[Editor’s Note: Paul is on his annual August break from the site and will return in September. Daily content is continuing under the direction of deputy editor Phil Hecken, who’s running the site this month.]
By Phil Hecken
I’m pleased to present to you today the first of two (very) comprehensive reviews of the new EPL kits for 2015-16. When I put out the call for readers to pitch articles to me during Paul’s sabbatical, one of the readers who answered the call was Anthony Emerson, who asked if he could do a preview and grading of the forthcoming EPL kits. Since I’m not a soccer guy (although I’m finding myself watching more and more), I wholeheartedly agreed to Anthony’s proposal.
Here then, is Part One (for all images, click to enlarge):
Grading Premier League Kits 2015-16, Pt. I
By Anthony Emerson
Kit supplier: Puma (2nd season)
Kit sponsor: Emirates (10th season)
Arsenal sport classy kits this year, their usual red and white home number is stylized with a polo collar and a button-down placket in the front. The Puma logo appears three times, once on the chest and once on each sleeve. The Arsenal badge itself appears to be made of that “flex” material that the recent Super Bowl and World Series patches were made of. There’s not much to complain about here; while the red striping on the sleeves and the white swooshes under the arms seem superfluous, I think it gives Arsenal a nice modern look and I think it’s an improvement over last season’s dreadful home kit. Not sold on the collar, however. Overall: B+
The change kit is an attractive metallic gold with navy features. A sublimated diamond pattern makes the kit appear to be patched together at first glance, but I like the way it looks.. The Puma logo again is on the chest and both sleeves. I love this kit, I think it’s absolutely gorgeous…unfortunately, it doesn’t look that way on the pitch, which is the only place it matters. The gold gets dulled by the players’ sweat and turns a muddy brownish color. Not good. Overall: C
Arsenal also has a third kit that is, as of now, unreleased.
Kit supplier: Macron (4th season)
Kit sponsor: Intuit (1st season)
Villa’s traditional claret and blue looks particularly stunning this season, with classy striped cuffs and collar. Macron’s logo appears on both sleeves as well as the chest. The only negative aspect is the intrusive Intuit QuickBooks sponsorship logo, and the only thing that keeps Villa’s offering from getting an A. Overall: B+
Villa’s away kit is equally classy, with eye-catching yellow and black. Macron’s logo again appears on both sleeves, and Intuit QuickBooks’ logo again subtracts from an otherwise gorgeous kit. Overall: B+.
Kit supplier: JD Sports (1st season)
Kit sponsor: Mansion (1st season)
Bournemouth’s first ever season in the top flight of English football will be experienced in this rather unspectacular, but certainly not ugly kit. Bournemouth’s usual red and black stripes and scoop neck evoke a traditional look. JD Sports’ logo dominates both sleeves, and when the Premier League badges are added beneath them, the sleeves will look quite cluttered and unsightly. The Mansion logo’s colors fit in with the Cherries’ overall color scheme, but it appears JD Sports played it rather safe with Bournemouth’s inaugural Premier League kit. Not bad, but not great. Overall: B.
Bournemouth’s change kit this season will be carried over from last season, save for the Cabrini and Energy Consulting logos being swapped for JD Sports and Mansion. I’m curious to see how Mansion’s logo will look on this kit, as it will impact whether I give it a D or an F. I despise (most) gradients on football kits.
Pinkwashing comes to England! JD Sports pretty much took their template for Bournemouth’s home kit and painted it pink. Keeping the Mansion logo red was also a bad move, as it creates a headache-inducing color cluster. Overall: F.
Kit supplier: Adidas (10th season)
Kit sponsor: Yokohama Tyres (1st season)
Chelsea first kit in a decade without electronics giant Samsung on the front, Chelsea is now sponsored by tire giants Yokohama. The worst part of this new sponsorship deal is Yokohama getting to add their intrusive “Y” logo in addition to spelling out their entire name. Downgrade from just “Samsung”. I dislike the collar as well…either go full collar or don’t. Chelsea’s kit also has sublimated pinstripes, largely invisible on the pitch. Overall: C+
Chelsea’s change kits is white and evokes their classy 2013/2014 kit. The crest is monochrome blue, which makes you wonder why they even bothered with that because most people won’t notice the difference anyway. The Yokohama logo fits in more with this kit, probably because it’s not surrounded by dark blue and there are red elements in its immediate vicinity. I don’t like the unequal striping on the sleeves, though. A pretty good effort for a change kit. Overall: B
Chelsea also has an all-black third kit coming, as of yet unreleased.
