England’s New (Old) Look

March 28, 2009

lampard

In today’s friendly with Slovakia at Wembley Stadium, England broke out their much-anticipated new kits. Moving away, this time, from the pointless, weird, accented, ugly and ridiculous that have marred England’s kits over the past twenty years. Instead they went with a very clean and classic, almost Wimbledon look. I can’t say I really like the names across the back or the numbers font, but compared to what they could be, they’re not so bad. All in all, it appears rather pristine. At least until a huge grass stain is earned.


New Kits for 2009/2010 in the Premiership

March 27, 2009

I certainly can’t claim credit for these but I thought it was interesting to see the continued evolution of some of England’s top clubs in terms of their kits.

Here’s Arsenal’s away look for next year. I actually really like it. I wonder if they’ll rock the same socks they did with a similar look in 1982? Compared with this season’s away look, it’s a huge improvement, at least in my opinion. Though the ones they wore in 2007/2008 were simply fantastic.

Next is Chelsea and their curiously-similar-to-Bayern-Munich home design. I guess this look isn’t all that bad, though the zipper on front is really kind of lame. Compared to this season’s look, it’s a much more machine-like design and loses the collar.

What about Liverpool? Well this is an away kit for the ‘Reds.’ I hate when clubs wear black when it’s not part of their regular scheme, and this is a perfect example. BUT, it is so so so much better than what they’re wearing this year.

Finally, the weirdest of the bunch are the Manchester United attempts at recreating some sort of a throwback/tribute kit for both home and away. Here is the home idea. Minimalist in design but will have the new sponsor of Saudi Telecom on the chest. Obviously AIG isn’t really a viable option anymore. The away look is more specifically based on the 1909 FA Cup champions and again with the Saudi Telecom sponsorship. I have no idea if United will actually wear these kits all season or if they’ll just be for a game or two like their Munich memorial kits from last season.

If you know of any other new designs for next season, let me know.


What Have We Done to Deserve This?

March 11, 2009

I know that the NCAA tournament has become the coming-out party for Nike’s ventures into next year’s uniforms. It started (unless someone knows of something earlier) with the System of Dress that they introduced for teams like North Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse and Florida. Those looks, debuted in the tournament a few years ago, are now the semi-norm for Nike-contracted schools. Here are some other examples: West Virginia, Oregon (who have really gone overboard, surprise surprise), Arizona, Kentucky, more Syracuse, and even Oakland (shout out for Ryan P).

So what is this year’s new, big thing? A few weeks ago I brought up Duke’s uniforms with the background image of the Duke gothic on their uniforms. I guess technically they were debuted with the US Olympic team in the ’08 Olympics but Duke debuted that kind of a thing this season (though really, I guess Florida’s scales, as linked above, can count as the first attempt at this kind of thing).

That is the kind of thing we’re going to see in this year’s tournament, and if the past holds true, in next year’s regular season. Thanks to Paul Lukas over at Uni Watch we can see who will be sporting new looks for this tournament. Of course, Duke will be rocking the look already detailed before. Here are the others, at least the ones that we know so far:

Michigan State
Memphis
Gonzaga
Oregon
UCONN will also be wearing new unis but there is no picture yet.

So the preliminary review is: AWFUL. At least with Duke and Michigan State the designs are based on something related to the school. In Duke’s case it’s gothic. With State it’s clearly the sword of the Spartan mascot. But what is going on with the rest? GO ZAGS??? And Memphis, I don’t even know where to begin. Oregon we knew would probably be the weirdest but what’s up with the camo on the side and not even in the school’s colors? (Though it does look like they’ve been wearing something similar all year)

This is definitely a bad trend that I hope doesn’t extend into next year, though I’m sure it will with an even larger group of schools signing on. And my guess is that there will be two or three more schools who are actually in the tournament (unlike Oregon who is 8-22 this year!) who end up with some kind of new look.


Duke’s New Alternates

February 23, 2009

duke

I didn’t actually watch last night’s Duke-Wake Forest game but check out what Duke was wearing (above). They’ll wear the whites again against Florida State and break out the blues for the second North Carolina game. Apparently they’re supposed to be a lot lighter fabrics and some kind of breathable mesh that’s supposed to improve performance. It’s all part of the Nike scheme of course and is sort of based on the USA basketball unis worn in the 2008 Olympics. The design is a depiction of the gothic look that is pervasive on Duke’s campus.

This is a trend that I really hope does not spread, whether through Nike or otherwise. And honestly, it’s not because Duke did it first. I actually don’t mind what Duke did because it’s kind of a vertically based scheme that isn’t overwhelmingly obvious or annoying. But I can just picture what other schools or NBA teams would do with this kind of a concept, even if it’s just for an alternate. I’m afraid it would turn into slightly backgrounded versions of those ridiculous baseball turn-ahead-the-clock unis from the late 90s. Not the futuristic part but just the huge logos.


