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Southampton Launch New Home Kit- But Is It Saints ?
Wednesday, 29th Jun 2022 22:10

I have to say that as a football kit I like the new Saints home shirt, but for me the problem is it might be bold, it might be brave as the launch campaign boasts, but it doesn't scream Southampton Football Club.

I know I say this every time Saints launch a kit that isn't stripes, but in football it is all about tradition, the truly iconic clubs are recognisable by their shirts, it is part of their very fabric and what makes them stand out from the pack.

Some say Southampton Football Club is about red & white and not just stripes, that is wrong, Liverpool, Manchester United & Arsenal are also red & white, but to be brutally honest if either of those clubs had launched our new home kit as their own today, their fans would be in uproar, they would be talking about tradition, the history of the club and the fact that it is not about a colour scheme it is about a shirt, for Liverpool and man Utd that means solid red and for Arsenal a solid red torso with white sleeves.

The blurb says

"the new strip takes inspiration from the jerseys worn in the early 80s by the likes of Kevin Keegan, Alan Ball, and Charlie George, but with a colour reverse. This time, a central red stripe is the standout feature, along with a central badge."

It may take it's inspiration, but it is nothing like the kit from 1980-1987, yes it is a colour reverse but now the dominant colour is white and not the red of the Keegan era.

In fact the shirt worn by Keegan et al was not even manufactured by Hummel, it was made by Patrick and whoever wrote the PR about being the shirt worn by Keegan, Alan Ball & Charlie George clearly knows nothing about the history of Southampton Football Club.

Keegan of course wore only the Patrick design during his two seasons at the Dell, Alan Ball was a legend at Saints, he played 195 League games in two periods lasting from December 1976- June 1979

His second spell was from March 1981- October 1982, this was the only time he would have played in that Patrick strip, approximately 60 games and about half of them would have been in the blue away kit.

To name Charlie George as an icon in the kit is another faux pas, George was a footballing legend for Arsenal, but not for Southampton, in his injury hit 2 years at the club between March 1979 & March 1981, he played just 44 League games for the club, half of those games were played in the old Admiral kit.

That means that he would have worn the Patrick strip just 22 times in the league and around 8 of them he would have worn the away strip.

I'm sorry but if you want to launch a new kit that's fine, but don't try and dress it up as something it isn't and get your facts right, if the blurb had said as worn by Keegan, Channon, David Armstrong, Steve Williams, Steve Moran & Danny Wallace then I could have seen the point, but whoever wrote this PR took 3 players who had been true legends in the 1970's but with Liverpool, Everton & Arsenal rather than Saints and didn't do their homework.

If there is any inspiration then it is of the Ajax kit and to be honest what have we got to do with the Amsterdam club ?

Launched under the campaign, Bold is Brave, the club say its new kit is aimed at celebrating bravery both on and off the pitch, with hopes the shirt can inspire Saints fans to be brave, whatever the challenge.

Sarah Batters, Director of marketing and partnerships at Southampton.

“Being brave is in our DNA. We’ve always looked for new ways to push boundaries and this season’s kit is no different,”

“As part of this launch, we asked players, staff, and fans what bravery means to them and in time we will be releasing some of these stories. Working with Hummel enables us to creatively push our kit designs and this shirt is no different. Celebrating our heritage with a flip on the classic 1980 shirt but modernised with nods to St Mary’s stadium and a bold central badge.”

To be blunt I have never heard such a load of old baloney !

Where is being brave in our DNA ? At least no more than any other football club, I will be interested to see what bravery means to the players staff and fans ? and even more to do so in how it relates to a football shirt design that is different to any design we have ever had, aside from the fact they have flipped the colour design of a shirt worn 40 years ago and regurgitated 4 years ago for what was just about our worst season in the top flight since 2005.

I'm sorry but the "Bold Is Brave" campaign leaves me cold, the only thing Bold about this shirt is the amount of Bold washing powder Saints supporters will go through with the constant washing needed on a predominantly white shirt.