Kit supplier: Macron (2nd season)
Kit sponsor: Mansion (1st season)
Crystal Palace and Bournemouth share more than a league this season: they also share a sponsor and, seemingly, a kit, as both clubs have thick stripes with a scoop neck. I can hardly blame them, though, it’s a classy look. Like with the other Macron kits, the logo appears on the sleeves. I couldn’t find any great pictures of the kit with the Mansion logo on the front, unfortunately. Overall: B+
I adore this kit. Evoking Paris Saint-Germain, but decidedly putting their own Palacian twist, this kit will look absolutely stunning on the pitch. It’s simple, elegant and timeless. Overall: A+
Kit supplier: Umbro (2nd season)
Kit sponsor: Chang Beer (11th season)
Umbro is the latest manufacturer to join in on the “let’s put our logos on both sleeves” crowd. Anyway, Everton’s home offering this year is decent, but I don’t get the point of having a fake v-neck. Either have a v-neck or don’t. Stupid. Overall: C+
Hooped sleeves create a unique and not at all unpleasant look for Everton’s away offering. Hard to find anything to complain about in the design, as white is always striking on the pitch. Overall: A-
Everton seem to have been inspired by hunterswear, with bright orange accents on a military green shirt. It’s a color scheme not often seen on the pitch, and while this comic-book inspired announcement image is certainly nice, I’ll wait until I see it on the pitch to make a final judgement: Overall: B (subject to review)
Kit supplier: Puma (4th season)
Kit sponsor: King Power (6th season)
The biggest change for Leicester it seems is the new King Power logo; no longer with a strange “K” mark, King Power has simplified their logo, and Leicester City’s kits are better for it. The actual kits are nothing to write home about, as it almost seems like Puma forgot about Leicester and just put their crest on a blue shirt. Overall: C
I feel like we’ve seen this before. Yes, it’s Arsenal’s (in)famous diamond change kit design, here in black. Again, I like the idea of it, and I’m pretty sure it won’t turn an ugly brown color a-la Arsenal’s gold. Overall: B
Kit supplier: New Balance (1st season)
Kit sponsor: Standard Chartered (6th season)
Liverpool put out a classy design this year, with a sublimated checkerboard pattern that gradients into pinstripes. A gold “96” bordered by flames in memory of the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster appears above the player’s name, as it has for several years.The rest of the kit is pretty conservative, no gratuitous striping like last season’s, nor does the New Balance logo show up on every conceivable surface. I don’t entirely dig the collar stripes, but it’s not enough to diminish the kit. Overall: A-
New Balance also plays it conservative for Liverpool’s away kit. The all white is broken up by a red faux v-neck collar (stupid) and red stripes on the sleeves that scoop up towards the shoulders on the back (also stupid). If New Balance continued with the conservative streak and toned down the collar and sleeve stripes, it would’ve been to this kit’s benefit. Overall: C+
New Balance wraps up Liverpool with a classy all black kit, with a sublimated hoop design. The traditional color works well, and while I dislike the shoulder stripes and it could use just a touch more red, it’s a well-done kit overall. Overall: A
Kit supplier: Nike (3rd season)
Kit sponsor: Etihad (7th season)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Three years ago, Nike sponsored three of the five largest clubs in the league, plus a few smaller ones. Now, it’s only City. Nike’s sole kit for the Premier League is solid if unspectacular. Worth noting is that City’s returning to radially arched NOB’s, as opposed to the straight that we’ve seen in recent years. I like the collar, and the return of City’s traditional white shorts is certainly welcome, but Nike’s insistence of putting City’s crest inside of a badge continues to piss me off for some largely inexplicable reason. Overall: B
Here is where Nike goes full Swoosh. While it’s hard to see in that image, Nike has added a moon motif to each of the sleeves. Yes, I’m serious. And it’s a shame, too, because I like the rest of the kit! The midnight blue with electric blue accents is gorgeous, and it would easily be one of my favorite kits of the season if it weren’t for that damn moon motif. In case you’re wondering, “Blue Moon” is one of City supporters’ favorite chants, and a blue moon is visible on the scoreboard. Still. No. Overall: F
Kit supplier: Adidas (1st season)
Kit sponsor: Chevrolet (2nd season)
Adidas’ inaugural United offering evokes the classic strips of the 1980s, the last time Adidas outfitted Manchester United. The three stripes will take some getting used to by United fans (it’s been 25 years since they were last featured), but add a nice bit of color to United’s usual all-white shorts. Chevrolet’s gold logo continues to be an eyesore on the front of the kit. The thick white cuffs on the sleeves seem superfluous. Overall: B
White and black, per usual, make up the base of United’s change strip. The red three stripes again add a welcome bit of color to this unsurprisingly drab offering, the v-neck the only bit of style. I do like the white socks though. Overall: D
While I’ve tried to hold this piece to kits that have been officially released, I had to share what is certainly my favorite shirt of the year: United’s 3rd. This is the best of United’s kits, and should be the primary change kit. All black with a sublimated design evoking one of United’s most famous change kits (and the last under United’s previous deal with Adidas), this will look striking on the pitch and stylish on the fans. Overall: A+
OK — that will do it for Part I — big thanks to Anthony for his preview & grading. What say you, Uni Watchers — do you agree, disagree, or are you somewhere in between? Let him know below. Be back with Part II later.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
I usually run this feature on the weekends, but since I’m running the show during Paul’s sabbatical this month, I’ll probably (or at least as long as guys submit to me) run these once a week during August. Got several today, all from Bruce Menard.
