Wednesday, 23 November 2016

White With A Red Vee

The new Saints home shirt was released today and, in a stunning move the like of which has not been seen since 1994, I have admitted to actually liking it. So much so, in fact, that I may actually fork out some of my barely hard earned to buy a replica of it. You know, to wear out and about in public. Or even at the game when the maddening Grind comes around again in February. Of course, I might not need to buy it for myself since one of you reading this might consider it the ideal Christmas gift. The timing of its release is not an accident, by the way. Despite the usual howls of derision on outrage generators Twitter and Facebook about how some clubs had released their new clobber weeks ago, Saints were always going to get theirs out there in time for the annual jamboree of forced fun.

It sounds obvious, but I like it because it is white with a red vee. It’s always white with a red vee but so often the vee is littered with overly fussy sponsorship lettering or logos or, as in the case of last year’s abominable effort, is too low on the chest to resemble a traditional Saints home shirt. When the 2016 effort was tucked into the shorts the vee was barely visible at all, which just will not do. I started watching Saints in the 80’s when mulleted, moustachioed men rocked the traditional Saints look, the vee hanging low on the chest and beautifully free of any company’s clutter. Times have changed so you are never going to go back to those days of a completely minimalist design hindered only by the club’s coat of arms and/or stick man logo, but the 2017 effort is as close to that as we can expect nowadays. I want Saints to look like Saints, although older fans than me will probably offer the argument that a real traditionalist longs for a return to a design featuring a single red band. For fans my age Hull KR have cornered that particular market now.

Though I won’t be straying into Full Kit Wanker territory and purchasing them, the switch to red shorts adds even more to the new design. Very few biffs look good in shorts anyway. You should see me on my holidays, all trackie pants and t-shirts. No shorts and absolutely under no circumstances no fucking flip-flops. Flip-flops should be illegal. They are an absolute monstrosity. Really there is no excuse for them. Where was I? Oh, yes, back to the kit and the shorts. As many have alluded to the red shorts evoke memories of the 1994 kit, made by a long forgotten company called Stag and featuring a smart red vee with black pinstripes. And red shorts. Saints were a hugely entertaining if not particularly effective side during that season, the first at Saints for Bobbie Goulding who would go on to captain the team to their first league title in my lifetime in 1996. Perhaps some of that entertainment value will rub off on the class of 2017 and we will see Matty Smith morph into a modern day version of the little general, mesmerising defences with his range of passing and his legendary bombs. I know, there is more chance of Smith jumping up and down on Dougie Laughton’s car or getting involved in a race row and being turfed out of the club. Allegedly.

If there is something to moan about (and there always is in this column) then it is the away shirt. Released last week in advance of the home shirt (oh Saints, you tease….) it was met with widespread approval on social media but personally I found it decidedly underwhelming. Blue with a white and gold diagonal sash, it looks like something worn by a mid-table Premier League football team during the mid 1990’s. I made the point that if we see video footage in 20 years time of Saints playing in this shirt it will take us a good 10 minutes to work out that we are actually watching our own team. That design really could belong to anyone in any sport and for me has absolutely nothing about it which identifies it as a Saints shirt. For some that might be a good thing as they look for something different, and there is an argument that if the club is successful wearing it then over time it will become instantly recognisable, like that dreadful blue paint-splash McEwans lager effort from the early 90s. But for now it is….well…..I believe the modern term is meh……

I’m going to leave you with a couple of pictures in case you haven’t seen them and want to decide for yourself. You’ll have the time it takes the club to contact me through their solicitors to ask me to take down these images to make up your mind. About 1,000 years then since the powers that be at Saints are about as likely to read Memoirs Of A Fire Hazard as I am to turn up for work on the first day after the Christmas break wearing the red shorts.

Tweet your thoughts to me @saintbiffy. Or don’t.

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