A kit can be iconic, it can bring back joyous football memories and one which we never needed reminding of. It’s what happens on the field when the players wear that jersey or just a reminder of that moment in time, nonetheless it stokes your memory.
Think of the iconic Dutch 1988 kit, which was worn in their successful Euro campaign that very same year. They were the bookie’s favourite for the tournament and any football betting person would have backed them after seeing their squad of superstars line up. Netherlands are far from favourites to win the World Cup this year at 12/1 but when we see that iconic jersey we will never forget that Marco Van Basten volley or Ruud Gullit’s hair.
Professional footballers have been somewhat dehumanized by society as a result of the constant media scrutiny and their astronomical wage demands. Established players like Harry Maguire and Granit Xhaka have both been victims of relentless abuse and even death threats because of their on-field performances.
The ever-growing chasm in the relationship supporter has with he player/club stems from the fact that there is very little relatability. This perceived lack of common ground should not tarnish your connection with your club nor should it deface the humans who wear the jersey.
Some clubs have made the effort to heighten the sense of collectiveness by taking inspiration from public transportation. Chelsea and England star Raheem Sterling has released a new pair of boots which pay tribute to his footballing journey.
The 27-year-old has teamed up with his sponsor New Balance to release a unique boot designed after the seat patterns from London Buses in the 1990s. It is a small representation of the struggles he had to overcome and highlights his underlining determination. This peek into his past has slightly brushed a side the thin veil of a multi-million-pound footballer, letting fans of all kinds relate.
Another London club has also made use of an iconic transportation design. Earlier this year Arsenal partnered with Adidas to release a new kit design inspired by the seat moquette of the Piccadilly line train. The jersey was worn by Arsenal players during their warmup during the second half of last season. This ode to London and the Arsenal fans who take this train line every day has created yet another strong bond between the club and supporters.
Across the water in Ireland, Dublin football club Bohemians FC released a similar design which will be worn in their FAI Cup campaign. The jersey was designed after the seat pattern found on the Dublin bus, a design which became iconic in the late 90s. The jersey also created a similar bond between fans and the club.
In an interview, Dublin Bus CEO Ray Coyne referenced that they have been a strong supporter of Bohemians. He touched on how the club is “at the heart of its community, just as Dublin Bus is.”
Supporters can sometimes have a hard time relating to the modern player and club, this new initiative has restrengthened that connection.