Ahead of the unveiling of Boro’s new shirts for the 2018/19 season, designed by Hummel, football shirt expert John Devlin discusses some of his favourite designs from the Danish kit manufacturers.
I often have this analogy that if a team looks good, do they play better and achieve more success?
It’s interesting Middlesbrough had these cracking kits and there were three in total: the red home, the first year away it was royal blue with white, same design, and the second away kit was pale blue/navy.
They all had the chest band - its simplicity, they take the Boro style and just rotate it across the different designs.
Some people think it’s old hat, but I think it retains the club’s identity as well, then there is the danger of the brand taking over the identity of the club, which I’m not so keen on as I think the club’s identity should always shine.
I think Hummel did that really well. It’s interesting that such great designs were worn at a grim time.
You look at some of the stuff they did for Villa and Southampton and it’s exquisite.
They came up with one of the most iconic shirts, which often gets forgotten about with the half and half design, where so many teams struggled between, ‘do we keep with traditional stripes or do we go for solid colour’.
Hummel managed to solve the problem with one kit and I thought that was genius design. They seem to have their foot in both camps.
The design for Denmark was half and half and they did it for Coventry and Southampton, both of the teams who have had a little bit of an identity crisis between people consider stripes to be dull and too stuck in the past, but both teams managed to crack it perfectly and they did the same for Villa, with three teams wearing that half and half design.
I think the way they presented the kits the quality of them was spot on. They were great ideas, beautifully executed.
Adidas has that certain high street kudos and gravitas, but there’s something about those chevrons that makes them really exciting and dynamic.
Even when they trim them down to three or four, somehow it still works, even when Denmark had them down to two. It’s a really great branding device without having to reproduce the logo again, similar to the three stripes.
Looking at the latest Denmark shirt, they’ve brought back the full logo with a bee. Hummel in their very early days were German before moving to Denmark and they are in all intents and purposes a Danish brand.
The bee’s back on the Denmark shirt and there’s definitely this retro feeling and recreating some of these old classic kits.
John Devlin is author of True Colours: International Football Kits – The Definitive Guide, which features more than 1,300 kit illustrations tracing the kit history of 20 of the world’s greatest international football sides since 1966, and is available now.