By Phil Hecken
Continuing with my run of columns pitched to me during Paul’s summer vacation, I still have a few to get to — and the one today is quite in depth, and on a topic about which I know very little.
Back in July, today’s guest author, Alex Giobbi, pitched the following to me: “I saw that you were looking for ideas for a weekday post, and couldn’t pass up such an interesting opportunity. So I thought, why not do something involving Italy’s top soccer league, Serie A? Basically the idea here is to do a review of each team’s logos and kits…”
I ended the last sentence with an ellipsis because Alex (who posts as “Hodges14”) was hoping to include a ranking and voting on the unis at the end. What Alex sent me is rather long (it will be a two-parter) and in depth — I think the review of the unis can stand just fine on its own. After pitching the column to me, Alex completed it near the end of my weekday run in August, so I didn’t have a chance to get to it then. But I’m going to present the first half to you today. I think you’ll enjoy it. Here’s Alex with…
The Uniforms of Italy’s Top Soccer League
By Alex Giobbi
Buongiorno Uni Watchers. My name is Alex Giobbi (Better known as Hodges14 in the comments section) and my guest column will be about Italy’s top soccer, or as you afficionados prefer to call it, football, league.
First, the idea to guest write a column about Italian domestic soccer came to me because for the past ten weeks, I’ve been taking Italian as a summer course to bypass my college language requirement so that I can get my associates degree and get approval for a college transfer.
Anyway, let’s get started.
First, a little backstory. Serie Abegan back in 1898, although the closest form of the current league with a domestic tournament began in 1929. At the time, there were only 18 teams, as opposed to the current 20. Currently, ten of the original 18 teams reside in the top flight.
The first champion of Serie A was Ambrosiana, better known today as Inter Milan. Ambrosiana beat out Genova 1893 by two points to win the first Scudetto. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the scudetto is a patch worn by the Italian League champions. Incidentally, the first relegated teams were Padova and Cremonese, Padova currently plays in Serie B, while Cremonese plays in the Lega Pro Prima Divisione, which is the third level of Italian football.
Serie A has expanded and contracted the number of teams in the league, going as low as 16 teams and as high as 21, but it came to its current total of 20 back in 2004. Since 2010, the top three teams in Serie A earn berths in the UEFA champions league, while the bottom three are relegated to Serie B.
Let’s take a look at the teams set for the 2013-14 campaign.
Years in Serie A: 53 (Current term, since 2011-12)
Colors: Black and Blue
Kit Sponsors: AXA (A French insurance company) and Konica Minolta (A Japanese Technology company)
Atalanta BC is one of three teams that does not feature its city name in its team name. Named after the famed female Greek Athlete and huntress, Atalanta is a team that is destined to finish in the lower half of Serie A. Though they aren’t a top ten team in the league itself, they are considered one of the best non-metropolitan teams in Italy.
Atalanta has an interesting set of kits, pictured above. One of the more interesting aspects of their kits is the fact that they are one of the few teams to put their crest in the middle, rather than the left or right side of the jersey. Because they are known as the Black Blues, their home kit is black and blue with vertical stripes, similar to Inter. Their road kit is a bit more…unusual to say the least. While American sports teams are partial to BFBS, many italian teams have dabbled in Yellow for Yellow’s sake. Case in point, Napoli’s 2011-12 third jersey, Fiorentina’s 2011-12 third jersey, Parma’s third kits as of late, Pescara’s 2012-13 road kits, and so on. As you can see, Atalanta’s YFYS kit looks like a prison uniform for the visually impaired. Finally, their third kit is kinder to the eyes. A plain grey shirt with slight striping, this kit has less bells and whistles than the other two. Now, if I were to pick the jersey that I wanted Atalanta to play in, I’d bypass the home shirts in favor of the third kit. it’s visually calm and it doesn’t scream at you like the road kit.
Years in Serie A: 68 (Current term, since 2008-09)
Colors: Red and Blue
Sponsors: NGM (Italian Mobile communications company) Ceramica Serenissima (Italian interior design company)
Bologna FC, like Atalanta, has been a middle of the road club in Serie A. In a way, they are probably one of the more underrated clubs in the league. Having last won the Scudetto in 1963-64, they have one of the longest title droughts, and given the way that Serie A is stacked, it’s likely they won’t win one for a long time.
