2015/16 Football Kits: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
This summer has been kind to us kit-keen football fans.
There have been some tremendous shirts that you'll look out for every time you’re in a sports store. There have been a few jerseys you wouldn’t be seen dead in, and some that have just left us all wondering why.
So let’s take a look at some of this summer’s highlights and some crap...Because no matter how much marketing a club does, you just can’t polish a turd!
Celtic FC (Cup)
I’ll start with the Marmite pick (For Americans, that means you either love it or hate it) Celtic have a brief history of using neon yellow and black hoops as an alternative to green and white. Starting with the iconic ‘Bumble Bee’ in 1997/98 by Umbro, Nike made two modern versions in recent years. With Celtic switching to New Balance this season, what better opportunity is there to use a famous Celtic color scheme.
I am a huge fan of Palermo kits. The execution by Lotto, in the use of the Sicilian club’s pink, black and white, was always fantastic. As the team went through a lull after the departures of Mark Bresciano, Amauri, Edinson Cavani and co. the kits did too. Spanish manufacturer, Joma, has produced a marvelous secondary shirt, making full use of the team’s lack of a shirt sponsor. A white shirt with black and pink pinstripes, that change color in a diagonal pattern. The half and half collar may slightly detract from the look, but this is certainly going to have a lot of admirers.
Lazio (Home, Away and third)
Remember those dull, lifeless Puma kits Lazio once endured? Thankfully, I’ve blocked them from memory too! Macron have been producing some top notch kits, even in their team wear ranges, but their efforts with the Biancocelesti have been phenomenal this season. The home shirt features a white halftone gradient, descending from the shoulders, with a blue pinstripe breaking this pattern. The third is the same, only in white, with sky dots and navy accents. The away shirt is the big winner this year. After Macron produced a throwback to the famed 1982 home kit of sky blue and white with a navy eagle taking up the middle of the jersey, they’ve added a black version with a sky blue eagle. A classic.
Dundee seems to be Puma’s favorites in Scotland, perhaps even over Rangers. This year the Dees will turn out a secondary kit with a similar sash to Newcastle’s third. The white shirt features a navy and sky diagonal sash, which changes color suddenly just above the modest Kilmac logo. Under the sponsor, the sky blue portion features the Dundee logo in a slightly darker shade. The look is complemented with a simple navy shoulder stripe, navy cuffs and white collar.
Sporting Lisbon (Away)
Sporting have had some of the best and worst kits of the past decade. They were one of the guinea pigs for Puma’s more out there designs along with Bordeaux. A Macron supplied team these days, the Portuguese club will certainly look smart when playing away from Lisbon. The black and grey hoops are separated by a green pinstripe. The collar is a Kiwi style with a slit down the front.
Huddersfield Town (Away), Evian Thonon Gaillard (Home), West Ham United (Home), River Plate (Away)
Newcastle United (Home)
Designing a Newcastle kit isn’t an easy job. It’s supposed to look no different than when Jackie Milburn or Malcolm MacDonald wore it, but different enough that people will feel the need to buy a new kit every year. Puma keeps experimenting with blue, and it doesn’t make sense. The blue collar, shoulder stripe and collar aren’t that bad. The out-of-place use of blue angled lines, within the black stripes, is nothing but an eyesore. The new ‘bum piece’ that Puma are adding on kits is a little strange. That panel used in white on the Arsenal home actually adds a nice element to the shirt, but even more blue on a Newcastle kit is just wrong. Add to that the fact that the shirts were produced with Wonga’s old garish logo after they had rebranded to a much nicer logo that probably would've complimented the use of blue. It’s no wonder that the Toon Army have launched an alternative, from a basic black and white striped adidas team wear template. Good on them!
Norwich City (Home and Third)
Norwich and Errea sought to bring back an old Norwich kit for some strange reason. It wasn’t a nice design, it wasn’t a design that saw great triumph, it’s just an old yellow and green halved shirt, with an enormous square cut out for a sponsor. The Norwich and Peterborough Building Society have a pretty versatile logo, and the square in so big that it makes the logo look tiny. The new third shirt is just bizarre. There are eight shades of color used in it. The old fashioned three color hoops are long gone for a reason.
