Following the lead of many other clubs around the world in letting their supporters have a say in the club’s on-field look Ross County F.C. today revealed three potential home top designs for 2017-2018 and invited feedback from the club’s supporters via Facebook and Twitter. Before we take a look at the potential tops for next season let’s take a look at why more and more club’s are offering their supporters a say in such matters.
As I see it there are three main reasons for soliciting feedback on matters such as these (clubs have been doing the same thing with badge redesigns as well- more on that in a moment). First, in the era of the internet people- rightly or wrongly- feel as though they have a right to be heard, and in many cases, “heeded.” Gone are the days when a club just released a new top and it was “take it or leave it” for supporters. Second, if a club does release a new top or a crest (remember a few years ago when Everton redesigned theirs?) and the majority- or even a vocal minority-don’t like it, they will never hear the end of it. This is one case where “any publicity” is not “good publicity,” because… Third, replica shirts make money. The more people that like the top, the more people that buy it, the more money that goes into the club’s coffers. While letting supporters design tops from scratch has rarely gone well for those clubs that have tried it, putting a few ideas in front of supporters and letting them have their say really has no downside.
Alright, with that out of the way lets take a look at what Ross County supporters have to choose from. I’ll give you a little of my opinion with each and then let you know what the general consensus is among Ross County supporters.
It’s probably not my final choice when all is said and done, but it’s good. My main objection- and I know I’m the proverbial broken record on this topic- is that there is too much going on. The gradient effect is good (maybe a little dated) and I don’t mind the white piping, but the red on the shoulder yoke and under the arms seems unnecessary. If I had to guess, I’d say this would be worn with sold blue shorts (maybe with some white piping) and predominantly blue socks with some sort of gradient effect to mirror the top.
This is probably the “safest” of the group, with the only non-standard detail being the sublimated stag’s head behind the club badge. That’s not a criticism, by the way. Overall this is a pretty handsome shirt (though I don’t love the “cadet collar”) that could be paired with blue shorts with a red side stripe or red trim around the leg openings, and blue socks with a red cuff or a red stripe on the cuff.
The issue is that I want to “love” it but I only “like” it. As with Top A I the problem is that there is too much going on. In this case the issue is that they’re trying to have two shirts in one. I’d be fine with a solid blue shirt with the striping on the sleeves and sides, it’s a “retro” look that harkens back to the iconic- if unattractive!- Admiral kits that County wore in the late 1970s. I’d also be fine with it if they’d gone “full tartan,” with the design on the back and front, but they tried to do both and the result is a “good” top that is not a “great” top. The natural result of this top is blue shorts and socks with red and white details and that might be a bit much.
My final choices are B (as is), A (with a few tweaks), and C (I can’t believe it either).
So that’s what I think, what do the supporters think?
Well, with the sample size between Twitter and Facebook is now approaching 300 votes and I think there is enough data to draw some conclusions.
In the end, I think it will be Top B, it has a lot of support, there don’t seem to be many caveats in the comments of those who like it, and most of those who chose Top C and gave a “second place” chose Top B.
Have at it commenters!