England to wear Nike instead of Umbro… and no-one should really care
ENGLAND, apart from a brief flirtation with Admiral, have worn Umbro kits since forever. However, that’s all about to change as the next England kit we’ll see will feature a Nike swoosh. All this on the 150th anniversary of the Football Association.
Of course, the initial irritation will be that England fans will have to buy yet another replica kit. Particularly galling as the newest one replaced a shirt that was only worn for eight games.
Why are England ditching Umbro? Well, they’re not. Nike own Umbro and the American giant is selling Umbro and obviously keeping some of the big names from its portfolio (Manchester City will also be wearing Nike soon).
Some people will really care about this. Of course, Umbro are English through-and-through, currently based in Manchester. However, they’ve hardly set the world alight with their kits in recent years. They’ve gone for tailored shirts which have been very, very plain. Of course, plain kits are no bad thing (nothing worse than a fiddly eye-sore or indeed, the migraine inducing Euro 96 goalkeeping shirt), but consistently low sales have not only seen JJB Sports nearly going under, but underline that people just don’t buy England tops anymore.
And why should they?
Fact is, apart from the obvious hurdles of price and relentless releasing of new shirts to buy, the fact is, they’ve been pretty bland. Wise fans have gone for retro shirts (the Umbro re-releases or Toffs jerseys of yore), which means you can still wear your colours and not worry about having to stay current.
There’s not much point buying an England jersey if it is only going to stick around for 8 games.
Of course, there’s those who will be saddened that England won’t be wearing an English brand on their chest, but lets be honest here, football is entirely about progress and sponsorships and sticking with Umbro just because they’re the only English brand knocking around who could handle such a gig is as backward as Michael Carrick’s vision.
Who cares that they’ll be wearing Nike next? Umbro has always made plain, drab kits. The last time England anything that stood out from the rest of the drab white shirts was in the mid-seventies and, yep, that was Admiral’s doing, not Umbro.
Apart from nostalgia (this writer will always have a soft-spot for the Mexico 86 England shirt, because it was his World Cup), there’s no reason to dwell on Umbro as a loss. Nostalgia is the thing that’s crippled England on the pitch and this dewy, horseshit mentality of always looking back is why England are so consistently poor.
It may seem like a small thing, but the Nike-era England might just start looking ahead rather than cowering in the shadow of 1966.