Kit wise, Bologna seems to enjoy making people cringe. Their home kit is a traditional blue and red striped jersey, with wider stripes than Atalanta. The road kit is white with the popular diagonal stripe, a departure from last year’s style of shoulder stripes. The third kit is an ugly neon green which is reminiscent of the Notre Dame Fruit Stripe basketball jersey that was worn this past season. While Bologna does adhere to the team colors, and rightfully so, they need to work on their aesthetics if they want to not be considered a fashion disaster.
City: Cagliari, on the Island of Sardinia
Years in Serie A: 35 (Current term, since 2004-05)
Colors: Red and Blue
Sponsors: Sardegna (the island which they are based), Tirrenia (Italian Ferry Company, natch)
Cagliari Calcio is one of two Serie A teams that plays on an Italian Island, in their case, the island of Sardinia. The Islanders have had an up-and-down road in Serie A, having only been in the top flight for 35 years, although they were last promoted ten years ago, so they seem to be one of the more consisted teams in the top flight. They last won a Scudetto, their only one, back in the 1969-70 campaign, giving them a 43 year title drought.
Cagliari’s colors are red and blue, a pretty common color combination for Serie A. Their home kit is divided into a red half and a blue half, with the crest on the right side of the jersey. The two sponsors, the island of Sardinia (Spelled Sardegna as that is the Italian way to say it) and Tirrenia, which is a ferry company, how obvious for a team located on an island, are put closer to the chest than any other sponsor logo. The road kit is a traditional white, and the third is a lighter shade of red. These are the 2012-13 kits, the 2013-14 kits have yet to be revealed.
City: Catania, on the island of Sicily
Years in Serie A: 17 (Current term, since 2006-07)
Colors: Red and light blue
Sponsors: Currently without a sponsor, looking to get one for this season
Calcio Catania is one of the three least experienced Serie A squads, having only been in the top flight for 17 years, but in their limited experience, they’ve had a certain degree of success. Last season, the Elephants finished 8th in the league table, their highest finish in team history. Because of their limited experience, coupled with the amount of good teams in Serie A, they have never won a Scudetto in their entire existence in Serie A.
The Elephants are fond of stripes in their kits, as seen in the publicity photo above. Their home kits have vertical red and light blue stripes with blue sleeves. Their road kits are white, but have horizontal striped on the chest and shoulders. Their third kit is just red. Each kit has the crest located on the right side of the jersey. As mentioned, they do not currently have a sponsor for their kits, but are currently looking for one before the campaign starts.
Years in Serie A: 12 (Current term, since 2008-09)
Colors: Yellow and Blue
Sponsors: Banco Popolare di Verona (An Italian bank) and Paluani (An Italian sweet shop)
Like Calcio Catania, Chievo Verona has an extremely limited amount of experience playing in Italy’s top flight, only twelve years. In those twelve years, Chievo has finished in the bottom half of the league. Chievo’s experience in Serie A has mainly been through short promotions, but as of late, the team has managed an impressive five year stay in the top flight
Kit wise, Chievo is pretty interesting. One of the few squads who actually uses yellow as their team color, their home kit is aesthetically pleasing. Chievo is a proponent of the sublimated design, opting to put part of their crest on the side of their jersey. While I liked Chievo’s 2012-13 kits, especially their road design, which reminded me of a baseball jersey, I’m not as pleased with this year’s designs. Sure, the road kit has an interesting sublimated crest, but it isn’t as cool as last year’s, and also, the third kit looks a little…Irish to me, especially, the Celtic font on the back. Still, Chievo has arguably one of the better home shirts in Serie A, even if they are a third rate team.
Years in Serie A: 76 (Current Term: Since 2004-05)
Located in Central Italy, ACF Fiorentina is one of the better clubs in Serie A. In fact, they’ve finished in the top two in Serie A a total of seven times, although their most recent scudetto was won back in 1969. Fiorentina has been in Serie A for all but six seasons, and their relegations have not been for lack of success, but rather for financial instability and/or scandal, (see the 2005-06 Match Fixing Scandal for reference). Still Fiorentina is regarded as a world class organization, and always brings up top level players who help the team crack the top five.
