Bamboo… what pandas eat!
Forest Green Rovers, named the greenest football club in the world in 2018, have launched what they say is the world's first football kit made from bamboo.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 5, 2019
Look, don’t get me wrong, I know I’ve been harsh on Forest Green in the past, but would you just look at this.
The away kit isn’t that bad and had the Supporter’s Board not made a call on our own kit, we might have had something not unlike that. It’s the home kit I’m not comfortable with. Why? It’s hideous.
Apparently, it’s made from bamboo, another odd marketing scheme which isn’t actually as wacky as it sounds. Dale Vince said of the kit – “I was pretty shocked when I found out that modern sportswear is actually made from plastic – that feels wrong to me, not just from the sustainability point of view, but for performance too.”
What he didn’t mention is that it’s just odd. I mean, sure, if Forest Green still wore black and white like they did before Vince made it his own personal plaything then maybe it would fit as a zebra, but how many glowing green zebras do you see?
The freshest, boldest, most talked-about kits around. ? #WeAreStevenage
— Stevenage FC ?⚪ (@StevenageFC) July 11, 2019
My first thought when I saw this was our own kit in 2011/12, the narrow stripes now associated with that awful first season in the National League. However, this is worse; much worse.
I don’t buy into a sponsor being changed for the purposes of fashion, nor does it bother me who sponsors the shirts. Hell, if you looked closely we had the word ‘tosser’ on the front of our kit last season. That doesn’t take away from the fact Burger King makes this look cheap. I’ve seen their logo on paper crowns in the restaurant, on bags discarded by the road and this shirt has a ‘uniform’ feel to it.
The stripes don’t work, the sponsor makes it look like workwear, the badge is plonked on in such a way I wonder if a child designed it. Then, when you see the away kit, you realise a child did design it, mainly by eating a bucket of wax crayons and being sick on a blackboard. Stick a Burger King logo on it and bingo, you had what I thought was going to be the worst kit of 2019/20, hands down.
Then along came Huddersfield.
? #htafc's new home kit for the upcoming 2019/20 season has today been revealed!
— Huddersfield Town (@htafc) July 17, 2019
It’s got to be a publicity stunt, right? It has to be? This shirt breaks the regulations on the sponsor logo and what is more, it breaks my eyes. It’s not just horrific, it’s obscene.
How can anyone have passed this? Even as a joke? I’m still convinced it’s a stunt, but they actually played in it last night. I know Paddy Power have a habit of pushing the envelope with their stunts and promotions, but I think it might just have gone too far. I won’t get into the ethics of betting logos on shirts, I won’t begin to preach morals and double standards, all I’ll say is this: if it’s a joke, it’s backfired.
If it’s not…. wow. Just wow.
We all have a different idea of what makes a shirt great, we have the ability to appreciate nice kits from other clubs and thanks to social media, we have the immediate ability to respond when a shirt comes out. To finish I wanted to touch on the last year or two from the Imps.
I think up to the 2018/19 season, we got it right with kits. I stopped wearing replica shirts socially a while ago (not because Fe told me too, for another reason… one I can’t think of yet), I don’t often wear one to a game now. I do spend stupid money when the right shirt comes up though and up until our promotion from the National League I bought most shirts. 2015/16 the stripes were perhaps a bit too narrow, but the title-winning shirt was lovely, as was the away kit.
I think this season we’re moving in the right direction and lessons learnt will help shape a stunner next year. The club responded to much of the criticism over last years attempt and in fairness, got much of this year’s right. I’ll buy one, but then I did end up with one last year too.
The real bold choice comes with next year’s away shirt. My gut feeling is the grey will generate lower sales this season, mainly because the home shirt will be more popular. I get the ‘pub shirt’ idea but surely it has a life span? Next year it’s time to try something different again and if I have a voice, I’ll be pushing for either a blue or a green.
Personally, if they make something like this again, I think it would sell extremely well. Similarly, something like the current training top would go well too, but they’re going to have to move away from the idea of grey, just for a season or so, in order to make it feel fresh. By all means, go back to the pub shirt in two years, but if you want to keep people interested it has to be shaken up.
Just don’t let a child design it by vomiting on a blackboard, or decide to make it from nettle leaves with the pattern of a stag beetle on it. Oh, and for heaven’s sake, don’t let bloody Paddy Power anywhere near it.