Written By: Jadine Leecocke (@Jel_lfc)
As I’m sure you are aware Liverpool now don Nike and no longer New Balance. After five seasons of New Balance, the club has moved onto bigger and better things in Nike. New Balance did not go down without a fight though and even took the club to court over their alleged refusal to honor the £40m-a-year deal. Under the terms New Balance was entitled to renew it’s sponsorship if they could match a competitor’s offer in terms of marketing. In my truthful opinion this was never going to be achievable from New Balance. Their brand is not the size that Nike is and if they think they are, someone needs to knock them off their high horse. Liverpool, rightly so, argued that New Balance could not match Nike’s deal and they won the case with the judge stating, “The New Balance offer on marketing was less favourable to Liverpool FC than the Nike offer.” To me that was obvious. New Balance had no chance of winning the court case! Don’t get me wrong, I liked a lot of New Balance’s kits but taking your then current club partnership to court was a very unethical thing to do and was never going to sit pretty with the club. New Balance should have appreciated the fact that a massive club was their partner and gave them great advertisement, especially when we won the Champions League and the Premier League with their logo on our kits.
When rumors started flying about on Twitter of the club starting a potential partnership with Nike many fans got very excited as Nike is of course a massive sports brand and is possibly sitting at the top spot in terms of sportswear, trainers and football boots. Nike have also produced a lot of high quality kits over the years and last season in particular, they made some wonderful retro style kits for some of their other teams.
With Liverpool, Nike made Liverpool’s first three kits are all very striking in their own individual ways but the one thing I wanted to see was the club crest put back on the shirts instead of just the Liver bird and ‘LFC’. The crest means more, it’s our identify and how we are recognized all over the world. It’s on a lot of other Liverpool products except our kits and training gear. Hopefully we get the crest back soon.
Now for the break down and my own opinion on the first ever Nike X Liverpool kits.
As I previously said, last season Nike made beautiful retro style kits like the teal colour third kit they made for FC Barcelona and this season they took inspiration from the Red’s home jerseys from 1993-1996 that featured vibrant red with teal and white around the neck and sleeves. The three colours – red, teal and white – have been a traditional colourway used throughout the club’s proud history and are also seen on the club’s crest (another reason I want it back).
I think our home shirt looks very presentable and clean. Everything is where it’s meant to be and it doesn’t look too plain (like Chelsea’s) or over crowded. The fabric itself is of a very high standard and comfortable to wear. It’s a level above the New Balance shirts. The pricing of the shirt is a bit steep and I can see why the shirt is priced at what it is but I still think they should be a bit cheaper.
When I first saw the leaked photos of this jersey I immediately liked it. I have since seen mixed reviews of it with some fans loving it and others criticizing the club for using ‘blue’ – but it’s not blue it’s teal! On the colour palette of the crest, teal is in there. Teal represents the city of Liverpool and also is reminiscent of the shade of the Liver Bird that sits at the top of the famous Liver Building. The swirly, wavey, floral design is bold and eye catching yet not too bizarre and the inspiration from this came from the Shankly Gates. The black colour also goes well the teal, adds a bit of class and makes the design stand out – it’s a nice combination. This shirt is popular with people who wear the shirt in terms of Streetwear and the loyal supporters of the club. Nike are a modern and progressive brand and I think they showed this in our away kit.
The only flaw with the away kit is that the socks have the same design as the shirt and it’s just too much. The socks should have been just one colour with no design. Let the shirt do the talking.
Fun fact about the away shirt: it’s Nike’s ‘most innovative jersey yet’. They used groundbreaking scientific technological methods to give optional performance on the pitch.
The design for the third kit took inspiration from the famous and iconic European nights at Anfield. Influence was taken from the array of chequered flags and banners that decorate the Kop. At a time when many fans wish they could get back into Anfield it’s very caring to show reference to the this and remind them of glorious nights inside the stadium.
For the campaign I really like how representatives from the Spion Kop took centre stage on the unveiling photos. This was a massive thing to do and I’m sure the Spion Kop appreciated it very much. Huge shout out to the Spion Kop for the whole huge role they play in organizing the flags and banners that grace the Kop!
For our third kit it had to be a dark colourway so for when we play for instance claret and blue coloured clubs we don’t colour clash.
The colours and design really once again stand out but at the start I wasn’t sure if I liked this kit until I seen the players wearing it and now I do like it. Taking a closer look at it, all the colours work really well together but I think if they’re taking inspiration from the flags and banners on the Kop, it should be white and red not black and red, no? I think for some reason the player that suits this kit the most is Virgil Van Dijk and I’m not sure why.
Overall I think Nike’s first kits with the Premier League Champions has been successful with a lot of bold designs and top quality materials used. They have been able to use simplicity and elegance into the first kit and boldness and creativity in the second and third one. I think it was a risk worth taking, playing it safe with the main kit and experimenting with the others. I can’t wait to see future kits, specially after Nike will now have the opinion of the fans after their first year with the Reds and will be able to build up from that.