Back in the 1970's & 80's Southampton FC & indeed many football clubs were subjected to some of the most horrendous kit designs ever inflicted on a football club, Hummel were at the centre of some of these horrendous designs, back in 1987 they inflicted the Danish half & half striped kit, universally hated by Saints fans at the time and indeed so much so that the fledgling Ugly Inside fanzine launched the Save Our Stripes campaign that successfully got us back to traditional stripes in 1989/90, now that was a kit that Hummel did get right.

Overall as i say i don't hate this shirt as a football kit, if someone told me it was the new Accrington Stanley kit or Middlesbrough's new strip i would be impressed, but it isn't Saints.

When a football fan in England sees a red & white striped football shirt walking down the street, they think Southampton, Sunderland & Stoke City, they see this shirt and then think lower league team.

I am sure this jersey will sell well, there are people that will buy all the kits whatever the design, but that doesn't make it a good Saints shirt !

Photo: Action Images

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A1079 added 22:40 - Jun 29
I find myself largely agreeing with you Nick. I am less concerned about the kit itself. I won't buy it anyway as a 60 plus year old my days of wearing football shirts have long gone. But, I am completely with you on the PR spin and baloney written on the launch of this kit.

Bold and Brave has to be one of the most ridiculous and meaningless branding tags. It immediately opens them up to ridicule. I think many fans can show them what bold and brave is and it isn't this and to be fair we haven't seen it in our team for some time.

aspensaint added 22:58 - Jun 29
Saints are red and white stripes. End of. New home kit is rubbish

AndyC added 00:30 - Jun 30
'The 1987 kit was universally hated by Saints fans'!? Not by me, I loved it.

My favourite kit was, and will always be, the 1980-1984 Patrick kit. That WAS the Saints kit when I was at an age when I started supporting Saints and started going to the Dell. My heroes wore that kit. I didn't even know who Rank Xerox, Air Florida and Draper Tools were, they were part of the kit too to my 8 year old self (the sponsor, as I latterly understood them to be, was the only thing that changed about the kit for 4 years) and I owned all of them with great pride.

The first red & white striped shirt I saw us play in wasn't until 1989, so I have never had the attachment to the stripes that some fans seem to have.

Personally, I like that our club has had a diverse bunch of kits over the years. Some of the diversions from plain red and white stripes have been great. I'd say the Patrick and Sash kits worked really well (+ as I mentioned, I loved the Danish facsimile kit) and to be honest some of the red and white striped kits have been a bit, well, rubbish.

I think it might be a bit like identifying your favourite Bond, or Dr Who. It really depends on which of the kits is YOUR kit, the one that you identify as the kit that the team were wearing when you fell in love with the team, with the club.

In addition, I have some affection for the kits that the team did well in (the all-red kits of the Pochettino sides), or that a special player had his best spell in (the Pony kit that Le Tiss got so many special goals in, under Alan Ball as manager).

If the team does well this season, maybe there will be a bit more affection for the new kit?!

PS. Do Saints fans ever run out of things to moan about??

WestSussexSaint added 07:12 - Jun 30
It looks to me that Sport Republic have applied their moneyball ethos to the kit design team as well. Employ inexperienced designers in the hope they create something that will increase in value. Well the only way that kit will increase in value is because it will be so rare in years to come because of lack of sales.

I’m not bothered that it isn’t striped I just think it is a bad effort with too much white and not enough red.

SaintPaulVW added 08:01 - Jun 30
Would always prefer red and white stripes. However, kits are only around for a year so I can never get too fussed by them. Hopefully either the away or third kit shirts will be a banger.

ItchenNorth added 08:41 - Jun 30
Love it.

Can't stand the deck hair look, but unlike your Liverpools, Man Urds, Chelsea's or any club with one colour home shirts; we can at least use the stripes to mix up our designs all the time.

Something for everyone all the time therefore, as stripes will be back, as will random designs !

