I see that my football team has a new away kit. Didn't we have one last year (and the year before that, and the year before that)? For the benefit of readers who do not scour the blogoverse for Arsenal-related news, here is our super Spaniard modelling said items:
So it's blue. The blue is OK. It’s a nice dark blue. As a colour, I quite like it. As a kit? It’s fine. It’s OK. No, really. I mean, I look at it and I think mid-table. I see Blackburn, Bolton, Wigan*, Portsmouth & Spurs but it's OK, I guess. Sort of. OK.
But is that how much the kit means to the club - it just has to be ‘OK’?
With all the history we have with our club colours - the cup finals, the last gasp championships, the European away wins - what I find galling is that clearly, despite all the experiments (white, blue, horizontal stripes, redcurrant, green) the fans’ favourite shirts are red with white sleeves (home) and yellow with blue sleeves (away). So why not stick with that? If we need a third kit (and actually, why would we ever, with those colour combinations) then swap the shorts over. Voila. Done. Sorted. And anyway, can you see Chelsea or Spurs having a red/white away kit? You can stop laughing now.
I know, I know, I'm being deliberately obtuse - it's all about the money. Nike sponsors the shirt; Nike gets to release a new slightly different replica kit each year and thousands will buy it, out of loyalty. I even nearly bought that one-off redcurrant one to celebrate the club's anniversary. But basically, it stinks.
Hey, I’ve an idea - why not be the first big club NOT to actively fleece the fans who put you where you are, eh? Buck the trend, challenge consensus. Arsene does it with his youth project; why not front up and try it at the *spit* 'brand' level? Pick a kit (you could maybe get the fans to choose...) and then that's it for, say, three years.
And you know what?
Everyone would buy it. I would. Everyone. Because they know that it would be worth the investment to stand alongside similarly-attired fellow supporters and not feel cheated. Part of what attracts about football is belonging to a gang; throughout history, gangs have worn clothing that identifies your lot from their lot (makes it easier in a scrap). It would look better on the terraces too; a chanting sea of red/yellow (home/away) rather than the patchwork quilt of random shirts from years gone by we currently display. At the moment, our 'look' is changing every 'season' - remind you of anything?
Proud of that much? No, didn’t think so. Think on.
* by the way, 'Wigan' was not in the embedded spell checker; I think that speaks volumes :)