After much anticipation Saints revealed their new Premier League kits last night.
The home kit is a Red shirt with white pinstripes, red shorts and red socks. The away kit is exactly the same with the colours reversed. I love them. They are simple yet smart.
So, imagine my surprise when I saw some of the outrage aimed at the new uniforms. Comparisons to Cardiff, talk of our identity being ruined and words like “disgrace”. Wow.
It is actually none of those things.
We have, on the whole, played in Red with White stripes, and essentially that is what we have got. To compare it to Cardiff whose, entire home colour has been changed from blue to red is ludicrous. Don’t get me wrong, I am not naive enough to think that some Asian marketing thought might have gone into the design process, hence why Tadanari Lee has been used in the marketing gumph, but we are still going to lineup in a kit that matches our identity.
People seem to have forgotten that we have played in kits without stripes before.In fact the clubs first kit wasn’t striped at all, as reflected in the 125th anniversary kit in 2010/11.
Starting with the 1980/81 season Saints lined up without striped shirts for a period of seven years, starting with a kit of “thirds” (white middle, red outer) before changing to solid red with white shoulders in 85/86.
Even when Saints went back to stripes in 87/88, only one half of the shirt was striped (pinstriped in fact like the new kit), the the other half was solid red.
Saints didn’t go back to “proper” stripes until 1989/90. It would stay that way until 1999/2000 when we reverted to “thirds” again, although it was the reverse to the previous stint. It was back to stripes in 2001/02 and it stayed that way until the recent 125th anniversary kit, though for a two year period between 1993-95 it was blotted by the abomination that was the Pony tick!
It strikes me that people accept the “thirds” style kits as stripes, at least I don’t remember there being outrage about them (there probably was), but not the pinstripes. Which I find odd. The thickness of the stripes is irrelevant isn’t it?
Essentially it doesn’t matter what the design is of the kit, what matters is how the team performs on the pitch. If Saints start the new season well, the lack or perceived lack of stripes will soon be forgotten. Everyone is entitled to their opinion on the kit of course, but please everyone calm down.
Our identity isn’t being stolen, it isn’t an outrage and it is no way comparable to the situation at Cardiff. It’s a football strip, and one we will only wear for a year.
Incidentally, of the major English trophies, you have to go back to 1991 for the last striped winner (Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup), the last striped FA Cup winners were Coventry City in 1987, and the last striped League champions were Sunderland in 1936!
Saints won the FA Cup in yellow and had their best league finish in “thirds”….