One of the myths surrounding contemporary football kits is that the constant changing of the design is purely a contemporary invention, merely a revenue booster aimed at parting parents with their funds in order to frantically keep up to date with the latest kits for their ever-demanding babies. While the selling of replica shirts is apparently a main source of income to the clubs today, this analysis is, on the whole, an erroneous belief. Although this book takes 1980’s arguably the birth of modern sponsorship in sport as its beginning point, any rudimentary research in to football history shows that from first day kit styles were continuously changing from season to season, and also frequently from colour to colour as style developed and clubs tried to counterfeit their identity.
Today, football supporters pick to show their allegiance to their team by donning a copy jersey. The similar trend can be noticed in the professional poker scene as plenty of poker fans often wear a personalized shirt to show their support. In the 70s it was scarves, bobble hats & rosettes, but now only indistinguishable versions of the uniform your heroes wear on the field is to point out that you are a true fan. As recently as the late 80s, facsimile shirts were still not de rigueur for the hardcore football fan. It is only since Gazza led the English emotional rollercoaster of Italia 90 & the emergence of the Premier League that the vibrant polyester jerseys became more popular & filled terraces throughout the land.
The present football Team kits are very complex. For plenty of years it was purely a functional item a simple means of identifying the team. Then, of coursework, as more teams joined the Football League, change strips had to be introduced to keep away from colour clashes. Gradually, as fashion changed more in these the years, collars, V-necks, lace-up and button-up collars all came and went and came again. Infrequently, fundamental modernizations would occur, as talked about, when Hungary played England in 1953 and made the heavy woollen English jerseys look very prehistoric compared to the comparatively lightweight, sleek continental outfits.
However, in the mid-70s, when the first manufacturer logo appeared on a shirt, the vibrant uniform not only had to contain the identity of the club, but also the identity of the corporation who formed it. When Hitachi signed the first professional shirt sponsor deal with Liverpool in 1979, a third element was thrown in to the mix. Now the shirt also had to accommodate the giant logo of a third party historically in the past unconnected to the club. As someone connected with design will confirm, it is no simple job blending these identities together on a garment in such a way that each is clearly recognizable and does not clash with the other.
Throw in the away strips issue when the whole recognized outfit has to be switched to another colour (think Coke/Diet Coke) and the issue is confounded. Moreover, with the popularity of duplicate shirts increasing in the early 90s, designers also began to think about not only how the shirt would look on the field but also the way it would look off it. Yet another issue!
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