Tuesday, 2 November 2010

This is just madness

A word of warning: I'm about to bang on about there being yet another new England rugby kit. Those uninterested in my fumings should look away now...

As excitement builds towards the next few weeks of international rugby (and I do have genuine - although probably misplaced - excitement and expectation about England's chances this autumn) comes a rather disappointing announcement.

Earlier today the RFU announced the launch of a new England team kit - a full 14 months after the launch of the last one.

FOURTEEN MONTHS! Jeez, talk about ripping off the long-suffering England rugby supporter. No sooner has he splashed out on a pristine white new England shirt (and its monstrous purple counterpart) in 2009 and a cream coloured limited edition commemorative jersey for the 2010 Six Nations, than he's being asked to fork out another fifty-odd quid on yet another new replica. How long will this one last? Until next year's World Cup perhaps? Sooner?

The new CEO at the RFU, John Steele, had previously said that he wanted to put rugby - and not commerce - back to the top of the RFU agenda. Well, way to go John.

As to the kit itself, despite the grey trimmings I don't have any major issue with it (it is certainly not in the same league as the 2007 horrendous ketchup swoosh effort) but, whatever my thoughts on the kit's sartorial qualities, the point is that it is totally and utterly unnecessary.

Furthermore, and somewhat unbelievably, the England team will also be sporting a new 'anthracite' (that's dark grey to you and me) kit when they play Australia at Twickers on 13th November (as obviously we've been missing the fact that there's a colour clash between the English and Australian colours). Despite the advantage that a nearly black kit might piss off a few kiwis (never a bad thing),  the decision shows nothing but contempt for the English rugby paying public and no regard whatsoever for English rugby history (the colour is apparently "inspired by the thorns of the English rose" - seriously), no matter what Latin nonsense is embroidered on the collar.

I read something somewhere recently that suggested that part of the aura of the All Blacks was their all black kit (the clue is in the name). As far as I can remember (and that's quite far, I assure you) there has only been one obvious change to the All Black's shirt design - the removal of the white collar some time in the 90s - in all the time I have watched the team play. Yes, materials change and new technologies are used but the basic design - an all black kit - has remained and over the years the shirt has come to symbolise something special, and the fact that they don't emblazon the shirt with a sponsor's logo only adds to the mystique. If only other countries, and England in particular, would follow suit.

No doubt the new England shirts will sell in their tens of thousands to fans with more money than sense and who really should know better. I'd love to think otherwise, that the whole thing could backfire on the RFU and teach them a commercial lesson but, given the numbers who bought the 2007 red swoosh abomination and the 2009 purple monstrosity, I won't hold my breath.

In my book the only upsides of the new kit launch are that the purple kit appears to have been consigned to history and that the new change kit hasn't followed the example of the Sevens squad (pictured). Small mercies and all that.

1 comment:

Paul said...

England wore the orange at the Commonwealth Games where I was a volunteer. It was their game on day 2 against Samoa. The team were clearly not happy about wearing it either as they tried to trick us into believing they'd agreed with Samoa that England would wear white but when we tried to confirm with Samoa that they'd be wearing a change they weren't impressed....telling us they were too poor to have a change and to get the rich guys to change!!!