It was today confirmed on Everton’s official website that the club’s ‘revolutionary’ new away kit will be launched on the 3rd June, and given that the word “revolution” is presented in pink, it seems to confirm the long-running rumours that the Le Coq Sportif strip will again prominently feature a colour that has little or nothing to do with the club’s heritage. Whether or not the strip is indeed the supposed ‘leaked’ shirt from last week, I cannot agree with this.
While I’ll admit that pink isn’t my colour, and so I dislike the concept on a personal level too, my main issue with their insistence on producing pink away shirts for Everton Football Club is that it disregards our history and tradition purely in an attempt to make money. A clubs colours should not be trifled with so easily, we have a long tradition of blue, white and amber, and I for one hanker for a return to the good old days.
Indeed, it is somewhat bizarre that Le Coq Sportif are on the one hand so keen to replicate the classic jerseys of the 1980’s as they did with last season’s homes shirt – a tribute to the 1985 home shirt – and are rumoured to be doing with next season’s home shirt (which may see the return of the iconic ‘bib design’), and yet when it comes to the ‘change’ strips they are apparently so desperate to break with the club’s tradition. What was so wrong with the grey or amber shirts they made in the 80’s?
The answer, is nothing. They were good shirts. However, ever since Umbro’s inspired and highly commendable ‘breast cancer’ shirt of a few seasons ago – when they manufactured pink versions of the then home strip with profits going to breast cancer research – the club and it’s kit suppliers seem unable to relinquish what they apparently regard as a goldmine of new commercial revenue streams.
Put simply, the female fans of Everton loved the pink shirt. It sold in massive numbers, and that was brilliant because the profits were going to an extremely worthy cause. That was brilliant, it made me proud to be blue, and even, proud to be pink. However, it’s different when the money isn’t going to charity. The club’s away shirt last season was black and pink, and any money from those shirts went to the club, to the manufacturer, and to the distributor.
This season, if the leak is to be believed – and they’re rarely wrong – will be even worse. Instead of subtle pink trim, Le Coq have apparently decided to follow in Umbro’s footsteps and release an entirely pink shirt. The difference though, is that this will be a playing strip, and none of the money from sales will go to charity. They’re hoping to sell truckloads of these pink shirts to the club’s female – and more liberal-minded male – fans, and they don’t care what the traditional supporters think.
I am one of those traditional supporters though, and I’m not happy. I think that our away shirt should always be either white or amber with blue trim. Those are Everton’s colours. Yes, we’ve flirted with other colours in the past – even salmon – but these have been rare divergences, and usually unwise ones. Looking back through the history of Everton’s kits – as you can do here (home) and here (away) – three colours proliferate, and that is for a reason.
While it is true that the early days of Everton Football Club saw the team wear a number of different colours that eventually became black with a red sash, the colours of Everton have remained consistent since about 1901, when the royal blue was adopted. The club’s earlier white shirts then became the away colours, and remained so until the late 60’s when amber was used and became popular. Since then, and through our most successful period – the 80’s – white and amber have remained our colours.
Colours are important to a club because they connect us with our past. Everton are a proud old club, founding members of both the football league and the Premier League, the first team to play 100 seasons in top flight English football, and English champions nine times. Throughout that history, we have had our colours. Our fans’ memories of our club’s great past are linked indelibly with our colours. Our great future too, should see us wearing our colours.
Pink is not one of our colours. To see Everton running out a Blackburn or Chelsea next season will not feel like watching Everton. It will be as if Palermo have suddenly joined the Premier League. Pink is not a colour that is associated with Everton Football Club, and it is not a colour that the fans can connect with or can proudly wear to show their support for our club. While of course the most important thing on a shirt is te club crest, no true football fan could honestly say that they don’t hold their colours dear.
If this pink shirt were to be a money-raising shirt, that would be different. If, like Umbro, Le Coq Sportif had manufactured this shirt to raise awareness and money for breast cancer or any other good cause then that would be fine, in fact, that would be brilliant and I would support it whole heartedly. But that is not why this shirt will be pink. This shirt is pink because they saw that a pink shirt was popular with certain sections of our support, they saw it make a lot of money for charity, and they wanted in on the action. That’s not OK.
And it’s not even a good move, financially speaking. I live in NZ now, but I had a season ticket at Goodison for 12 years, and I know that very few of the hardcore fans that I saw there in that time will buy a pink shirt. Whereas previously the dominant blue in the stands was frequently punctuated by white and amber, now there will be much more blue, and very little pink. Very few of the real fans will buy a pink shirt because a pink shirt is not an Everton shirt.
And these are the fans that would buy every Everton shirt. I have most of the Everton home and away shirts dating back to 1995 but I don’t have last season’s away shirt nor will I buy this season’s pink one. Sure, lots of women will buy it, some guys will buy it too. But ultimately, they will lose out on sales because the hardcore fans who would usually buy both shirts will now just buy one. Basically, a pink shirt will be a novelty, and novelty value is not long-lasting.
So I hope that the pink shirt is an absolute failure for Everton. I hope no one buys it, and I hope it costs Le Coq Sportif a shit load of money. I hope that it will be a disastrous experiment and that next season we can get back to seeing Everton playing in Everton’s colours, at Goodison and away. Before then though, it looks like we will have to endure a season of humiliation. Of wearing a hideous, ridiculous, inappropriate shirt that means nothing. Thanks Le Coq Sportif, for tarnishing the colours of a great club.
Have your say:
Would you be happy to see your club lining up in a pink shirt? Am I putting too much weight on the colour of a shirt? Leave a comment below…