After weeks of rumours and expectation, Southampton Football Club finally revealed the kits that the players will be wearing in the forthcoming Premier League season.
To some surprise, and to certain amounts of revulsion, they unveiled a predominantly red home strip, and an accompanying white change strip, marketed mutually under the motto “red and white army.”
The home strip consists of a red shirt, with white and grey paired pinstripes, red shorts and socks (with white trim), whereas, the away kit is the reverse, white with red pinstripes, and red trim.
The biggest bone of contention amongst fans is the home kit, gone are the traditional broad red and white stripes, and in come pinstripes, a design that was popular in the 1980’s, and made a brief comeback as Nottingham Forest’s first Premier League kit in 1992.
However, it is the omission of our historic black shorts that have got a few fans incensed, and this change is the first change in shorts colour for sixty-two years (the 125th anniversary sash kit excepted, which being a throwback kit was never going to have black shorts). Of course some will say that we have not always sported black shorts, as previous to that we wore Athletico Madrid style dark blue ones, but you would have to be in your seventies to remember a Saints team that took the field sporting those.
Personally I would not be averse to seeing those make a comeback in the future as a one-off, but I don’t know, red shorts, they just don’t seem right somehow. Saints traditional colours are red, white and black, not all red with a hint of white, and this kit has seen comparisons being made with not just Nottingham Forest, but also Liverpool’s kit of the mid-eighties.
A predominately red strip just doesn’t suit the Saints and the whole thing just looks like kit manufacturer Umbro had run out of ideas, in fact I’m wondering what exactly went on in their design department, did a young member of their design team, find an old Nottingham Forest or Liverpool design template down the back of the fridge or something?
Young designer: Hey guys, I found this old Forest kit design from 1992 whilst cleaning behind the fridge.
Design team: That’s great but we’ve already designed Forest’s kits for this season.
YD: Damn! I know we haven’t designed Southampton’s kit yet.
DT: Aren’t they red and white stripes though?
YD: Well this sort of has white stripes on it, oh and we are out of black shorts!
DT: No worries, we’ve got some red ones nobody wants, chuck them in with it.
YD: They need an away kit too!
DT: How about we reverse it, you know, white with red pin stripes?
(Everyone looks at each other and nods in agreement)
DT: Brilliant, well that’s that done, who fancies the afternoon off?
Of course we have had some non-striped shirts in the past, but as much as the saying goes that, “a change is good as a rest” I can’t help but feel that this could be the sign of things to come. With us ditching our customary two year kit change, and instead bringing out two kits each year, alternating between a version of our time-honoured red and white stripes, followed by a Monty Python kit (something completely different).
I just get the feeling that maybe as this is our first Premier League season for 7 years that we should be wearing our well known broad red and white striped kit, but I guess in the long run, that the sales figures will tell us if the club and Umbro have made a mistake.
At the end of the day, some people with love it, and some will hate it, and you can’t please all of the people, all of the time.
Personally, I don’t care too much for the home kit, and the away kit is nothing more than OK, but at the end of the day, we have nothing to complain about compared to say, Cardiff City fans, and the best part of our kit is seeing the Premier League badges adorn the sleeves after years in the football wilderness, and at least we don’t wear blue!