Saturday, August 09, 2008

Premier League Kit Parade (Part 2)

And so we arrive at Part 2 of our saunter through the exciting landscape that is the Premier League shirts for 2008/09. Today we have five more teams to concentrate on, and this being an alphabetical list of sorts, we continue with...

Say what you like about The Toffees - when it comes to their home shirts, they don't like to change things around too much. Consistency is everything. There again (as Oscar Wilde once said), consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative, and we happen to agree with him there.

So what will David Moyes' men be wearing this season? Well, apart from their new blue shirt which looks staggeringly reminiscent of the last one, there's also a more enlightening away shirt that's white with a navy blue and grey band across the top of the chest.

Even this, however, can't really be treated as being anything bordering on unique or a one-off as this 'double stripe' motif of Umbro's can be seen everywhere from the England away shirt to the West Ham away shirt - more of which in Part 4 of our Premier League Kit Parade.

But let's not be too harsh. Both shirts look smart, neat and in the case of that away shirt, quite stylish. Not bad, but come on Everton... why not go for something more interesting next season, eh?

The club from Craven Cottage scored big points with us (and indeed most of you) for their new Nike kits last season, and here we are again with another couple that should meet with your approval.

In the home shirt, Nike have reintroduced a little more black around the collar and cuffs which, given that last years equivalent was completely white, may or may not be a good thing depending on your opinion. Other than that, it's as you were.

On the away shirt, however, Fulham have (much like Barcelona this year) gone from stripes to halves in red and black, and we think this is excellent - so much so that Fulham should stick with it in the future. We really do like it that much.

Once again, Nike have produced a couple of designs that are very simple but retain a very stylish and attractive look. Well done them, we say.

Hull City
Ah, welcome aboard the good ship Prosperity, Hull. We're pleased to see you and we'll have difficulty missing you in your new home shirt which sees a return to those amber and black stripes you've worn so much throughout your history.

Yes, Hull are back in the big time and Umbro have given them a strip to be proud of. The thing you have to know about Hull City is that they regularly alternate between striped shirts and plain amber ones, and having had plain last year, Umbro have returned to the stripes for 2008/09. They've made a good job of it too, with a sleek, no-nonsense garment that should catch the eye without any trouble.

Away from home, The Tigers have got a more sombre dark grey shirt to wear. Hmmm... grey shirts... problematic, no? Perhaps. They can be somewhat less than inspiring (as we'll be seeing shortly), but this one's saved by its dark, brooding tone which should make it easy for the players to pick each other out on the pitch.

All in all then, a pretty good effort from Umbro, if our opinion's anything to go by. And at least they've avoided the obvious pitfall of basing a new shirt design on the team's nickname which, frankly, is unforgivable.

When Adidas replaced Reebok as The Reds' kit supplier in 2006, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Most of those Reebok strips from the previous ten years were, it has to be said, decidedly poor, so it was no surprise to find us rubbing our hands with glee when that run came to an end.

Sadly Adidas' first offering was, well, inadequate to say the least. That floppy collar and the wavy white piping did nothing for us, and so it's our great pleasure to welcome a much smarter replacement that proves that sometimes less is more. Very nice.

Unfortunately, the new away shirt undoes all that building anticipation by being light grey, and as if that's not bad enough, they've even incorporated a shadow checkerboard pattern that subscribes to the 1984 school of football shirt design.

There's no nice way to put this - it looks cheap, boring and unoriginal. At least Hull's grey away shirt has a slight air of panache about it, but this, this... needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Liverpool have brought out a third shirt for this season - a pretty good green one - but it'll only be seen in their European away games. Shame, that. It would have been a far better away shirt full stop.

Manchester City
And finally to Man City who've had the dubious honour of having Le Coq Sportif as their kit manufacturers since 1999. For this season, they've produced a home shirt that improves on the rather bland pinstriped affair of 2007/08, and though it lacks a little excitement, we think it's a step back in the right direction.

Out go those pinstripes which proved such a talking point last season, and in comes a plain light blue shirt with a white stripe running across one shoulder and a thin navy blue stripe running across the other. With a nice navy blue v-neck collar, it doesn't look at all bad in our book.

A little more troubling, however, is City's away shirt. It sees a return to the old red-and-black-stripe arrangement, and we think it looks OK... but we're not sure.

What's causing the confusion are those white pinstripes that flank the red and black bands. If it weren't for those, we think this'd be an almost perfect design. Sadly those thin white lines take the edge off it and that means the best we can call it is 'good' and/or 'interesting'.

So there it is, another five sets of shirts for you to judge and assess. We'd love to hear whether you agree or disagree with our rather presumptuous views, so why not drop us a comment and give us your thoughts on any or all of the shirts above.

Our thanks go to Football Shirt Culture and Historical Kits for their help with our research, and don't forget to join us again soon for Part 3 of our report on the new shirts for the 2008/09 Premier League season.


Chrissy said...

City had Reebok as their kit manufacturer for a bit starting 03/04 and then went to Le Coq Sportif last year with those HORRID kits, that you liked and I hated hard time.

There was a major complaint about sizes running too small that they've supposedly fixed this year. I expect that these shirts will be swimming on me. Though I don't expect to want to buy these either.

Chris O said...

To be fair, Chrissy, I did end my article last season saying "I think I like it..."! Let's put it this way - I wanted to like it, but as the season went on, I went off it a little bit...

Anyway, I never much cared for those Reebok kits either. The Man City kits which rank highest in recent memory for me were the Kappa ones between '97 and '99. The away ones were especially fantastic. Bring back Kappa, I say!


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