What Not To Wear – The Premier League 08/09 (Part Two)
Last night, we had a look at what ten of next season’s Premier League teams will be wearing next season. Now, it’s time to have a look at the other ten – well, nine of them at least, because West Ham United have taken the somewhat peculiar decision to leave their supporters hanging for as long as possible before releasing details of what their new kit will be. We know that it will be made by Umbro, and it’s probably fair to say that it will be claret and blue, but other than that, nothing. Still, they have already released details of what their new change strip will look like, so that will have to do us for now. Anyway, here’s the other ten Premier League clubs, starting with a club that some of you might be surprised to learn will be wearing the same as they wore last season.
Manchester United: The reigning champions will be turning out next season in the same kit that they wore last season, which means a pretty plain red shirt, with those inexplicable two white stripes down the back of them. Visitors to the Manchester United Megastore shouldn’t panic over not having anything new to buy, though. United will be wearing a brand new white and blue change shirt. What a relief.
Middlesbrough: Over the last few years or so, Middlesbrough have adopted the white horizontal stripe across the middle of their shirts as their own (it started as a nod to their comparatively successful side of the 1970s). This year’s Boro shirt isn’t a radical make-over of what they wore last season, although an almost fountain pen style flourish has given it that asymmetrical flourish so beloved of modern shirt designers.
Newcastle United: Like Manchester United, Newcastle will be wearing the same as they wore last season and this is something of a disappointment, since Adidas got this Newcastle shirt somewhat wrong. I’m drawn back to the question of how difficult it is to make a black and white striped shirt. This one has too much black on it, with none on the sleeves (apart from the obligatory three stripes on the sleeves), but it’s not as bad as their new (and frankly dreadful) purple away kit.
Portsmouth: Portsmouth, one rather suspects, have let the excitement of winning the FA Cup go to their heads. Their kit for next season, made by the New Zealand company Canterbury, has opted to eschew their usual white trim in favour of gold, and also features a new badge which celebrates their 110th anniversary. Yes, I was rather wondering what was so special about a 110th anniversary, too.
Stoke City: As with Newcastle United, the new Stoke City shirt is proof that making a simple striped shirt isn’t necessarily as easy as one may think. Stoke’s new shirt (and apologies for the somewhat stretched nature of the accompanying photograph) has one broad stripe down the middle of it, with two thinner stripes at the side. Not, I have to say, one of Le Coq Sportif’s finest.
Sunderland: Sunderland, meanwhile, have shown how a red and striped shirt should be made. This season’s shirts have been a return to form for Umbro, who have done away with much of the unnecessary fuss that blighted so many of the shirts that they have designed over the last couple of years. The only aspect of them that I would question would be the two squiggles of black at the top of each sleeve, but these are comparatively minor quibbles.
Tottenham: Spurs have been relatively well-served by Puma over the last couple of seasons, but this year’s kit is something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, blue shorts are back after a year of wearing all-white, which traditionalists like myself were always going to grumble about. On the other hand, there’s too much unnecessary blue on this shirt (particularly under the arms), and they’ll be wearing hooped socks. Ugh.
West Bromwich Albion: West Brom’s kit for this season is also supposed to be a closely-guarded secret for some reason, but at least this one has been leaked. With broad, navy blue stripes and yet more of those strange little fake collars, this one is very nice, and leans heavily on design terms on the Albion kit of the late 1970s and early 1980s, as worn by the likes of Gary Owen, Brendan Batson and Cyrille Regis.
West Ham United: As we have already discussed, West Ham’s home kit for the new season is still a secret. The change kit, however, has already been released, and the promotional photographs which accompany it do do it any great favours. It’s actually somewhat reminiscent of their change shirt from the early 1970s, as worn here by Clyde Best. If their home shirt is as nice as this, it might just be worth the wait.
Wigan Athletic: Wigan are one of the very few clubs in the Premier League to have changed the manufacturer of their kit for the new season, though Champion, an American sportwear company, are a strange choice, being probably better known for their gym wear than anything else. What they’ve come up with is a pretty standard blue and white striped design, finished off with Wigan’s new club badge and a sponsors’ logo that looks as if it has been added as an afterthought.
So, that’s the Premier League done, then. Don’t go anywhere, though, because we’ve got another three divisions to get through.