Block8 added 09:37 - Jun 30
Doesn't really take too much imagination to rehash an old design tbh.
And it's pretty obvious not that not too much imagination has gone into this effort!

saintmark1976 added 09:58 - Jun 30
Not often I agree with you Nick. However on this occasion you have absolutely nailed it.

Forget about the kit itself which personally I think is awful. The bilge that accompanies the announcement highlights the fact that the management are ever increasingly out of touch with their fan base. It’s once again nothing more than presentation over substance, particularly including comments about Charlie George. Isn’t there anybody at the club who has the slightest knowledge concerning our history?

MSB added 10:28 - Jun 30
I do not like it

SaintNick added 10:54 - Jun 30
This is a reply I put on the message board

Most teams aside from the truly big clubs had a funny 20 year period from 1976 - 1996 and this is where we in the main did not have stripes in the traditional sense.

You are right in this period there have been a few periods where we havent had stripes, but they are few and far between.

The 1976-80 Admiral shirt was stripes, just not traditional, The Patrick kits from 1980-87 was not stripes and neither was the Hummel kit in 87-89, so that would be 9 seasons.

Since 1989 I would say that only 09/10 with the sash kit, 2012/13 with the Liverpool pin stripes kit, 13/14 with the all red kit, 17/18 with the Patrick style retro kit and 20/21 with the sash gain have not been stripes, so that isn't 19 seasons it's 14.

Given that we started wearing stripes in 1896, that is 14 seasons out of 126 years where we havent worn stripes of some sort, given that the two years of the sash were true hark backs to our past, we have worn stripes of some sort for around 90% of the history of the club.

I accept that we can't have the same stripes every year, we have to do what Newcastle have done and vary them from year to year, perhaps 3 years with a traditional look albeit sometimes you throw in something different as a few years back with the black upper front and a year when we go to a retro kit.

The problem is not about me, it is about a football club being known for it's kit. as I keep saying the truly iconic clubs are about tradition and not marketing a shirt each year.

We like to brag about how we gave Athletico Bilbao and subsequently Atletico Madrid, yet we don't play in it ourselves, would Liverpool play in this seasons kit or Manchester united, we all know the answer to that , the answer is that their club would not dare to do so, yet they sell more shirts than anyone.

So you are saying that Saints can get away with it because se are not an iconic club, we are just a run of the mill club like everyone else, we are sheep who fall for every marketing ploy going

Some like you are clearly that caring little for the traditions and the history of the club, yet quick to slag off the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United.

I don't live in the past, I know the shirt design has to change, but I balk at something that is just the whim of some shirt designer with Hummel and some marketing executive within Saints who knew so much of our history that they thought it inspired the club legend Charlie George a player whose career at Saints was very similar to another Charlie this time Austin, who despite all his injuries played twice as many games and scored twice as many goals as Charlie George for Saints lol

Give me a good reason why we change from stripes, but don't give me the clubs marketing ploy lol

ThereIn76 added 12:19 - Jun 30
It's absolutely hideous! The design has nothing to do with Saints. And the decoration looks like cobwebs.

I'm not totally fixated on vertical stripes, the seatbelt kits for the 125th and 135th anniversaries oozed class. But this one won't tempt me to part with my cash.

When will we have a revival of the Admiral candy stripes of 1976-80?

ssxsaint added 14:28 - Jun 30
It’s awful. Saints should be known by their stripes.
Hopefully fans will not buy it and we’ll revert to something more traditional next season.

NewburySaint added 16:38 - Jun 30
Couldn’t agree more with you Nick - I have been a supporter since August 1990 and I have bought every home shirt for myself, and latterly also my 2 children, since then except 1, but they, and myself, won’t be owning this 1!

Here’s hoping Hummel have made a better job of the away kit / shirt.

schatfield added 17:30 - Jun 30
Just buy the 2021/22 end of season sale kit instead, a bargain for 16 or 18 quid instead of 55 quid for a new one! Thats what I do each year. Just bought the lovely yellow away top for 16.50 notes!

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