Jesus Christ, what the f%&@ is that?!?!

3 07 2011

I was casually looking at the internet yesterday and I found the new England goalkeepers’ shirt;

If you’re wondering about the lower sleeves;

“The lower part of the arm on the goalkeeper shirt are also crafted with the specifics of the player in mind, with a tight kit offering articulation and compatibility with goalkeeping gloves”

It’s good to know that during the innovative design process they managed to remember to make a goalkeeper’s shirt compatible with the basic equipment of goalkeepers.

I thought Umbro were doing really well with their “Tailored by Umbro approach”; Man City looked classy, Wales looked stylish, even Northern Ireland looked smart in their rugby league-esque creation. Then they go and produce something like the new England goalie shirt. The last something I saw something that horrific was 1996;

Or as David Seaman saw it;

The red kit from the Semi-Final of Euro 1996. I had worn it before, the one with the stripy socks that made it look like I had two packs of refreshers on my legs. I remember before Euro 96 we were in the line-up for the national anthems and it was the first time I wore it, and I looked down the line and two of the opposition players were laughing at my socks. I was fuming. And then after the game a reported asked me what I thought of the kit, I said: “It’s shit!”

You might think there’s something about England’s goalkeeper jerseys  but it’s not just them. This picture features a Welsh kit from 1995;

In fact Umbro had an ignoble record of design horrors in the mid 1990s. Chelsea……



Are Umbro returning to the bad old days? I thought they were doing the right thing as they were producing clean, crisp and sharp designs. They even employed Peter Saville to design the present England shirt.

This was a brilliant step in good football kit design. Peter Saville is a great designer. He was  a partner in Factory Records and he produced some of the best record sleeve designs in music history, as well as other fantastic work;

He sounded a bit like this;

So why did he design the present England kit? Well he puts it like this;

 “…Football shirts are not about anything – this was about ‘something’ and it’s reach is massive. But I didn’t see how it could go the distance.”

The “this” that was “about something” was the addition of multi-coloured crosses on the shoulders;

The multi-coloured crosses were an attempt to use the shirt as  “a vehicle of cultural provocation“;

“It’s beautiful but it’s very loaded,” Saville claims of the design. Taking the cross of St George and rendering it in a rainbow of different hues is, he says, about acknowledging difference and promoting tolerance of those differences. “I was frustrated, along with many others, by the marginalisation of the cross of St George. It has acquired connotations that some of us don’t associate with and I find that frustrating because there is nothing wrong with it as a symbol. [The design] is a provocation. It’s not negative, it’s not aggressive, it’s not critical and I think it feels like England 2010. This is a country of lots of different people, get on with it.”

It’s the little things like that show the “Factory Spirit” – Subversion –  lives on, unfortunately I’ll bet the point was lost of England’s less intellectual fans. I’ll bet they thought the shirt was “a bit gay” because of the little detail.

Anyway why this slightly in-depth discussion about Peter Saville? Well it seems he doesn’t just design striking and iconic images, he designed the new England Goalkeepers’ kit as well.

Jesus Christ!




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