By Phil Hecken, with Mark Emge
[Quick note: please make sure to scroll down to vote in our Best Home Uniform In Major League Baseball Poll immediately following the EPL post–PH]
The EPL (that’s the English Premier (soccer) League), is a pretty big deal across the pond, and even here in the States. And the since the EPL season is kicking off this weekend, I thought it might be a good idea to check out the uniforms (what they call “kits”) of that league. Although I know almost nothing about European or English footy, there are many UW readers who do. As such, I’m joined by Mark Emge, who has agreed to give us the rundown of the uniforms for the upcoming season. So with that, I’ll turn this portion of the post over to Mark, who’ll take us through the 2010-11 kits:
EPL Uniform Breakdown
courtesy of Mark Emge
The 2010-2011 English Premier League season will be starting on August 14th and I have been given the honor of providing a brief overview of this season’s kits. Just to clear the air from the start, I am a yank, a Midwest yank, raised on baseball and apple pie, although soccer was also the first sport that I ever played. I fell in love with the EPL eight years ago after the 2002 World Cup and have slowly started to embrace everything English. Strangely enough I’ve even started to appreciate British humor.
You will need to forgive me as during this overview I will be mixing my British and American vocabulary. I’m sure Brits will gringe as I flub proper football terminology, and Yanks will get upset when I call uniform sets “kits”. I am strangely caught between two worlds, afraid to call futbol, football for fear of being arm tackled, and afraid to call it soccer for fear of being kicked in the nuts.
In an attempt to avoid any type of bias, I’ve compiled this review by addresses teams in alphabetical order. Also, since not all teams feature a third jersey or “alternate”, I will not cover them unless they do something particularly unique (ie. Chelsea).
Arsenal: The Arsenal home kit features a return to their traditional white sleeves. For supporters, this is how Arsenal is supposed to look. The home kits previously featured white stripes running down the sleeves and sides of the shirt. The Arsenal away/change look will take some getting used to. The gold shirt featuring burgundy pinstriping is paired with burgundy short and pinstriped socks.
Aston Villa: Aston Villa will be featuring a new jersey sponsor for the 2010-2011 season, FxPro. This new sponsor doesn’t effect the look and feel of the kits as the club’s previous sponsor was only featured for the last two years. Along with this new sponsor, Aston Villa is adding some checkerboard side-panels and a black away jersey. The checker pattern works well on the home shirt, but looks oddly out of place on the change jerseys.
Birmingham City: During the off-season Birmingham City featured an online poll to decide the team’s new home shirt. Design-wise there seems to be quite a bit going on with this kit, but I tend to think that the elements work well together. The change kit features a much cleaner look. These kits will be Birmingham’s first with the Chinese sportswear company Xtep. The team’s previous kits were produced by Umbro.
Blackpool: This club was promoted to the Premier League after finishing 6th in the Football League Championship and winning the play-off final. From what I can see it seems that Blackpool will be featuring a different jersey sponsor for its home and change kits.
Bolton Wanderers: The Bolton Wanderers are one of the few teams whose uniform manufacturer is Reebok. They are even a stadium sponsor for the team. Bolton’s home kit seems very similar to their uniforms from year’s past with only minor tweaks, one of which being the large Reebok logos on the shoulders. Their change kit is much of the same in blue.
Chelsea: To the relief of Chelsea fans, the club has ditched the Adidas Manssiere jersey template and have moved toward a more classic look. The new home shirt offers a small hint of red in the collar and sleeves, just enough to fire up their supporters. I rather like this shirt, and the red even seems appropriate since red is used as a highlight color in their crest. The officially released images of the change kit give the impression that the entire kit is black with orange highlights. But other images make large portions of this shirt look gray. I’m curious how they look during game-play. I was relieved to find that this was not Chelsea’s third jersey, but that relief was short-lived when I came to find that this was.
Everton: Thankfully the retro V-neck shirts from last year did not carry over into the new season. They have been replaced with a solid blue shirt for the home kit. Last season’s “hint of brilliance” did light a spark with their supporters. As a result Everton has decided to create an eye-searing, hot-pink shirt for the change kit.
Liverpool: Liverpool will be featuring a jersey sponsor other than Carlsberg for the first time since 1992 as Standard Chartered becomes their new sponsor. This is one instance where the jersey sponsor has become synonymous with the club. Many supporters say that the team doesn’t look like Liverpool without Carlsberg. The home, change and third jerseys look sharp enough, and it won’t take long before they are fully embraced.
