So, like saying nil, pitch, and manager instead of zero, field, and coach, kit is one of those annoying soccer-lover words. Saying kit, you feel like more of a Brit-apologist than you normally would in following the EPL. But it’s also one of those words superior to the American variant. And it wonderfully rhymes with a descriptive four-letter word that’s become very useful in analyzing this year’s offerings.
It’s like Taco Bell’s R&D folks — who presumably pass a giant bong around a conference table before coming up with gems like “The Fourth Meal” and wrapping a tortilla around a taco shell and serving substandard meat inside it — suddenly infiltrated Nike headquarters and said, “Yo, we have ideas.” And then other kit makers had ideas. Including Warrior, which is now actually making EPL kits, based on a resume of making lacrosse and hockey gear, and probably unitards.
Here are some of the kits teams are actually making their fans consider buying (after the jump):
The Tablecloth (ManU Home Kit)
The folks at Nike, in their blurb answering the obvious WTF line of questioning about the new gingham tops, said that the jerseys harken back to Manchester’s mercantile roots. (Translation: Nike went way, way back for inspiration.) The jerseys even have a motto on the inside along those lines: “Forged in industry, striving for glory.” Picnic glory, maybe — it looks like you could throw a spread for a family of four right down on Wayne Rooney. Maybe Robin van Persie listened to the little boy inside him after all, and that little boy said, “Dress me in a tea-towel.”
The Kreuger (Arsenal Away Kit)
Speaking of van Persie, it’s almost as if he and Song got together and said, “No way we’re wearing that. Let’s demand transfers now.” Van Persie only had to wear this for 20 minutes in the end-of-preseason friendly against Koln, whereas Song actually is memorialized in the photo campaign (which also features Szczesny paying homage to Ralphie’s Christmas morning bunny PJs from “A Christmas Story”). I’m an Arsenal fan, so I’m probably going to be buying one of these bad boys, but I can’t imagine Purple Reign (yes, they’re going with the Prince reference here) lasting more than one year. But then again, there could be a sequel — after all, the design inspiration for what I’m calling Kreugers is no stranger to sequels:
Seriously. Purple and black. (Though the Stoke game showed that there’s much more to talk about when they’re drawing 0-0 in those colors, as opposed to drawing 0-0 in their home reds.)
The Yoke Job (Liverpool Away Kits)
Warrior made these, looking to Liverpool’s maritime history to create possibly the most dreary, dreadful, making Steven Gerrard look even older uniforms in the EPL campaign. The only thing funnier than the yoke-style collars on the away black unis (which haven’t gotten an EPL workout yet, but likely will on Sept. 15 at Sunderland) is the new slogan, “We come not to play.” I think this is meant to mean, “We come to work,” but reads more like, “Yeah, we’re not showing up today.” I think I might be a subtle shoutout to another Liverpool outfit — the ultra-’80s Frankie Goes to Hollywood, whose answer to Andrew Ridgeley’s role in Wham! U.K. was Paul Rutherford, who was credited in the liner notes as “vocals and I come to dance.”
Yeah, okay, Liverpool. Come not to play then.
The ’80s Nightmare (Aston Villa Away Kits)
What is this shade of green? Neon green? Curie radium experiment green? Area 51 green? Chartreuse or lime or whatever the Aston Villa communications team is trying to go with doesn’t quite make it clear how … glowy this is.
According to the Aston Villa site, actually, “The away shirt presents a vibrant lime colour with navy blue details, giving it a playful yet stylish design to symbolise a bright new era under the management of Paul Lambert.” Yeah, it’s vibrant. On the bright side, it will make Darren Bent easier to spot when he’s in striking range. Unfortunately, it’s Darren Bent. (On a related note, not quite a bright new era so far.)
The Blatant Ripoff (Fulham Away Kit)
Because coach Martin Jol is Dutch, and because Fulham needs to do something to distract itself from the Clint Dempsey soap opera, they’ve gone for Halloween colors in a nod to the most disappointing and dysfunctional team at this year’s Euros. They’ve even gone with a slogan of “Oranje is het nieuwe zwart” (“Orange is the new Black”) to make it clear who they’re paying homage to. Maybe mid-table is the new black? No, actually, they’ve been wearing that one for a while.
And This One Is Sharp, Actually, But It’s The Other Blatant Ripoff (Swansea Home Kit)
We should have seen it coming — they’ve ripped off Real Madrid for their centenary uniforms, and they’re at the top of the table two weeks in, with a goal differential of +8. It’s like they’ve got C-Ron and Ozil playing for them. And look how happy they looked even before the campaign started. At this rate, they’ll be celebrating goals like this by Week Four.