It’s been three years since I wrote one of these - three years - which is both lazy and stupid, as they are certainly the most popular thing I do. It’s time, hundreds of thousands of people would seemingly agree, that I wrote another.
So here it is, a look back at what happened in the football design world in 2015, and perhaps further back, with a little comparison with my predictions for - ahem - 2013, where applicable. And, then, thoughts turning to what might occur in the year about to be upon us. Here goes…
First up, though possibly not chronologically, New Balance rebranded Warrior as, er, New Balance, and Liverpool got some reasonable kits. The Home isn’t my cup of tea, and the other two are pretty boring, but there’s nothing to laugh at. In fairness, Warrior, as a brand, was just about finding its feet in the beautiful game, but two seasons of tomfoolery apparently meant one of restraint was too little, too late. Out with the old and in with the New Balance. Celtic fans perhaps don’t realise the lucky escape they’ve had.
England, incredibly, didn’t get a new kit. Not a single one. They’ve kept the Nike kits they took to the 2014 World Cup through to today. I suppose they didn’t get much use out in Brazil, but still, no kits? Odd.
We saw some interesting developments in the genre of nationalist kits this year. Hot on the heels of Celtic and The Artists Formerly and Currently Known as Rangers launching surely politically motivated kits on the eve of the Scottish Independence referendum, FC Barcelona went down the flag route again
. Only instead of the regional, politically correct Senyera, this time the blue shorts - a risque suggestion two years ago - make the look altogether Estelada. And the meaning? Barça are wearing their call for Catalan independence on their...they’re wearing it.
Far less partisan, the half-and-half scarf phenomenon. With the lines between fandom and tourism becoming more and more blurred, the scarf nadir was hit just the other day, as the H&H’s cousin, the opportunistic preempter, reared its Jose Mourinho head
, with Louis van Gaal still in place. Sigh. SIGH. Come back, full kit w*nkers; all is forgiven.
Cardiff City went back to blue
. Never go back, they say. Cardiff have. I actually predicted that blue as a change colour would be phased out (to allow the red revolution to stop looking over its shoulder). Turns out, I was right, even if my working would let me down.
Angelo Trofa (Amadeus Angelillo on DF) released his fourth Kit Concepts book. Oh yeah, and he p*ssed off a load of people in Bolivia
who should really know better than to hurl abuse at someone over a fantasy kit. And then some team starting wearing the fantasy kit. What a time to be alive, I believe is the requisite reaction.
Irving Alberto Perez (irvingperceni) went and designed the Jamaica kits! The ACTUAL Jamaica kits. And how did he get hired for that kit design role? Romai Sports saw his stuff on This Very Site and headhunted him. Yeah, NOW you wanna finish off that design you’ve been working on and upload it, don’t you?
Umbro survived. Iconix kept them going and, as far as we can tell, they’re holding their own. There have been compromises (printed logos on the sleeves?! No no no no no) but it’s great to still have them about. They may not be considered the daddies at the minute (see below) but they’re rechecking DNA results very closely. And so they should. Let’s not forget, Nike kept on using their designs even after going all divestiture on their a*ses.
adidas only went and moved the stripes! Twice! First to that band thing on the sleeves - so cool - and then down the sides of the body! And it works beautifully. Consequently, River Plate fans have had their best consecutive kits for years, so let’s hope they’re grateful. The German company have provided us with some crackers, with embossed and jacquard watermarks, and embroidery, and, well, it’s like we’re back in the late 80s and early 90s. Particularly on that Spain Away
. A beaut. Top dogs.
However, 2015 saw the phasing out of that stripe thing on the upper back of adidas shirts. Only about for a couple of years, we reckon we found out the original plan was to have it hold wearable tech, but Wycombe Wanderers are the only team we’ve noted doing that in a game, despite it being widely predicted for Spurs when Under Armour came along several years ago. Watch this space on that...
2015 was, also, the year of the short. s. There were fadey-outy ones, and multi-coloured ones, but the cleverest thing was Arsenal having shirts with bottoms that made it look like they were tucked in, and Everton with shorts that made it look like their shirts were hanging out, even if they weren’t. Scott Parker surely doesn’t know what to make of it all.
Really, of course, 2015 belonged to The Football Attic and their countdown of the 50 Greatest Football Shirts Ever
. I mean, I was in on that action too, and Birmingham City, in its wake, reintroduced the German flag Away
, and adidas, for their part, released a whole range based on the 88-91 shirt that came out on top. That was us, that. Development period, schmevelopment period.
And so to 2016…
You probably missed this, but a legends friendly the other day
featured each player wearing a kit carrying a graphic denoting their own nation. So, look out for that: Kits specific to the player wearing them, aside from name and number printing. DF galleries have long prophesised it, and the laws of the game allow it, but will competition regulations? We shall see…
We have advertising hoardings which play short videos now, so it’s about time the shirts did. The technology’s there, so it’s time to use it. One shirt sponsor per quarter perhaps, that changes like the flicking of a TV channel? I think I may have a business idea…
And it doesn’t even involve baselayers! But they’ll be more important next year, integrating with the outer layer far more, to the extent of football shirts essentially being two-piece. Mark my words.
Nike may even go down that route with the new England kits! Because there will definitely be new England kits from Nike in 2016. Mark. My. Words.
Somehow, Brazil or Barcelona will start wearing white again. We think we know the latter’s kits for 2016-17, but that white has to creep in somehow. On the goalkeeper? In a training range? There are too many kits per season to rule out anything. Don't worry, it’ll be all white. And Brazil will surely try anything...
Finally, rainbow laces have been around for a while, but here’s my slightly crass prediction: A bisexual or homosexual player will be out and proud and kicking a ball around Premier League pitches in 2016. And the rainbow laces will have paved the way. A bit. Possibly. They look pretty cool regardless, so expect to see more of them. Except on those laceless adidas boots. Sheesh, adidas, are you part of the problem or part of the solution?.