New things which challenge the accept conventions are always treated with a level of suspicion, fear or outright indignation.
The reception of Paris St-Germain’s link-up with Nike sub-brand Jordan for Champions League kits and associated leisurewear hasn’t all been negative – the reported sales figures are speaking louder than any outcry, anyway. However, some of the reaction we have seen has certainly quibbled with what people see is an erosion of the Proper Way To Do Things.
We’ve always considered ourselves traditionalists in terms of kits – and squad numbers – but we can see why this new development has taken place. We’re not the target market and it’s certainly not going to bring about the beginning of an implosion of the sky.
Let’s deal with a few of the criticisms.
It’s just about the money
Of course it is and it always has been. As our friend Simon Shakeshaft put it,
Barcelona had a dedicated European kit as far back as 1994, so it’s not a new phenomenon.
The colours aren’t traditional
If we were in charge, teams’ Champions League kits would be in the same colours as their home strip, like that Barcelona kit above or Manchester United’s 1997-99 outfit in which they won the competition.
Olympique de Marseille have gone away from tradition with their Champions League kits in the past, while Bayern Munich haven’t been averse from it either, albeit generally only in the group stages.
The PSG kit would be nice in navy, red and white, but black isn’t a huge leap from navy and the vertical stripe, made up of a lot of circles, is identifiable with the club.
Pleasingly, the change kit is a reversal of the home, which is always nice, while the red goalkeeper strip follows that design, too.
The colours of the crest have been changed to match the non-traditional kit
Arsenal in the 1969 league cup final, their first season with a yellow and blue change kit.
What’s Michael Jordan’s link with football?
Michael Jordan is of course a former basketball (and baseball) player, but he is also a businessman. It is his brand rather than the man himself which has the link.
René Lacoste was a tennis player, but that hasn’t stopped golfers from wearing polo shirts with his famous crocodile brand on them.
Speaking of golfers, Arnold Palmer was a pioneer in terms of maximising his brand, beyond golf too. He gave his name to a new drink which combined lemonade and iced tea and, in Japan, Arnie Arnold Palmer has become a must-have clothing marque among young women.
As recounted in Ian O’Connor’s book Arnie and Jack, when Palmer heard about he was big in Japan, he suggested to his advisors that he make a visit there but they firmly rebuffed that, fearful of the negative impact it might have if the target market realised that the name behind the brand was a man getting on in years.
Why is there a basketball player on a football kit?
It’s unsurprising that Jordan would use the so-called ‘jumpman’ as its logo.
The reason BMW has a roundel with blue and white quadrants as its logo is because the company orginally made aeroplanes and that was a simplification of the view of a pilot as the propellers turned against a blue sky – the colours doubled up nicely as those of Bavaria.
Likewise, while some people may actually read Playboy for the articles, nobody does so for the rabbits.
How can PSG have Nike-branded kits domestically and Jordan-branded kits in Europe?
Technically speaking, Uefa’s competitions exist in a vacuum, which is why we sometimes see players having to switch numbers for Europe.
The logo is essentially advertising space – they’re not bothered by what PSG have normally, once it complies with their regulations.
Why is there a basketball players on a modified PSG crest on some of the new off-field gear?
Well, we know why – the resemblance to the stylised Eiffel Tower also a factor – but justifying it is another matter.
It’s the one aspect of the situation with which we’d take issue, but this is the nature of the beast.