Let us keep in mind at all times that whether we feel love, hate, or something in-between for these kits, they will be worn in the 2016-2017 Scottish Premiership season, County’s fifth consecutive season in the Scottish top flight. For my money County can wear bin bags as kits next season as long as they have the Premiership badge on the sleeve. It would also probably be nice if the colors didn’t run in the wash and the neck openings were big enough for people to get their heads through- I’m looking at you Carbrini!
That said, the initial reaction to these tops (and only the tops have been revealed thus far) since they popped up on the various social media outlets a few hours ago has been…mixed. If there is any general consensus forming it is that the white away top is the better of the two and that the white middle stripe on the home kit might be a little too wide. As always, however, a lot of people’s final opinions will be determined by what the shorts and socks look like when they are revealed. At this time, however, all we have are the tops, so let’s take a look at them.
From my perspective I don’t think the problem with the home top- which isn’t terrible– is the white stripe or its width, I think the problems with the shirt begin and end with the collar. Tops with a wide central stripe always look better with a simple “crew” style collar in a contrasting color. Otherwise, the central stripe seems to continue on to oblivion at the top, or in this case, it makes the neck area look cluttered and unfinished. Imagine this top with a simple navy blue contrasting crew neck, ala this 2013-2014 Paris Saint-Germain kit. Much better, no?
As for the rest of the home kit, I can’t imagine it working with anything other than white shorts. Red shorts would obviously look ghastly, and blue shorts, especially ones that mimicked the template of the top. So, they should probably be white with some sort of contrasting banding/striping that plays off the center panel and the sleeve details. If the shorts are white then the socks will likely be white as well, or possibly blue. It could work. But, of course, this is probably not what it going to happen. I think the club will stick with the mostly monochromatic trend (thanks, FIFA!) of recent years and go with blue shorts (though I have no idea how they’ll trim them to make them work with the top, a central white panel would be…unfortunate) and blue socks, probably with a center stripe on the shin (and the Macron logo on the calf) mimicking the shirt. Meh.
The club just published an additional photo via Twitter:
UPDATE ONE: This new picture confirms that the first home kit published by the club earlier today was a mock-up: 1) the color of the sponsor logo has been matched to that of the shirts trim and, 2) the placket below the collar has been changed from blue to white. The color correction of the sponsor word mark is an improvement, but unfortunately now that I’m not focused on the color problems all I can see his how it cuts across the center panel- the placement is kind of ham-fisted, if I’m honest. Either a different shirt should have been chosen or somebody should have gone to CRC-Evans Offshore and asked if they had an alternate word mark or logo that would fit within the panel.
As for the change in the placket color, its an improvement as well, but not enough of one. It definitely “cleans up” the neck area- the white front panel transitions more seamlessly into the collar- but I still think a crew neck in a contrasting collar (blue or blue and red) would have made for a much more classic design.
I’m still of the mind that the shorts and socks are going to make or break this kit. The top is marginally better with the two changes I noted above, but if they get even the smallest thing wrong with the shorts or the socks they will drag the top down with them. We shall see…
When it comes to the away top, the collar is again my only issue, but it’s not as bad of an issue as it was with the home top. In this case the problem may be as simple as the shirt not fitting well on the display mannequin- I think. I hope. It clearly has a “V” at the front and no buttons and is trimmed in both red and blue (which I think looks nice), but beyond that I’m not exactly sure what is going on? It’s not really a cadet/band/mandarin collar because it doesn’t appear to stand up on its own, but it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to lie flat like a crew or “henley” collar either. All of which is, maybe not “troubling,” but still confusing. It almost looks as though there’s just some loose fabric around the neck finished off with the red and blue trim. I’ll reserve judgment for the moment because otherwise I think it’s a smart looking top and it will probably be the first white County top I will purchase.
UPDATE TWO: The club has now released a better picture of the away shirt as well:
While the shirt is unchanged from the original picture that the club released, it is a better picture and the collar detail/construction is now clear. It is a band/cadet/mandarin collar with a blue and red trim “extension” along the top of the collar. This is not a choice I would have made, I like it enough that I’ll be happy to order myself one of these when they are released.
UPDATE THREE: I can’t believe I missed this (!), but as supporter Alan Macartney points out on Facebook, the club badge on the away kit is not even REMOTELY centered between the vertical striping. Now that I’ve seen that, I can’t un-see it and it looks like I won’t be buying either of these shirts! Not impressed.
I think the shorts and socks that go with this shirt will be a little more straight forward. Again, I think red is out- it would look garish in my opinion. Solid blue would not necessarily look bad, but I don’t think it add much to the kit either. I also think blue is out because it would necessitate white socks and I can’t imagine that County would- or would be allowed to- wear the same color socks with both its home and away kits. It also wouldn’t make sense from a replica kit standpoint either- I, for example, bought last year’s home and away socks, so why would the club want to sell me only one pair of white socks this season when I’d be willing to buy two if they came in different colors? So, I think it will be white and that the socks will likely be white as well, both trimmed with the narrow blue/red striping seen on the top- which also makes sense given that the home kit is unlikely to contain white shorts or socks. Overall, I think this could be a very sharp looking kit, assuming the collar looks better in future photos…
One final note, I’m guessing these kits are mock-ups rather than finished products as I can’t believe that the sponsor’s word mark is going to be done in a lighter shade of red than the rest of the kit. It should also be said that the Macron branding on the top is less blatant than I expected, especially the size of the logos on the shoulders. At worst, it’s better than the giant Carbrini logos on last year’s top.
So, a mixed review at best. At the very least, the kits appear to be, if not ones specifically designed for County, at least not templates from last year’s Macron range. And again, I remind you, this kit will be worn at Pittodrie, Ibrox, Tyncastle, and Celtic Park, not at Cappielow, Palmerston Park, Paisley 2021 Stadium (really?), or Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium (REALLY!?) and, in the end, this is all that matters.
P.S.: Am I the only one that noticed the Carbrini name/logo on the backdrop? Oops!