Despite their success and view as a sleeping giant in Serie A, and possibly Europe, their one biggest drawback is their uniforms. Fiorentina is the only squad in Serie A that wears purple, a color which Paul and many Uni-watchers have grown to despise. In addition, the team has also had some history with bad third kits, two years ago, the team went YFYS, while last year, the team opted for this disaster. Regardless, it’s tradition, and if Fiorentina continues to play well in horrible kits, especially the gray third that you see above, then let them, by all means.
That will conclude the first part of Alex’s article. There are actually more uniforms in part 2, but I tried to divide it up approximately by word count. Big thanks for doing this, and hopefully this information isn’t too out of date. Back with part 2 next time.
Guess The Game…From The Scoreboard
I’ve given up trying to stump you guys for this week, so this week should be pretty easy. Check that — very easy. All the clues are there and then some. I’ll make next week harder, I promise.
If you solve it, as a courtesy to other readers, simply LINK (go to Baseball Reference) to the game and post that link in your comment — feel free to describe HOW you solved it, using any clues you may have gleaned from the Scoreboard.
OK? OK! Post your answer (in link form) in the comments section below. Good luck.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
We begin today with Alex Manjerovic, who last week gave you his idea for the Pitt Panthers; this week, it’s 3 more ACC teams:
I did some concept uniforms for 3 teams in the ACC.
Florida State – FSU already has very nice uniforms but I think arrows on the shoulders would be a nice addition to a somewhat plain uniform
North Carolina – UNC has a classic color scheme, they dont need black or gray in any of their uniforms. I eliminated the awful alternates and the ugly chrome helmets. With them I think it is just addition by subtraction.
Duke – Unlike a lot of other schools, black uniforms work for Duke because dark blue pairs well with black. Also. Duke has a lot of nice retro logos so a sort of faux back black jersey would be a great addition to Duke’s uniforms. Also, striping on the shoulders and pants seemed a bit off to be so I added classic striping.
Thanks, Alex Manjerovic
Next up is Matt McLaughlin, who has a tweak for the Jets:
As a tortured Jets fan preparing for another fall of head scratching mishaps on the field, I figured at least the organization could integrate a couple of small changes into the uniforms so that at least the team would look a little better on the field.
Is it just me or does the Jets logo completely suck? I know some people will say it’s classic and I’d normally agree that a classic look beats a modern one any day of the week, but there really is no character to it whatsoever. Are they not the Jets? The logo should look fast and at least have some sort of jet imagery. It’s tough to integrate a plane into a logo without looking totally cheesy – I think Winnipeg actually did a pretty good job – but here’s my stab at it using some design elements from logo used in the 90’s (please forgive that it’s on the low res side and not totally clean, my photoshop skills aren’t anything to brag about).
Also, as with several teams trying to figure out what to do with their shoulder/sleeve stripes to accommodate the tighter fits we see these days, the Jets have rolled out a pretty jagged look the past several years. The solution seems pretty simple to me: eliminate the stripe where the shoulder hits the sleeve. That stripe already blends in (or at least it did prior to Nike taking over and mismatching the greens) but by getting rid of it the jersey looks a lot cleaner.
We close today with Keith Hamman who has a new look for the Seahawks:
Dear Mr. Hecken,
I have been a Seattle Seahawks fan near on 20 years now, and while you and I have disagreed in the past over certain uniform changes the ‘Hawks have made over the years (I like the green accents, and the rave green alternates in ’09 were certainly no worse than the eye burning orange unis worn by the Bears, Broncos, Bucaneers and Dolphins over the years), I do find the monotone choices Seattle has made since ’02 have become… forgive the pun… monotonous.
I took a crack at spinning Seattle’s current uniforms, and while thechanges are largely just a pants shuffle, I did give their helmet a bit of an old-school Seahawks spin. I am curious to know what you think.
