Founded in 1862, Notts County is the oldest football club in the world. While the Magpies are not what they once were, they are still part of the one of the best derbies in world football (with Nottingham Forest F.C.), and more importantly for our purposes here, they are still club that gave Juventus its iconic kits (Notts’ current pink 3rd top is a nod to Juventus’ original tops). With that history in mind, and particularly with that kit history in mind, I was more than a little disappointed over the weekend when I tuned in to watch a replay of their F.A. Cup match against Rotherham United F.C.. It being a cup match you can never be sure who is wearing what so I had to watch for a few minutes before I could figure out which club was wearing the fabulous orange and black kits- it turned out it was Notts County.
Unfortunately, the more I watched, however, the more sadness crept into my heart.
The shirts, which are a part of the club’s 150th anniversary celebration, are a recreation of the club’s original (1866-73) shirt, are fantastic. Unfortunately, they are also where the first cracks begin to appear in what would otherwise be a world class kit. While the club badge and even the sponsor’s logo are well integrated into the shirts template and color scheme, there is an enormous amount of other garbage littering these shirts.
There are the GIANT Fila logos on the shoulders (the above picture doesn’t do them justice) are an abomination. Not only do they not appear on the home kit at all, but the small Fila logo on the front of the home kit is color-matched (black, white, and gold)- why couldn’t the same thing have been done for the away shirt? The away kit also features a large secondary sponsor logo below the back collar (not pictured), F.A. Cup badges on both(!) sleeves, and the commemorative patch below the club crest that also appears on the home and third kits. All of these things combine to make the away shirt look like something you would see at a European hockey game-
But back to Notts County…
I have no problem with the shorts: black with orange piping and no extraneous patches or gargantuan Fila logos. Basically, they are exactly what you’d want with a shirt that has a bold pattern and contains orange- understated, but clearly part of the overall “theme.” I still wish the small Fila logo was color-matched, but that’s nit-pickey under the circumstances.
Then there are the socks.
Look back up at the full kit picture.
Do you see it?
At first I thought it was just something about the television feed. And then I thought, “Well, maybe the players are sweating a lot, causing the orange on the shirt to get darker. Nope. The socks are a different color. At least a shade lighter than the shirts. More “traffic cone” orange than the “deep” orange of the shirt. It’s clear in every promotional picture of Notts County players modeling the kit, in the mock-up from Historical Football Kits (a GREAT site by the way), and even the JDSports pre-order webpage- which gets some of the kit details wrong- but still shows the socks as being a lighter orange.
What in the name of all that is right and good is going on?! On paper orange with black cuffs and white trim perfectly complete the kit- how can you mess that up? Easily, it would seem. Which begs the question, “Why?” Why would you allow that to happen? Upon delivery of the kits wouldn’t you say to Fila, “You need to fix that, we’re a professional football club.” Maybe Fila comes back to the club and says, “Sorry, we can fix it, but not in time to get the replacements to you (or the replicas into the retail shops!) before the season starts…” At that point, if you’re Notts County, you buy some unbranded black socks (which is what was worn with the original shirt all those decades ago) or some white ones and you use those until the correct ones arrive.
Or, alternatively, I guess you can just shrug your shoulders and say, “Good enough…”