the tanner ba'

WeeFuse’s Idle Hands

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While I may not be as “kit krazy” as I used to be (my discretionary income has found other destinations in recent years) I still do find them fascinating and still do occasionally purchase club-related clothing.  Anyway…while I was poking around the internet recently looking at kits- particularly the new releases for 2017-2018- it was hard not to notice that Nike, Adidas, and Puma have pretty much sewn up (see what I did there?) the kit market in most of Europe’s top leagues and particularly in the leagues where I pay the most attention- England and Scotland.  To me, this is not a good thing.  It’s one step away from the stultifying sameness of the “Adidas Only” MLS.

My next thought was just how far down the leagues the domination of these three companies extended?  Since I had the appropriate websites at my fingertips I decided I would look and see what was going on in “league” football in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland.  What I found was pretty interesting- to me anyway!- so I thought I would share it with you.  Here’s the list, comments from me where I think they are worth making.  The list is based on last year’s kits suppliers to these leagues and any 2017-2018 that were available at the time of posting.  I have left off the handful of clubs that use a “house brand” for their kits.

  • Acerbis (Italy):  Only worn by Welsh Premiership side Aberystwyth Town F.C..
  • Adidas (Germany)
  • Admiral Sportswear (England):  Once second only to Umbro in the UK, the only club they currently kit out is Wimbledon A.F.C..
  • Carbrini (England):  A house brand of JD Sports it has lost about half of its league clubs (11 down to 5) in the last five years or so, including both sides of the Highland Derby.
  • CX+ Sport (Ireland):  One of the newest players in the kit game they supply kits to a few clubs in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
  • Errea (Italy):  Suppliers to clubs in the English Championship, League One, and League Two.
  • FBT (Thailand):  A relatively new company in the British Isles, with only Crewe Alexandra F.C., Scunthorpe United F.C., and Doncaster Rovers F.C. wearing its kits.
  • Hummel (Netherlands):  One club in Scotland, one in England, three in Ireland.
  • Jako (Germany):  Just lonely Barnet F.C..
  • Jartazi (Belgium):  As far as I can tell, just Newtown A.F.C. of the Welsh Premier League.
  • Joma (Spain):  Numerous lower league clubs across the UK.
  • Kappa (Italy):  Slowly rebuilding their footprint in the UK, with clubs like Wigan Athletic F.C., Leeds United F.C., and Bury F.C. as well as a scattering of clubs in Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Legea (Italy):  Just Finn Harps F.C. in Ireland…and match officials in the Welsh Premier League!
  • Macron (Italy):  A smaller company that seems to be steadily building a stable of clubs across the UK, including Ross County F.C.!
  • New Balance (USA):  Even after absorbing Warrior, New Balance only has two clubs wearing their kits in the UK, but they are big clubs- Celtic and Liverpool- and on in Ireland, Shamrock Rovers.
  • Nike (USA)
  • O’Neills (Ireland):  Almost exclusively associated with Gaelic athletics, they do supply kits to Wycombe Wanderers F.C..
  • Pendle (England):  A small company supplying massive presence in non-league, amateur, and school football, but only a small presence in league football, primarily in Scotladn- Alloa F.C., Arbroath F.C., Brechin City F.C., etc..
  • Puma (Germany)
  • Sondico (England):  Part of Mike Ashley’s (ick.) SportsDirect Empire, Sondico is still focused on goalkeeping equipment, but does outfit a few clubs in England.
  • Stanno (Netherlands):  Family-owned company that also owns Hummel and several other brands.
  • Starter (USA):  Yes, THAT Starter, same logo and everything.  Currently worn by only one league club across the British Isles- Oxford United F.C.
  • Surridge Sport (England):  A multi-sport kit provider, their football presence is limited and focused in the lower half of league football in England and Scotland.
  • TAG Sports (England):  Focused on providing custom kits to community and youth teams, they do supply the kits for Jackson Irvine’s Burton Albion F.C.- TAG Sports is based in Burton.
  • Teamwear Ireland (Northern Ireland):  Mainly focused on selling other brands (Joma, Nike, etc.) they also have a house brand which is worn by three clubs in the NIFL Premiership.
  • Uhlsport (Germany):  A mid-level supplier on the European continent and beyond, Uhlsport only supplies four league clubs across the British Isles.  Their main presence remains as suppliers of goalkeeper equipment.
  • Umbro (England):  Once the dominant brand in the UK, then bought by Nike, and now owned by American “brand management company” ICONIX, Umbro’s main presence is now in England (where they still supply some big clubs) and Northern Ireland.  They outfit two Irish clubs, one Welsh club, and one Scottish club.
  • Under Armour (USA):  Having lost Spurs to Nike, UA in the UK are now down to Aston Villa, Southampton, and…Queen’s Park F.C..
  • Vision Outsourcing (Scotland):  More focused on supplying branded products (leisure wear, footballs, etc.) to clubs (like Ross County!), but they also outfit clubs with kits, including Greenock Morton F.C..
  • Zoo (England):  Almost exclusively a kit provider for rugby and cricket clothing, but Berwick Rangers F.C. have worn Zoo kits since 2011.

As if I haven’t provided you with enough useless information, here’s a list of some of the former kit manufacturers across the British Isles!  Some are still in business, but none currently provide kits for any clubs in league football.

  • Asics (I own a Heart of Midlothian F.C. shirt made by them)
  • Avec
  • Bukta
  • Canterbury
  • Diadora
  • Fila
  • Gola
  • Hi-Tec
  • Le Coq Sportif
  • Lonsdale
  • Lotto
  • Matchwinner
  • Mitre
  • Mizuno
  • Olympic
  • Patrick
  • Pony (I have two Motherwell F.C. shirts made by them)
  • Prostar
  • Reebok
  • Spall (I own a Montrose F.C. shirt made by them)
  • TFG (I own two Dundee United F.C. shirts made by them)
  • Vandanel
  • Warrior
  • Xara (I own much Ross County F.C. gear made by them)

2 comments on “WeeFuse’s Idle Hands

  1. Kevin
    June 21, 2017

    I have to say I was sad to see LeCoc Sportif on the list of no longer producing kits. I absolutely loved their short sleeve home kit for Everton for 2011-2012.

    • weefuse
      June 21, 2017

      Their kits for Everton were some of my favorites too, they also did some really nice ones for Hibernian through most of 2000-2010. As far as I can tell they only supply kits to five clubs at the moment and no national teams.

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