When I was a boy, the new kit launches were always exciting times. We’d often play in the same strip for two seasons back then, so getting the new kit was always extra exciting.
Then as I got a bit older, we rotated, so every year either the home kit or the away kit changed.
Pretty soon after I grew out of buying replica kits, it was every year, home, away and third kits. The common man fleeced of his hard working money year in, year out, just to keep his kids in the latest kit.
Today, Nike launched its new Chelsea home kit for the 2019/20 season to what can only be described as a negative reaction.
It seems as though the chief designers’ 3-year-old drew all over the concept images with a biro and by then it was too late.
It’s absolutely dreadful.
But what’s even worse than the actual kit itself, is the concept behind it.
The ‘jersey’ as it’s being labelled by the club isn’t aimed at your average match going UK based supporter.
And that’s sad.
It’s aimed at the oversea’s market. Bringing them ‘closer’ to Stamford Bridge.
According to the club’s press release, the ‘jersey’ is woven with inspiration from Stamford Bridge.
What an absolute nonsense.
The ‘jersey’ is a further attempt by the club to create distance from its core match going support and attract in more overseas fans.
We don’t need a shirt woven with inspiration from Stamford Bridge because we’re there, we feel it, we live it.
But because we turn up 5 minutes before kick off (or ten minutes after if you sit in the Matthew Harding Lower) and never visit the megastore, we’re not commercially attractive enough for the club to give a damn.
The average age of our season ticket holders is around 50. Most of them would’ve been chucking their hard earned money in a bucket to help save this football club.
They would do well to remember that fact.
Now I have no issue with our overseas fan base, in fact I embrace them. Their dedication to watching the team at stupid o’clock is something to be admired.
And you can see on social media how passionate and knowledgeable they are about this club (apart from shouty video man).
But one thing I was taught growing up, is never forget your roots. Never forget who helped dragged you up when you was down.
Our emergence overseas, especially America, coincided with our rise to dominance under Roman Abramovich.
The two events timed perfectly to create a mass following across the pond with supporters clubs in every major city across the US.
There’s also an official US twitter account, “magic number” Jake Cohen has a platform to write on the club website, and fancast friends across the pond London Is Blue, have been given exclusive interviews with players and coaching staff.
All this, to help bring American supporters closer to the club. I have no problem with that what so ever, but what’s being done for supporters much closer to home?
Yes, we have access to the stadium to watch games live and feel the atmosphere in real life and not through a television club.
But the truth is I’ve never felt more distant from this club than I do right now.
And that monstrosity of a kit is just another nail in the coffin.