What Gives with the Super Bowl Logo?

January 29, 2009

logoPaul Lukas asked a good question on the Uni-Watch blog the other day about the Super Bowl logo being used this year. Why does it feature so much green and blue? The logo clashes pretty badly with the Cardinals‘ red uniforms and just looks kind of cheesy with the Steelers‘ (especially because they always have a chest patch, so adding a second one starts to look like NFL Europe). Which leads to a larger question, why isn’t the logo tailored to the two teams involved in the game instead of just being generic? Can you really say it would take more than the two weeks between championship games and the Super Bowl to color coordinate a logo to the appropriate teams?

In this vein, the New York Times put together a pretty cool slideshow of alternative logos made by different graphic designers from across the country. Some of them are really fantastic, like the one pictured above. Some of them are downright odd or have nothing to do with the Super Bowl. But either way, take a look and let me know which one you like best.


LA Gripe

December 26, 2008

Yesterday the Lakers ended the Celtics’ 19-game winning streak on Christmas Day at Staples Center. Big win for the Lakers and I guess a small measure of revenge for the NBA Finals loss back in June. But what kills me is that the Lakers continue to wear those awful white uniforms. Yesterday was a perfect opportunity to see a good, clean uni-match up between Boston’s classic green and LA’s classic yellow. Boston did their part and wore their very classy green and white looks. They could’ve worn the terrible green with black disasters they have but it was a nice treat to see the regular set. But the Lakers blew it and wore the dopey whites. I know all teams go through different phases with their uniforms and colors but this should’ve been a showcase of the two most classic clubs with the most classic unis.

Anyway, the good news is that the Celtics finally lost and we can now finally stop hearing so much about how they’re going to challenge the ’95-’96 Bulls‘ record of 72-10. Those Bulls were 42-3 at the All-Star break, probably the most amazing basketball statistic outside of Wilt Chamberlain‘s averaging of 50 points per game.


Barça Continue to Save the World

December 15, 2008

mes

Barcelona, long the last major club to go sponsor-less in terms of uniforms, have added a second logo (beside their Nike swoosh and club crest) to their kits. The MÉS logo has been added just under the neckline to go along with the unicef brand across the chest. MÉS is a partnership with Barcelona, Nike and UNHCR (the UN’s refugee agency) to “bring sport and education to underprivileged youth and refugees around the world.”

As with the unicef logo, Barça is trying to raise awareness and money for humanitarian aid and charities. All of the MÉS products (not just the uniforms themselves but all other apparel) are made from 100% organic cotton and the ink for the logos themselves are soy-based.

Similar awareness and humanitarian concerns have been raised at Aston Villa with their acorns shirts this year. Perhaps this will be an increasingly prevalent phenomenon going forward instead of clubs (particularly in England) falling back on sports bookmaking houses or online casinos for their sponsors.


Red Sox Get in on the Act

December 12, 2008

It would seem that every major league team is doing some tweaking to its uniforms this off-season. One of the most classic looks (apart from those dreadful red alternates) is being altered, for the worse in my opinion, as the Red Sox have introduced an alternate hat, new away uniforms and new home and away alternates.

First, the hat. So so stupid. As Rusty correctly pointed out, hats with logos are ridiculous. But this is especially ridiculous. It’s being made almost specifically for that absurd niche that already wears outlandish baseball caps. I like the logo, just not on the hat.

The logo does look good as a sleeve patch. Boston’s new away unis are kind of a throwback to a 1980s style, though not quite, as you can see. I don’t really like the look because it’s too simplistic. No outlining of numbers or names and no piping. Looks like it was made for a local softball team or something.

Now to the alternates. The blue away alternate honestly doesn’t look all that bad, though it does really resemble a spring training or batting practice look. Paired with the new hat it looks like a joke though. The new red, home alts are even worse than they already were. By removing the piping, these just look like big, red pajamas. Awful.

Anyway, I don’t really see the point in the changes. I understood when Baltimore and Washington made changes earlier because they were correcting inaccuracies, inconsistencies or invoking tradition. This is just change for marketing and merchandising’s sake. Which is lame.


Spurs Ruin Debut of New West Ham Shirts

December 8, 2008

whufc

Sporting shirts with a new sponsorship, West Ham United were not able to muster much of a game against superior Tottenham in a 2-0 defeat. Ledley King headed home his first Spurs goal in three years on 68 minutes and Jamie O’Hara finished the job with a rocket in the 89th minute.

The three away points are important for Spurs as they continue to try to climb out of the terrible hole the dug to start the season. Now in fifteenth position on 18 points, Tottenham have passed even West Ham and are only behind Man City on goal differential.

