Leeds United’s new away kit for the coming season launches today and it’s fair to say not all fans are tickled pink by the design. The grey kit with pink trim and sponsors logo is certainly a departure from traditional Leeds United shirt designs and has provoked mixed and strong emotions from the supporters. Across the city in Headingly Leeds Rhinos have proved in the past how well pink replica shirts sell, especially amongst the female fan base. I’m sure this shirt will sell well too, aside from the female fans interest grey kits always sell well because ‘they go well with jeans’, but is it really a shirt fit for our centenary year?
Many supporters feel that the club has already missed an opportunity with the home shirt. A nice shirt perhaps but it doesn’t evoke our history, it’s doesn’t instantly bring memories of that great all conquering Leeds team of the 60s and 70s to mind. I was hoping our centenary kits would have a retro feel, would be something special and I can’t help they have missed another opportunity with the away shirt too. The club has worn a few colours and designs over the last 100 years, it would have been good to feature one of those designs as the centenary away shirt.
When the club was founded in 1919 by former Huddersfield Town chairman Hilton Crowther the kit looked awfully familiar to our West Yorkshire rivals with light blue and white stripes. In 1934 Leeds switched to play in the colours of the Leeds city crest adopting blue and gold halved shirt with white shorts. Major Frank Buckley later adapted the shirt into all gold with blue arms. When Don Revie became manager of Leeds United in 1961 the club was reinvented with the most obvious aesthetic change being the switch to an all-white kit.
Since then all yellow, all blue, blue and yellow halves and blue and yellow stripes have all been worn by Leeds United as away kits. For me the perfect choice would have been blue and yellow halves, a design steeped in the tradition of the club and of the city itself. Not since the 1998-99 blue and yellow halves or the 1993-1994 blue and yellow stripes have we had a decent blue and yellow shirt and the centenary would have been a great opportunity to revive the combination. I would certainly have bought one.
The club may reveal a special centenary shirt for the anniversary game against Birmingham but that would just feel like a money-making scheme now. The new away shirt will sell well but this season the team should be wearing home and away shirts which evoke our past, fit to celebrate our centenary year. We could learn a lesson from Man City about how to do celebratory kits right.
Leeds fans not tickled pink by new centenary away kit