Manchester City: The home kit features a very subtle change to the powder blue shirts as the white color is moved to the sleeves. The change kit features some rather interesting socks (birthday present for Paul?). Thankfully Manchester City will continue to use their third jersey from last season, which is a throwback to the clubs of the 1970’s. I love the alternate kit. I wish they wore it more often.
Manchester United: The red devils will be featuring a new jersey sponsor this season as AIG was replaced by AON. The white-collared home kit looks sharp, but the change kit looks to be a disaster. Nike has added an odd lightening bolt pattern to their goalkeeping jerseys this season and it seems that a variation of this detail has carried over into the Man U. away shirt.
Newcastle United: After spending a season down, Newcastle United are back in the top flight. Perhaps it was last year’s horrendous yellow kits or the bad press that Adidas received from Newcastle supports, but the 15 year marriage between Adidas and Newcastle has come to an end. The club’s new uniform provider is Puma. The home, away and third jerseys all look great, and let’s be thankful that not a one is yellow.
Tottenham: It is rumored that this will be the last year that Tottenham wears Puma. As a final hurrah, Puma has developed a throw-back uniform for Tottenham’s home kit. I’m not sure if it’s Puma’s affiliation with the WPS here in the states, or the diagonal lines, but this uniform impresses me as a women’s jersey. The away and third jerseys seem strong enough. Tottenham is also featuring a new jersey sponsor having switched from Mansion.com to Autonomy.
Wigan Athletic: Wigan’s home kit has moved away from the repeating blue and white stripe pattern and will feature a racing stripe pattern that, unfortunately, will continue onto the shorts. Wigan’s jersey sponsor is 188 Bet, the same sponsor as the Bolton Wanderers, which can make for some interesting viewing when the two teams play.
Terrific job on that, Mark. Thanks!
MLB Home Uniform Poll
created by Uni Watch Pollster James Huening
“The Yankees have the best uniform in baseball!” I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before. Most admit, the pinstripes are iconic and even those of us who hate the Yankees have gotta admit it’s a pretty good lookin’ uni. But, is it the best in
the universe all sports baseball? Maybe, maybe not. It’s time for the Uni Watch readership to weigh in on that.
It’s been a while since we had a poll on Uni Watch. This one is a two parter. We’re going to ask you to tell us who has the Best Home Uniform In Major League Baseball. For this first round, which we’ll call the “elimination round,” we’re going to ask you to select up to TEN uniforms you feel are the BEST home uniforms in the bigs (you don’t need to select ten, but you can). From that, we’ll take the top nine vote getters, and resubmit them to you in the second round, at which time, you’ll be asked to vote again — for the best uni from the nine finalists. Based upon Uni Watch reader preferences, we will declare the team with the “Best Home Uni” in baseball. You may click on any picture if you require a closer look at their home uniform. Simple, right? Of course it is. We’ll keep the poll open through next week and then be back with the final nine. OK? OK!
Big thanks to Jimbo Huening for creating the poll.
Well, that was…colorful
The San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates had the opportunity to go brown versus gold yesterday, but alas, the Pirates chose to go with their too-narrow Pinstriped tops and black pajamas. I don’t get it, except for Andrew McCutchen, it appeared all the Buccos wore PJ’s (although Zach Duke
tried to pull a fast one attempted to replicate hosiery, ending up with a huge two-in-one fail instead). When they played the A’s earlier this year, everyone went high cuffed and wore proper stirrups *Sigh.* And, regarding the pinstriped tops, it’s really not that difficult to get them correct (and why the hell haven’t they worn them with pinstriped pants as a throwback?). They’ve been screwing up the jersey for years, as pointed out so eruditely by Bill Henderson. Ah well, throw out the inaccuracies (ya know, because it’s all in good fun right?), and it was quite the uni-tacular. More pics of the game can be seen here.
That will do it for today — I apologize there is no ticker, but any submissions already sent to me will be put into Monday’s ticker. Feel free to post any “breaking” news or time-sensitive stories in the comments below. Big weekend for those of us who are football (the American kind) fans, as the preseason finally gets underway — don’t forget, the Colts are scheduled to break out their 1955 throwbacks on Sunday.
Have a nice Friday the 13th. Ek will take you through the weekend — Have a great one everyone!
The myth is that you put a Yankee uniform on a player and he becomes great. — Birdie Tebbetts