Keith from Washington (the seemingly forgotten state)
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
U.W.F.F.L. Week 10 Update
By Rob Holecko
Many of the teams in the UWFFL are wearing special patriotic or camo uniforms in honor of both Veteran’s Day as well as the American military in general. As a league we salute the military and all of the things they do to keep us safe, at least as much as we last month saluted the color pink for helping to keep us cancer-free (or at least cancer aware).
But enough frivolity, in the UWFFL Miami takes on New York in a key Eastern Division battle, while in the minors many of the top teams in the PCC are in action, including Dallas, Vancouver, Anchorage and Sacramento. Two teams that have found recent success after a uniform change, Portland and Las Vegas square off, and there is lots of exciting action in the EA including the Brooklyn Uni Watchers, the Florida Geckos and the recently resurgent Connecticut Convicts, while the CL has the week off.
Be sure to check out all of this week’s action and vote for your favorite teams at uwfantasyfootballleague.com.
By Tim E. O’Brien
Thursday Night Football? More like TURDSday night, amiright?
The Ducks sported one of their better road looks Thursday and summarily got their tail feathers handed to them on a wood platter.
Oregon’s map to a National Championship: Avoid Stanford.
Oh well, the bad luck of the teams I track had to catch up to the Quackers at some point… YAY BASKETBALL.
If you’d like to help me track the Ducks, ‘Cats or Hoosiers, you can follow me at the twitters (@DuckTracker, @NUniTracker or @Hoosier_Tracker) or shoot me an email (OfficialDuckTracker@gmail.com, OfficialNUniTracker@gmail.com or OfficialHoosierTracker@gmail.com).
Keep on trackin’.
Uni Watch News Ticker: We begin today with Bruce Menard who found this completely awesome Ultra-Rare 1890s Completely Leather Football Uniform. … This article on the Cubs 100th Anniversary festivities contains several uni-worthy entires. To wit: • Home uniforms will have the “Wrigley 100” logo patch on sleeves and the side of their ball caps; • Alternative road uniforms will be gray and have “Cubs” across the chest in the style of the team’s jerseys from the 1920s; and • On Sunday home games that coincide with the decade-themed events, the Cubs as well as the visiting teams will wear throwback uniforms from the given era and the first 5,000 kids at the park will receive a “retro toy” from that decade (thanks Paul). … While Paul already covered the protest in Minneapolis in yesterday’s post, Gregory Fedio says that and this cartoon “makes me proud to be an east coast transplant living in Minneapolis.” … Longwood might be a small school, “but we deserve some love,” says Ryan Sykes. These are definitely inspired by the Lakers uniforms. … Reader Dave (no last name given) thought he saw a bunch of pajamas or leisure suits running around the Sounders-Timbers game Thursday night. … We’ve covered the NU WWP uni debacle in depth, and this Huffington Post article discusses that and other ways “we are becoming increasingly comfortable with the basic ideas of fictitious battle.” Good read. … Tom Mulgrew sends along this New York Times article on a well-dressed football coach, “Winning With Panache at North Dakota State.” … “This is from a small school in Auburn IL,” says Tony Shiffman. “Head coach likes glasses apparently.” … Whoa. Check out this photo of Ace Parker, a former Brooklyn Dodger (football) player. Matt Schudel, who sent that in and unfortunately had to pen his obituary, notes that “Before the 1940 season, he broke his left leg just above the ankle while sliding into a base. He wore a heavy brace on his leg for the first three games of the 1940 season while his leg was healing. The New York Times and other sources said it weighed 10 pounds. The photo caption accompanying the original photo, which I saw, said it weighed 3 ½ pounds.” … Good article the other day in the Wall Street Journal on “The Odd Economics of Stanford Football” (from Tommy Turner), which details the unique way Stanford finances its football program. … Ever wonder what would happen if some famous logos did a color swap? Wonder no more. … Western Michigan football players will wear a “2”³ on their helmets to honor Eastern Michigan’s Demarius Reed. … In Thursday Night’s NFL game, RGIII “honored” the military by wearing adidas’ signature cleat (from Leo Thornton). … The Windsor Spitfires have unveiled a retro jersey for their upcoming outdoor game in December. … Matt Malinoski has never seen a Brooklyn-esque semi-hypocycloid in the “B” on a 