Thursday, 2 August 2007

New Kit -a Big Joke?

Has this season's (2007/08) new home and away kits turned into one big joke? There seems to have been nothing but complications in getting it ready and released to the Argyle massive this summer.

The palaver started back towards the end of the 2006/07 season when supporters were invited to suggest colour schemes for the new away kit, this then turned into a vote on the final colour. Democracy in action. Or was it? The final colours came out as the traditional green, white, and black, along with silver and yellow. Unofficial votes saw silver as the main colour of choice. However as the the new kit was revealed in June it was to be yellow with green flashes - reminiscent of Norwich City. This took many supporters by surprise to say the least. The home kit was not up for negotiation.

Then there was the delay in announcing the sponsorship. The kit design preview drawings were released with the word SPONSOR in place of the Ginsters logo, this led to speculation about a new sponsorship deal. But when the announcement it was Ginsters again with a new deal. Now sponsorship deals are a complex process and there was probably a lot of background dealing and counter-dealings that led to this delay. But this has probably affected all the events which followed.

We are now nearly 1 week away from the start of the new season without any clear date on when supporters will be able to get their hands on them. At the opening of Centre Spot on Tuesday I was told the release will be 6 August, today - two days later - it is now being quoted as 10th August - 1 day before the new season starts!

Replica kits are a big money spinner for football clubs. Unfortunately they have also been part of merchandising corruption - with a kit costing £40 to buy the leading sports shops have been found guilty of price fixing the leading Premiership and National shirts. Even though this doesn't apply to Argyle, they have been sucked into the stance, because of Puma, that there has to be a new strip for every new season - the away shirt has been changed 3 times and the home twice in 3 seasons, with the new strips are only due to last for 1 season.

It has been a long held opinion that supporters are being taken for a ride over replica kits, and whilst Argyle have avoided the pitfalls so far, the last few years there is growing disquiet over how this part of their merchandising is being handled.

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