Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 October 2019

How Nike's new Chelsea and Roma kits are left in the shade by Umbro's Man Utd 1995 strip

The aerial maps just don't work compared to the Old Trafford design 24 years ago

The new NikeConnect Chelsea FC third jersey. Getty Images
The new NikeConnect Chelsea FC third jersey. Getty Images

Nike has just launched a new range of third kits for its stable of top clubs around Europe - including Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur.

But maybe they should have taken a leaf from Umbro's design team more than 20 years ago.

Geography is the theme of the new design, with Chelsea's light blue strip featuring an aerial view of Stamford Bridge and surrounding area.

Atletico's new kit has the Fountain of Neptune, located at the centre of Madrid Plaza, while Roma's has an aerial map complete with key moments in Roman history.

Atlético de Madrid Atlético de Madrid's 2018-19 third kit. Courtesy Nike
Atletico Madrid's 2018-19 third kit. Courtesy Nike

“This season our designers have been taking inspiration from the urban environment, which provides the backdrop to clubs and their fanbases,” says Pete Hoppins, Nike Football Apparel Senior Design Director.

“With Atlético, the symbolic value of the fountain gave us the creative spark for the colour palette and the dynamic combination of blue and orange."

Unfortunately, it could be tricky to work out what is going on within the designs, unless the shirt is stationary and inspected in fine detail meaning it will look just like any other kit when Eden Hazard is going mazy down the wing.

Indeed, if Nike wanted an example of how to feature a location on a football shirt, the best such one is Umbro's creation for Manchester United for the 1994-1995 season when the Old Trafford stadium was imprinted on the red strip on both the front and back.

Here's the front view of the shirt which was worn by the likes of Andrei Kanchelskis, Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs and Brian McClair:

Chelsea meanwhile have gone one step further with their new kit. They've introduced an interactive logo, whereby the user scans the NikeConnect logo on the bottom left of the shirt with their smartphone and it gives them access to exclusive content via an app.

The shirt in men's sizes costs a whopping £89.95 (Dh424). Ouch.


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