Calm Down! Calm Down!
by, 01-07-2012 at 07:29 PM (1770 Views)
“Hang on, since when did you support Liverpool?”
“Had no idea you supported Forest mate.”
The responses of two friends who recently saw the latest Southampton home kit. Yes, the all red one.
Oh my, people are clutching at straws saying it's not all red... to be fair the white pinstripes are thinner.
The initial sales of this strip seem to have been extremely positive, therefore any negative reaction to the shirt is sure to be largely forgotten by the decision makers at the club. This sets a dangerous precedent though, because in my opinion and I'm sure I'm not alone in expressing this.... the new kit is an affront to our history and identity.
Firstly, to those that say 'it doesn't matter' well, it obviously does to many.
My recent news article highlighting the shirt launch on SaintsWeb reached single figures shy of 2,000 views in just 50 hours. News of our record signing on the other hand attracted only 892 in over three weeks. People care about the shirts we are wearing and how the club will appear while playing.
Point 2. 'But we played in a different shirt type, not stripes during our most successful season.'
Yes, you are right, we did play in something other then red and white stripes in 1984. We had the simply wonderful 'Rank Xerox/Air Florida' kit. A shirt that shared a proportionate amount of both red and white. There was also the excellent Sash kit for our 125th Anniversary, a kit that was unique in the modern era but reflective of our history. This isn't about stripes. This is about tradition and colour, and not just of the shirt, which takes me onto....
All red, all white. Why consign half of our identity to a kit that won't be remembered next season?
Point 3. "But we wore an essentially all red shirt in the mid 80's. It is reflective of our history."
Ok, not that I liked those kits but yes, it reflects a time from our past.... but a time when only the shirt was mainly all red. During this period we played with Black shorts and White socks, staples which have remained constant in the modern era. We have never played in an all red kit; red shirt, red shorts, red socks. It is not Southampton.
I had got used to the idea of playing in a red shirt since the very accurate early leaks of the kit design surfaced in late May, yet I was no way expecting the all red home/all white away design philosophy. Playing devil's advocate I can see what they were trying to achieve there... but it simply doesn't wash with me. They are simply kits that reflect the identity of clubs other then ours.
Cloughie would be proud.
Any change is bound to be controversial but this is a bit much, even for my usually forgiving tastes. I do also have sympathy for the notion of 'well, if that was the attitude we would never have changed to stripes back in the 1800's in the first place!" Yet in the 1800's there certainly wasn't the ingrained identity of many generations of fans and the established tradition of the club's colours, the Sash had meaning, the Sash was genesis. This is alien.
The proof of the pudding will be while watching us play next year.. But even when we were playing in my beloved sash I was still wishing we were back in the stripes as early as November.
Nigel Adkins' 'Red and White' Army.