain and headaches watching them play. That Blackburn Rovers away kit reminds me of that disgraceful 'Talbot' kit Coventry went around with for a while, but without the 'T' at the top. The Aston Villa one looks nice though.


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