As for the shirts themselves, they looked mostly like another cover-up job. While there was a logo, obviously important for the club financially, the really looked like shit. I suppose there wasn’t much they could do but cover up the current shirts until next season though.


Kentucky Looks Awful

December 8, 2008

UK

These are the uniforms worn by Kentucky, at home, against Mississippi Valley State over the weekend. I know UK has a history of donning odd, strange and terrible uniforms (including the regular blue and white versions of this checkerboard pattern) but this was really ugly.

As an aside, yes, you can look forward to yet another uniform-related post this afternoon when West Ham and Tottenham kick off the Hammers’ new shirts.


Army’s Weekend Attire

December 8, 2008

army

I forgot to bring this up over the weekend but the Army-Navy game featured some interesting uniform choices. I don’t want to spend too much time on Navy though here are a few views of their new look. There were elements of the Marine Corps uniforms (the real ones) incorporated into the traditional Navy look making for a kind of hybrid uniform.

On the Army side, a completely different outfit was trotted out for the annual rivalry. This is what Army used to look like. This is what they wore on Saturday. The corps of Cadets was decked out in what almost looked like actual Army gear.

The game was a complete blowout as Navy destroyed Army 34-0. We’ll see if either team continues to wear these new unis going forward or not. I was happy to see that they kept the different company patches, something each branch has done for a while now. I honestly didn’t mind the new looks (or the fact that Nike was the driving force behind their development and implementation). I wouldn’t really be that interested in seeing it too often in the future, but for a one-time thing, it was pretty cool.


This Really Looked Good

December 6, 2008

colors


Color Commentary

December 5, 2008

colors

This weekend is the annual Southern Cal-UCLA football game out in Los Angeles. The game alternates between the Rose Bowl and the LA Coliseum, two of America’s most famous sports stadia. The two schools have a classic rivalry, are both great academic institutions and carry traditions back through the decades. So why does re-instituting one more tradition get people so riled up?

This week, Pete Carroll announced that USC would be wearing their home, red uniforms while UCLA, the actual home team, will be wearing their home blues. What’s the big deal? Well the NCAA actually has a rule stating that away teams must wear white. So in order to have a color-on-color game, Southern Cal will have to forfeit one timeout in each half.

Now, this is not a match-up that many people expect to be particularly close so I don’t think the extra timeouts will be that big of a deal for USC. But the fact that they’ll be penalized at all seems like a joke. Prior to the 1982 season, every match-up between USC and UCLA had both teams wearing their home uniforms. Carroll is trying to bring back some of the old school rites that made this game such an interesting one over the years.

As someone who thinks way too much and way too often about uniform choices, I applaud the decision. Who cares about the timeouts. They know they’ll have less going into the game so they can safe-guard against having to use them and game-plan accordingly. But uniform traditions are, I think, really important to sports. Look at how stupid the Detroit Lions or Chicago Bears look when they have ventured away from their traditional looks. There are certain teams and schools who have storied pasts that really matter and the longer they stick with their famous uniform designs the better.

A good example of this is when Ohio State slightly altered their uniforms a few years ago. The entire state of Ohio was up in arms over a slight variance in the sleeves of the new uniforms. That’s how people should think when it comes to weird or alternate uniforms.

So, I’ll happily tune in to see the blue-red game on Saturday. And if Southern Cal ends up losing because they don’t have an extra timeout to bring on a kicker at the end of the game, I won’t feel sorry for them. They’ll have still made the right decision in my book.


Finally a Resolution for West Ham United

December 4, 2008

sbobetAfter three months of sponsor-less uniforms, West Ham United will finally add a new sponsor to their shirts. West Ham host Tottenham Hotspur on Monday at Upton Park and will be wearing their newly adorned SBOBET shirt. SBOBET is an online bookmaking site licensed on the Isle of Man. Apparently the arrangement will also allow for increased awareness for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research in that the junior level and youth teams will wear shirts with the charity logo.

Interestingly, the club will allow fans to replace their old XL.com shirts for new ones free of charge. Hopefully the new-look kits will not use the same font as the above logo.

When the club debuts the kits on Monday, I’ll post photos.


Quick Beef with Oregon

November 17, 2008

UO

I’ve been opposed to, though not vocally critical of Oregon’s attempts at creativity and uniqueness in their football uniforms over the past few years. But this is a new low. I guess it’s kind of strange that no one has ever done something similar before but still, the wings on the uniform are just terrible. They also introduced a new helmet with a matte finish. I really don’t have a lot to say about them except that I hope they don’t make this a usual part of their uniform.

Actually, here’s a good poll question: which is worse, Oregon’s wings or Oregon’s man-hole covers?