Monday, October 02, 2006

Any Colour You Like As Long As It's Black

While watching Tottenham defeat Portsmouth at White Hart Lane yesterday I noticed that Pompey were wearing an incongruous all-black kit. It is a long time now since teams would consider a clash of colours as the only justification for changing their colours but the appearance of Portsmouth's black kit, similar to the change kits of dozens of other clubs, indicated how homogenised the game has become in recent years.

In the days of the old Football League it was actually forbidden for a club to have registered colours, either home or away, black or dark blue, as it clashed with the referees' standard colours. Then the Premiership came along and teams, led by Manchester United (Eric Cantona was clad in black when he kung-fu kicked that Crystal Palace fan) rushed to all wear the same colour. The reason has little to do with football and much to do with merchandising, black shirts are more likely to be worn by 'fashion-conscious' football fans as, theoretically they look better with jeans than bright red, blue or yellow garments. One might point out that football shirts look good only with equally shiny shorts when worn on a football pitch but some people are swayed. This was also the reasoning behind the dull grey kit worn by Man U a few years back (pictured above), which Alex Ferguson blamed for a defeat away to Southampton, as the players could not see their teammates, so blended in were they with the crowd. Lyon even wear black only in Europe, rather than the white or red that they sport in the French league. I for one cannot accept a team wearing shiny black, because it is nigh impossible to tell one such team from another, be it Portsmouth, Everton, Chelsea, Lyon or Juventus. And I'm not that gone on grey either.