1936”“37 Red Sox road jersey before. “I know Spalding also made the Dodgers’ jerseys around the same time,” Matt notes, “so maybe it was a mistake?” … “I’m a long time Sabres fan and recently, the equipment manager for the team, Dave Williams, started tweeting some really cool behind the scenes pictures of the locker room and such,” writes Jon Dare. “One tweet that caught his eye was this –Two different Ryan Miller masks!” … What do you do after all your favorite players get traded and you refuse to keep upgrading? You do this (thanks to David Firestone). … Whoops: Matt Harris was reading the SI.com college basketball preview and noticed they used the old UConn Husky logo. … Taking the unusual step of combining Stars & Stripes AND camo, we have the Western Michigan Broncos hockey team (h/t @Biddco). … Looks like the Iowa Hawkeyes football club will be wearing S&S decals today (h/t Jeff Funck). … The South Sydney Rabbitohs of the Australian National Rugby League unveiled their 2014 home jersey (thanks to Graham Clayton). … Some Bizarre High School mascots can be found in this article. Says submitter Richard Paloma, “I’ll go with the ‘Fighting Jeeps’ right out of Popeye.” … Mark Kaplowitz saw this jersey at the Yankees store, and it “made me laugh.” … Joining the multitude of S&S decal wearing teams are the UW Huskies, who’ll wear the white helmets w/decals vs. Colorado today. … Check out this chain maille SJ Sharks hockey sweater! “This is fucking awesome,” says submitter Tim E. O’Brien. … Giles County High School in Pulaski, TN uses black yard lines and numerals because the grass is always so dead. That’s one way to make play easier. Submitter Dustin Semore has never seen that. “I would just resod the field… But I guess in rural TN you do what you can,” he adds. … “In case you haven’t seen enough corporate names,” says Jerry Kulig, “I’ve never seen this type of advertising ON the rim.” … Good spot by Steve Dodell, who writes, “I’ve seen ticker submissions about inconsistencies in the Lakers’ numbers and the Knicks’ numbers have been tweaked somewhat this year as well, after being relatively constant for almost 50 years! As seen in this comparison, last year on the left, this year on the right — they seem thinner and have a more vertical aspect ratio. Seems like a downgrade again, like the wordmark. The numbers are the same on the white, blue and orange jerseys.” … “I guess it was bound to happen,” says Leo Strawn. This camo will be worn by the Blue Jackets during warmups, prior to the Isles game tonight. … In last night’s home game against McNeese St., the entire Michigan State men’s basketball team wore lime-green socks. Asks submitter Peter Schultz, “There’s been reports of two new uniforms to be revealed this season, could one of them feature lime green?”
Whew…that’s ALMOST going to do it for today. But before we go…a quick plea: Please get a new name for your “report”. If you click on that link (I hate to link to anything to do with Bleacher Report), you’ll note their report is called “College Football Uniform Watch,” (and a good number of the twitter reposts are from me). That name is far too close to “Uni Watch” — I know Paul’s asked them NOT to use that name, but apparently it falls on deaf ears.
I don’t mind my tweets being used to spread uniform news throughout cyberspace — in fact I’m kind of honored they’re getting picked up on BR and elsewhere. But those guys really need to get a new name for their reports. So, if anyone from BR is reading this far, please, guys, call it something else, k? Thanks.
If you did click on that BR link above (the bolded one), you’ll see all the
shitty patriotic uniforms and decals that the NCAA will be sporting today. And it’s not just today — the America-FUCK YEAH! uni gimmicks continue all week and into next weekend. This is as bad as or worse than the pink. Yes, Veterans Day is Monday, so we can expect the GIJoevember stuff this weekend. But almost all month long? C’mon. There about ten billion other (and more appropriate) ways to honor the troops and vets without sullying the uniforms. And it’s not just the football guys — last night, Georgetown and Oregon played in the (now annual) “Armed Forces Classic” game in specially designed Nike camo unis (this time on a military base in Korea). You can see more photos here.
With apologies to Green Day, wake me up when November ends.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Who likes to wear droopy shit when they exercise? (Rhetorical) Women don’t at the gym. Most men don’t anymore, either. So why do ballplayers — baseball and basketball, specifically?!”