Arsenal (Cup kit)
Anthracite, another unnamed shade of grey, gold, white and capri breeze doesn't sound promising does it? Based on that Newcastle third/Dundee away template, Arsenal's grey cup kit is anything but dull. The main sash is a slightly lighter shade of grey on the top and capri breeze beneath the Fly Emirates logo. It's turquoise okay, it doesn't need another name! Flanking this are white and gold diagonal stripes for the bottom half. The logos are all monochrome gold, except the white Fly Emirates logo. The shorts and socks are largely featureless, which makes the stripes look even more out-of-place.
This could be so easy to execute. Why didn’t they just do it right!? Pink is great, it’s Juventus’ original color. Having a white and magenta band in the middle isn’t really a problem. Nor is having a monochrome text sponsor logo. Having a really thin band interrupted by a white word mark with a black background looks idiotic however.
Exeter City (Third)
The Grecians claim this shirt commemorates their age-old partnership with the Brazilian side, Fluminense. The problem is the color. It is a red and white striped shirt with smaller green stripes within the white. Exeter play in red and white stripes at home anyway, so that is pointless. What makes even less sense is the use of green, the same as their chief rivals, Plymouth Argyle. So that’s two St James’ Park teams with rubbish kits if you’re keeping count. Thankfully Brackley Town haven’t made it three SJP teams. They went with a nice red/black Joma number.
Greuther Fürth (Away), Watford (Home), Kawasaki Frontale (Home), Oxford United (Home)
The Ugly....Or Slightly Absurd
Gainsborough Trinity (Special Edition)
I’m filing this under wonderfully horrid. A pink shirt with falling blocks of yellow and sky blue. This pre-season kit is in support of OddBalls, an underwear firm that raises funds and awareness about testicular cancer. The design is a replica of their 'Digital Rain' boxer shorts. It deserves cult status among shirt collectors if nothing else, and supports a worthy cause. This is one of the many reasons why I prefer non-league football.
St Pauli, (All of their kits)
St Pauli are probably the greatest club, off the pitch, in history. They are the original punk club. I’m not sure how much that has to with it, but their kits leave an impression every season. The home is actually quite modest as a copper color with a subtle pattern. The secondary is a lined gradient style that Hummel are widely using, in brown and white, with cuffs in the style of pride flags. The third kit is somewhat more bananas, with a very bold red zebra pattern. The goalkeeper kits are two ‘90s masterpieces. Do You Football were known for their barmy kits. Hummel not so much, but they've produced a couple of gems here.
The rivalry is supposed to be ‘anything that Sporting Lisbon can do, Porto can do better.’ Not with their away kits though. The former Champions League winners are rolling with a brown and blue shirt this year. The two shades of brown, used in the hoops, draws clear inspiration from the poop emoji. The use of blue was probably just to distinguish the two. The reason that Porto gave for this color scheme was simply that they’ve never had a brown kit before.
Storm Graz (Goalkeeper)
All of the Austrian side’s kits for 15/16 are pretty shocking, but their green and black goalkeeper’s jersey is certainly among the worst kits of the year. It seems like a dreadful experiment by someone first discovering filters in Photoshop. A black body containing a rippled water effect with white and lime green. The green sleeves and new style of red Lotto cuffs really make it difficult to see anything positive in this shirt, but you have to save the worst for last. Energie Steiermark’s logo is simply enormous. It’s a gigantic white E in a big green box. Someone could mistake the Sturm Graz goalkeeper for a parking zone.
Manchester United, Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea and every major Nike team (Third)
Remember how we marveled at the Barcelona away kit with the orange to yellow gradient? Remember when Nike then made it a teamwear template, and every Sunday pub team had it? Now Nike and adidas are competing to find out who can commit the worst crime with this effect. Every major Nike team are now given a themed third kit in bizarre colors. Last year they were tasteful, but this year they are hideous. A gradient from a 'regional military themed color' to black is used on the sleeves and shorts. It looks a little too much like they were spray painted. The German manufacturers, not to be beaten, have given Manchester United, Juventus, Chelsea and AC Milan some really wacky shorts to compliment a completely blank shirt. This was for a Champions League theme, with Bayern and Real picking plain shorts instead. For Man Utd, their shorts faded from black to white, using the pattern from their last adidas kit in 1992. Juventus do the same but with parallelograms (no, really). And again with Chelsea, albeit using arcs. AC Milan goes from a dark green to yellow, via several colors that incorporate the theme of Expo 2015. It just looks like a printer that is running out of ink.
HNK Hajduk Split (Third), V Varen Nagasaki (Home) Sheffield Wednesday (Goalkeeper), Numancia (Away)