Click any photo to enlarge
~ Walter Johnson & Son Play For The Dr. Pepper Team (Washington, D.C. – August 9, 1938)
(Wire Tag) “The Big Train Still Packs ”˜Em In – Walter Johnson, coach of a local team representing a beverage manufacturer (Dr. Pepper), takes his son Eddie, left, a student at the University of Maryland, to one side to give his instruction in the game where Johnson won his fame as the Big Train of the Big Leagues. Eddie plays with his Dad’s team when not at school. 8/9/38”
~ Mickey Mantle & Joe DiMaggio Reminisce At Old Timers’ Day (Yankee Stadium – August 9, 1969)
(Wire Tag) “Stars Of The Past ”“ It must be a moment for reminiscences as Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, fables stars of the Yankee days of glory, get together Saturday on the steps of Yankee Stadium dugout prior to annual Old Timers Day.“
~ Casey Stengel Has His #37 Retired By The New York Yankees (Old Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium – August 8, 1970)
~ Sparky Lyle & His New Puppy “Little Spark” (Yankee Stadium – August 8, 1972)
(Wire Tag) “Lapping It Up – Sparky Lyle, New York Yankee relief pitcher, is presented with a dalmatian pup for the great job he has been doing as the Yank’s top relief artist, during pre-game festivities at Yankee Stadium, Tuesday. Lyle entered the game with Detroit in the seventh inning and went on to get a victory, his fourth, 4-2. He has also registered 24 saves thus far this year.”
That’s it for today. Great job, Bruce!
for the Ticker
Got a really cool e-mail from Ferdinand Cesarano over the weekend, and it’s just chock full of goodness. It’s simply too good for the ticker.
I have attached the only latter-day picture I have ever seen of Willie Mays in a New York Giants uniform.
I don’t want to overstate things, but the New York Giants have been popping up in various forms lately. There was the rehabilitation by the New York City Parks Department of an outdoor stairway located in High Bridge Park at Coogan’s Bluff near the Polo Grounds site. The stairway had been completed in 1913, and was built by New York Giants owner John T. Brush, who died a year before it was done. It was refurbished with the help of contributions from all the existing teams that had ever played at the Polo Grounds: the Yankees, the Mets, the football Giants, the Jets…and the baseball Giants!
Dig this quote from Giants’ president Larry Baer: “The San Francisco, formerly New York, Giants are very proud to join in the restoration of the John T. Brush Stairway. Our team remains deeply connected to our New York roots, and the stairway will forever serve as a reminder to all Giants fans of our rich history and the many Giants greats who played at the Polo Grounds.”
“The San Francisco, formerly New York, Giants”. An absolutely beautiful acknowledgement of the continuity of the franchise.
The Giants have always been great at acknowledging their history. They long ago put Mel Ott’s and Christly Mathewson’s names alongside the club’s retired numbers. And they have brought the World Series trophy to New York after each of their recent World Championships, each time characterising the trip as visiting the club’s former home. Larry Baer said in 2010: “Toward the top of our list, after winning, was doing something for our fans in New York.”
Here is a shot of a New York fan enjoying the 2012 trophy.
The club recently gave a new 1954 World Series ring to Monte Irvin, whose original had been stolen. Here’s a shot of Baer making the presentation to Irvin, joined by another Giants executive, Bobby Evans.
The most surprising thing occurred during a recent trip to Lids, I was pleased to see at least five different kinds of New York Giants caps there. In fact, they had more New York Giants caps than Brooklyn Dodgers caps — and this Lids was in Brooklyn!
