By Jim Hearson
Say what you like about Macron – and I very much did when they took over as Nottingham Forest’s kit manufacturer – they’re not afraid of making choices. Often they’re lovely little touches that show a bit of thought, design and historical reverence, but sometimes, they’re just a bit odd. For Forest this season, there’s a bit from column A, but far too much from column B.
The 2021-22 home kit had a tough act to follow, and chooses to jump through the decades to do so. Gone are the classic late-1960s-inspired red-and-white piping on the collar and cuffs, replaced by alternating matt/gloss Garibaldi red rhomboids in the fabric that screams late-1980s, with simple white cuffs and a collar that’s white at the back, red at the front and interrupted by a subtle V-insert.
Happily, the pattern continues onto the back, which is pretty uncluttered design-wise, with COYR sandwiched between the neckline and a white triangle. Annoyingly, the back sponsor is pretty chunky, meaning names and numbers will be lower than ideal. At least on the front, we’ve managed to get another sponsor (after the previous one had… let’s say ‘issues’) that’s happy just to have simple white text so as not to detract from the shirt.
The shorts are marginally different from last year – there’s only so much you can do for white with red trim – but at least the alterations are more obvious than between 2019-20 and 2020-21, when I honestly thought they were identical. Sadly, financial necessity means that short sponsors are a thing but, again, at least a simple white square on the back of the leg isn’t too off-putting. It does kinda look like you’ve sat on a beer mat, mind.
And then the socks. How do you mess up socks? Well, ‘mess up’ may be harsh, but Macron have decided to make the top half dark red and the rest the same tone as the rest of the kit, bringing to mind a gif of one of Wrexham’s owners in a surgical gown. You know the one.
While that could be put down as one of Macron’s slightly odd foibles, the away kit is a different matter. All navy shirt with a flash of hot pink down the right flank, navy shorts and navy socks that are the same design as the home ones, but with that pink being the secondary colour, which makes more sense.
However – and it’s quite a large one – someone decided to make the Condivo-esque collar, as well as Forest badge and Macron logo, red. Red and bright pink together in close proximity on the same shirt? No, no, no, no, no. It’s just wrong. Fans have made edits with all these sections in pink and they look so much better – you have to wonder why Macron didn’t go that way themselves.
It’s not like having red on the shirt is a requirement – last season’s wonderful camo-oak leaf third kit in greys and orange certainly didn’t and looked all the better for it. It’s just a pity it’s had its time – a feeling that is multiplied hugely when you see what it’s been replaced with.
Make no bones about it – it is a horrible kit and it’s certainly not a Forest kit. It is, in fact, a Galatasaray kit… if the Macron designer saw Gala’s home shirt last season and, inspired by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s hair at the Olympics, turned the colours up to maximum.
Forest will have a grey kit this season though, and it’ll be worn by Ethan Horvath or Brice Samba in goal. It’s this year’s standard Macron template with a similar collar to the home in black to match the badges and logos on the front. I know, matching the colours together – who knew?
There’s a subtle maze-esque design embossed across the shirt that’s much preferable to last season’s spilled uncooked spaghetti pattern, which Forest had in fluorescent yellow, baby blue and, apparently, fluorescent orange. This season, the alternative kits are laser blue – not sure if that’s the official term, but I’m sure you can picture it: think the delivered-and-read ticks on WhatsApp – and, bizarrely, white with laser blue details. Why you’d have light grey and white options, I don’t know, but it’s hardly been a stellar year for Forest x Macron all round.
So, sadly, it’s an overall fail for Macron this season – the home and goalkeeper kits are lovely, but the alternative options are just so, so bad. They also leave us with the conundrum of what to wear at Luton: first and third shirts are unsuitable against orange, while our away navy shorts clash with their first choice, something that the EFL isn’t a fan of. Oh god, we’re going to end up committing to the horrendous pink/red clash by wearing our alternative red home shorts, aren’t we?