Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Premier League Kit Parade (Part 3)

Yes folks, as sure as night follows day and Great Britain follows Swaziland in the Olympic medals table, it's now time for Part 3 of our look at the new shirts being worn in the Premier League this season. Before we start, a quick 'hello' to all of you joining us from who, like us, enjoy finding out about the latest garments being worn in the world of football. Nice to have you with us.

So to begin, a curiosity. This might be a unique happening for 2008/09, but Manchester United start the new campaign with only one new shirt to show off, and it's this white, red and blue away offering from Nike. In case you're wondering, their red home shirt was brought in last season on one of those old-fashioned 'two year deals', so they'll be wearing that one again this time around. How very quaint!

Anyway, this away shirt of United's looks like a decent design to us. We're not sure about the red and blue highlights as we're probably used to seeing Man U in white and black away from home, but nonetheless it seems to reek of Nike's usual high production values and should be a fan's favourite in a very short space of time. Oh, and don't be surprised if a new Man United third strip comes out during the course of the season, but for now, that’s all there is from Old Trafford.

And so to Middlesbrough who, after a one season break, have returned to one of their all-time favourite designs - a classic that should never under any circumstances be discarded: the classic red shirt with a white band across the middle. Last year's all-red affair was decidedly uninspiring, but the white stripe's back and it looks pretty good to us.

Then there's the new away shirt which also returns to former values in the form of a blue-and-black-striped creation. This looks rather nice and is a hell of a lot better than those rather iffy looking kits featuring gold and ecru that have been concocted by Errea in the past.

And that reminds us - why Errea? They've been supplying Middlesbrough's kit since 1994 and to be honest they rarely seem to come up with the goods. Isn't it time for a change now, Mr. Gibson? For the time being though, these are a couple of reasonable shirts to be going on with.

Next up it's Newcastle and like Man United, they're keeping their home shirts from last year. Instead, they've got new away and third shirts to show us and these aren't too bad either. Away from home, Newcastle have come up with yet another new colour to add to the many they've worn in the past, and it's purple. (Sorry if it doesn't show up too well in the picture.)

It's pretty standard fare from Adidas - a plain front with those three legendary stripes running down the sleeves - and it looks nice and slick… but that colour… will people want to buy and wear it in their droves? I've a feeling purple could polarise opinions amongst the fans, but for the likes of us that aren't, we don't mind it too much at all.

To continue the slightly controversial tone, Adidas have also produced a silver third strip for the Toons. (Note - that's silver, not grey.) Again, rather nice and a lot better looking than the other silver/grey shirt Adidas have produced for 2008/09 (see Part 2 - Liverpool), but dare we suggest that white band across the middle looks somewhat Middlesbrough-esque? Don't complain to us, Newcastle fans - it was just an observation…

Next up it's Portsmouth and they have a new home shirt that pares down the old design to feature just blue and gold. All the white trim has gone and what's left is a simple but effective shirt which should please more than it offends.

The away shirt, however, may divide your opinions. Some have called it a rugby shirt, others a cricket shirt, but either way it's… well… different. As you can see, the shirt is white with blue sleeves, a big chunky flyaway collar and a blue panel around the bottom.

For our money, this is exactly the sort of well-executed inventiveness we want to see more of in football shirt design, and as a result, we love it. Admittedly there's a practicality issue around that big collar flapping up in your face while you're running, but apart from that it looks modern, looks distinctive and for all that has our unequivocally wholehearted support. Top marks to Canterbury for showing the way forward.

Finally today, we turn our attention to one of the Premier League's new boys, Stoke City. Renowned for their red and white stripes, Stoke's new home shirt doesn't disappoint and this new version sees Le Coq Sportif widening the middle stripe to give us something a little bit different. It looks great with its simple but very pleasant styling and if it isn't snapped up by the truckload, we'll be very surprised.

The Potters' away shirt is yellow, a colour they haven’t used for quite some time. With blue trim around the collar and under the sleeves, it provides a strong contrast to the home kit and takes us back to a time in the mid-70's when seemingly everyone's away kit was yellow and blue (think Derby, Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal, etc…)

While not the most exciting of offerings, it certainly ticks all the important boxes so we've no real reason to grumble. A good effort on both counts from Le Coq Sportif and one that Stoke fans should be rather happy with.

That just about wraps it up for Part 3 of our new shirt perusal for the upcoming Premier League season. In the fourth and final part coming soon, we'll be finding out what the good folk at Sunderland, Tottenham, West Brom, West Ham and Wigan will be wearing, so stay with us for that…


P Shaw said...

The Newcastle shirts are the worst especially the purple away shirt. Clearly that shirt has been made specifically for Mike Ashley so he can look even fatter and less like a serious football chairman. The Portsmouth ones are nice I rather like cricket shirts so the away one is very nice. The stoke shirts are as usual fantastic.

Seb @ Insideleft said...

That stoke one is "fantastic" ..?! It's pure rotten so it is, whats the story with that large red stripe in the middle? Very disappointing - they're still my English bit on the side though :-)

Dave said...

Man U have got a 3rd kit...tis basically a throwback to the 1968 european cup winning kit, plain blue (with white accents I fink)


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