The fact is that the New York Giants as a cultural phenomenon in the City peaked in the 1890s through the 1920s. The Giants stopped being a big deal in New York when Babe Ruth started hitting home runs in the Polo Grounds for the Yankees, helping them to outdraw the Giants in the Giants’ own ballpark (which cheesed off the Giants so much that they kicked the Yankees out). The Giants didn’t have as much cultural cache in New York as the Brooklyn Dodgers during the teams’ last several decades in New York; and, since the teams’ moves to California, the Giants certainly haven’t become a phenomenon of nostalgia anywhere near to the extent that the Dodgers have.
But the history is evidently not entirely forgotten. We should note that a major sporting-goods retailer stocks so many varieties of New York Giants caps only because it thinks that it can sell them. And the heart is warmed to see the Giants organisation itself playing a big role in creating these conditions, and acting to keep the history alive.
Thanks, Ferdinand! Great stuff.
OK. Now, onto the ticker…
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Here’s a good article on baseball managers wearing uniforms with some interesting observations from Buck Showalter, an analysis of the sartorial stylings of Bobby Cox and even a Seinfeld reference (from Patrick O’Neill). … You may recall Cameron Maybin wore quite a high set of stirrups last week. The reaction was swift and severe: Apparently MLB won’t let Maybin wear the stirrups he wore anymore; Braves beat writer Dave O’Brien responded, then took a shot at pajamaists (from Michael Rich). … “The Blue Jays are still using a shot of Justin Smoak wearing #14 on their promos on Rogers Sportsnet,” notes Dave Feigenbaum. “He gave it up to David Price and is now wearing #13.” … Trying to break out of a slump (or so the thoughtline goes), the Twins wore red Batting Practice jerseys Friday & Saturday. They won Friday, but got their asses kicked on Saturday. … When you play on artificial turf do you really need a groundskeeper? Yes, yes you do (from Cassian Wykes). … “With the Braves making good use of the trade system within the MLB, an Atlanta fan had a pretty clever shirt,” (thanks to Dustin Semore). … Saturday night, the Akron Rubber Ducks wore old style Browns’ jerseys (from Mike Neely). … Tweeter Rich Miller found his old collection of Dairy Queen mini helmets. Sweet. … The Detroit Tigers will be having a TBTC game, and here’s the cap they’ll wear. Submitter “Fuck School” isn’t certain of the date. … Wow, check out this old Vancouver Mounties jersey, with quotation marks! (from Dan the Baseball man); further research shows this was only worn for a few years in the mid-60s. … As pointed out by many, the As have really been inconsistent in their sock/stirrup colors/patterns this year, but none works worse than these horrible 2-in-1’s with cuffs pulled up the knee. There were apparently 4 different socks/stirrups worn Saturday. Yesterday, as noted by Richard Paloma “Brett Lawrie’s choice for today — looks like two-in-ones but I could be wrong. Regardless, given that Billy Burn has ‘A’s’ logos on his, this adds to the plethora worn this weekend.” … Over the weekend, the Kokomo Jackrabbits had Margarita-themed jerseys (from BLRMKRdave). … “New Nats T-shirts provide a chocolate syrup shower without the mess,” (according to Scott Allen). … This is kinda neat: the State College Spikes wore Jerome Bettis HOF jerseys yesterday (h/t David Gutting). … Here’s a great chronology/evolution of the Pittsburgh Pirates logo (from Todd Radom). … We’ve had several pics of MLBers in what appear to be different shades of gray, but this Birmingham Barons set definitely appears to have mis-matched shades (via Josh Claywell). Must be on a Minor League rehab assignment. … 58 yrs ago (on August 8th) the Dodgers announced their move from Brooklyn to LA. Here’s where they got their “LA” cap logo (from Todd Radom, sent in by Brinke). … Psst. Wanna see some photos of the 1969 Mets?
NFL News: “Ever see the (NFL 50) patch below the number?” asks Brinke. “Has to be pre-season 69.” … A Kansas City Chiefs fan has decorated a toilet with logos of the Chief’s AFC West rivals (from Aaron Husul. … “How BOUT dem Cowboys?” asks Brinke). … Think you know everything about the Pittsburgh Stillers’ helmets? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. … Lions WR Golden Tate wore a wrestling mask during practice warmups (thanks, Mike). … At yesterday’s Military Appreciation Day, the Eagles went with camo-themed jerseys, including the red, no-contact one (via Jeff McLane, Bleeding Green Nation and Mike Tilley, respectively). … Here’s a wonderful old shot of the Cowboys and Cardinals from the 1960s (from Super 70s Sports). … If you weren’t aware, Alvin Wyatt had a very oddly shaped facemask. Reader Aaron Hosul writes, “I had seen this Helmet Hut classic mask on UW before but here are some screenshots in action.” … As always seems to be the case, the HOF field (HOF game was played last evening) seems to have a plethora of lines and dashes (yes I know high school and college teams play there, so that’s why). Also, get used to seeing gold “50” yard numbers this year. They’ll be at every stadium (in celebration of Supe 50). … RIP Frank Gifford.
