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Friday, 15 April 2011

The Arsenal Way, Bring back Adidas

Some things still ooze Arsenal class

It's been a difficult time to be an Arsenal supporter of late. The problems on the pitch over the past six weeks have seen a general apathy growing towards much of what the Club is doing these days. There are people out there who would seek to find fault with everything done by the Club from the Board, to the Manager to the players, all claiming that it's destroying what they thought was "their Club." However there are still some things Arsenal do better than anyone - and they always will.
When I was younger I often heard people talk about "The Arsenal Way." I always thought this meant something special, that we were a cut above because these older men spoke in awe of "The Arsenal Way." My Dad always made it clear that Arsenal were a bit special with their marble halls, and Herbert Chapman and the Commisionaire etc. As I grew up I came to understand what exactly they meant by it. To me it means that everything at Arsenal is done with a touch of class. It is understated, yet magnificent. It is done quietly, but in the grandest of manners. Yesterday Arsenal showed that we are still a cut above. We still have that touch of class that no other Club can ever lay claim to. Amid the tributes to Daniel Fiszman the Arsenal Director's oversaw a sombre ceremony (made sombre by Mr Fiszman's passing) as the bridges that link Drayton Part to the Stadium were named after Danny Fiszman (at the South end) and Ken Friar (at the North end). This ceremony was planned before Mr Fiszman died and it is a wonderful tribute to the two men who made the stadium possible. Whatever you think about moving from Highbury (and I still do not like going to football at the new place - it just isn't the same, it isn't "home") the achievement of getting the new ground ready is considerable. That Arsenal should commemorate the two men who made it possible, in such an understated and classy way, just shows that "The Arsenal Way" is alive and kicking. Class - you can't buy it. Just ask Chelsea.

Given the fact that I have just celebrated Arsenal's traditional class it is disappointing to have to report on what appear to be the new Arsenal home and away shirts for next season. Thanks to Arsenal Insider you can view them at this link.
Two things leap out for me. The first is the horrible, disgusting abomination that is the new away shirt. Nike simply do not get it. Sadly, nor do Arsenal. What the fans want in an Arsenal shirt is not difficult to achieve - red shirt with white sleeves for home, yellow and blue for away. What is so difficult to understand with that? I have never not wanted to buy the latest Arsenal shirt...until now. I am fairly certain that I will not be purchasing the new Arsenal away shirt, because it's the most disgusting, horrible, non-Arsenal shirt I've ever seen.
The second thing that leaps out is the Arsenal crest. It's bad enough that we have the current club badge which looks like it was inspired by some badly drawn Hannah-Barbera cartoon, unlike the beautiful crest at the top of this post. At least, on the current shirt, it is embroidered and shown in certain colours that reflect Arsenal. The badge on these two new shirts has a laurel-leaf surround to highlight our 125th anniversary which falls on Christmas Day of this year, and it includes the motto "Forward" which will be familiar to any older readers - the first history of Arsenal, written by former player Bernard Joy (the last amateur to play for England, I believe) was called "Forward Arsenal" - so no problems there. The problem is that the crest itself look like it is printed on to the shirts. If that is the case then it must surely be the cheapest, nastiest piece of old tat ever produced.
You will remember how the first season at the new stadium saw replica shirts having to be replaced by Arsenal because the sponsor would peel off the shirt. A similar, though seemingly less prevalent, problem has been encountered this season. Given these issues, and the fact that Nike keep bringing out such crap Arsenal shirts (last season's home effort was an absolute disgrace as well), can we please go back to Adidas? My favourite Arsenal shirts of all time were both made by Adidas - the 88-89 away shirt, and the 90-91 home shirt. If you look at the quality of their offerings for other teams (Bayern Munich, Real Madrid etc) and even in other sports (the British Lions rugby merchandise was first-rate) they continually knock spots off Nike - so let's have a change, please, because Nike are bloody awful.

I'll preview the Liverpool match tomorrow.

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