College/HS/Other Football News: Like a number of schools, now Miami has made a move to sell more generic jersey numbers. … Have you ever asked, why do all of Marshall’s wide receivers have a yellow stripe down the middle of their helmets? Me neither, but now you know. … A Barnes & Noble in Ohio is selling Ohio State jerseys that feature a curious placement of Ohio State’s eighth championship Buckeye leaf. … Jimmer Vilk will surely hate the Manvel’s squad’s white-on-white football uniforms. … The Arena Bowl XXVII logo has been released. Mike adds, “Looks kinda amateurish, right?” … The St. louis Post-Dispatch has an Illinois High School obscure mascot slide show gallery. Says Iggy Blissful, “I love the Hoopeston Cornjerkers.” … Magnolia High School here in WV will apparently be using the Navy helmet with an M on it this year (via Coleman Mullins). … Whitmer High School, where David Hamen works, released their own uniform reveal video. ” They unveiled 12 different combinations using a Navy, Maize, and White jersey that can be paired with a Navy, Maize, White, and Grey pants.” … Here’s a first look at THE Ohio State University’s new training camp helmets. … Check out this beautiful 1971 Auburn vs. Alabama game program (nice find by PressRoomGFS). … These UNC Tar Heels jerseys show a name font that is in none of the fonts in Nike re-branding (Carolina Bold, Champion, Franklin Gothic), from James Gilbert. … Johnny had this in yesterday, UW, but…Um…the Oregon Ducks 2015 football magnet schedule is complete with glow in the dark uniform elements (from Matthew Robins). … Bowling Green’s switch from adidas to Nike requires MAC patch over Adidas logo on practice jerseys (from Noel Blaha). … Utah Football asks Did U know our new Utes have to earn the drum and feather on their helmets? … And while some guys have to earn their stripes/logos, other schools put on a black stripe and make you ‘lose’ it. … Hmmmm — will this end up being the Ohio State University BFBS uni? (via Timothy Gilliam).
NBA News: Here’s a great look back at the Atlanta Hawks’ jerseys throughout history. … Whoa! Check out these “wild unis from the ’40s. Submitter Phil Lawson didn’t provide any additional details, but those are…wild. … Also from Phil, check out this old Keds ad. … One last one from Phil: “Chuck Taylor from the 40s”. … No list of terrible 70s mascots is complete without the Sonics’ Wheedle, who “looked like a badly disfigured Muppet,” according to Super 70s Sports. … Here’s a first look at the new Milwaukee Bucks’ uni (from Shane Cox).
Soccer News: BBC Sport made interactive page documenting the statistical history of the current 20 Premier League teams after the date of your birth (from Saurel Jean). … Man United’s Memphis Depay is wearing #7, and has his first name on the back of his jersey (thanks to Brian Mazmanian). … According to Clint Richardson, the Auburn ladies have added an orange version of the Northwestern stripe slash uniforms introduced last year. … Here’s a look at Nebraska’s new soccer kit tops (via Eric Leach). … Ooops — Red Bulls player Felipe suffered a pretty brutal pants rip yesterday (nice grab by Matt Harris). Here’s another look (from Diego BauzÃ¡).
College Hoops News: Here’s a first look at Virginia Tech’s new basketball court with the Carilion Court sponsorship (from Andrew Cosentino). … On Friday, a fresh coat of paint was reapplied to white portions of the Smith Center court floor (h/t James Gilbert).
Grab Bag: The jumper worn by the Australian rules football team of St Patrick’s College, Ballarat has vertical stripes on the body and horizontal stripes on the sleeves, notes Graham Clayton. “As an aside, every player appears to have their socks pulled down, rather than pulled up towards their knees.” … Wales’ new rugby World Cup kit has been revealed. … From trailers to tents: NASCAR changes souvenir merchandising (from Tommy the CPA).
Phew! That’s going to do it for this Monday. Big thanks to Anthony for the EPL preview/grading and Bruce for the colorizations, and to everyone who submitted for the ticker by e-mail or Twitter. Catch you guys and gals tomorrow.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“R.I.P. Frank Gifford”