Stoke City and The White Stripes: A Match Not Made In Heaven

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Stoke City announced this morning that Adidas will be their official kit supplier for the next four years. In normal circumstances, that would be good news but many Stoke City supporters are upset at the speculation (which has now been confirmed by Stoke City) that the backs of the shirts will feature a solid back instead of the typical design that features stripes.

For most football supporters, that may not seem like a big deal. But for Stoke City supporters, it’s a break against tradition and a poor decision by Stoke City and Adidas.

In fairness to Stoke, they haven’t ignored the issue and have instead tackled it head on. “Working closely with adidas, the Club have the option to incorporate the stripes in future designs,” said a statement from Stoke City. “The Club thought long and hard about the move away from the more traditional look to the shirts and when the partnership was agreed, adidas kit designs had already been developed for the 2010-11 season. As such, and after weighing up all the benefits of the deal, the Club decided that this exciting opportunity to be associated with the leading brand in world football was one not to be missed and the Club trusts that their supporters will feel they have made the right decision.”

It’s ironic that Adidas is known as the brand that has the famous “Three Stripes.” Yet the back of the Stoke City shirt will not have them. Stoke City plans on unveiling the new kits Sunday night during the club’s player of the year awards competition. It’ll be interesting to see what the reaction is from the Stoke City faithful and whether they’ll understand the circumstances which led to the decision by Stoke City and Adidas.

What do you think of the decision made by Stoke and Adidas? Are Stoke City supporter overreacting or do they have a sound argument?

6 thoughts on “Stoke City and The White Stripes: A Match Not Made In Heaven”

  1. Well, actually seeing the shirt first will help a lot in passing judgment. If, I remember correctly, Celtic went through a similar controversy a couple of years ago. Teams that play with striped/hooped shirts always have less room to maneuverer aesthetically in coming up with new designs to meet the commercial pressure that comes with modern shirt contracts. Some work -Kappa’s Juve’s 96? (extra-large stripes) & Milan’s 80’s (pinstripes). Then there are the dubious: That “barcode” Newcastle shirt comes to mind.

  2. “adidas kit designs had already been developed for the 2010-11 season”

    Seriously, a worldwide sports equipment manufacturer couldn’t incorporate stripes because designs are already developed?? Seems if the designs are already developed the designers should have plenty of free time to whip out a one off for Stoke. This is simply very poor customer service on the part of Adidas.

  3. Seems like Addidas should be able to let Stoke keep the stripes and still get their new triangular logo on things.

  4. Let’s face it, money talks, everyone else walks. In US sport, the fact that corporations can write off 80% of the money they pay for tickets including “luxury boxes,” as business related entertainment , has resulted in astronomical increases in ticket prices. There really isn’t much that fans of moderate means can do about this.
    However, there is something that soccer fans can do. They can just refuse to buy overpriced shirts that make a mockery of team tradition. Which leads me to a question: How long have English football fans been wearing team shirts? In the US wearing team shirts is relatively new, and to my mind, rather silly, even if one doesn’t factor in their exorbitant cost.

  5. In answer to your question Mike I’d say mid to late 80s. They used to change the design every two seasons now it’s a new one every season. It’s a cash cow, particularly for the glory hunted clubs as it gives the armchair fans a special glow inside to wear it and feel superior to the ordinary fans when they walk around their home town 150 miles away from Manchester, Liverpool or London.

    As for Stoke’s new strip it was unveiled last night and has gone down like a lead ballon. It’s on sale for £40 which is the going rate, but you can buy the same red and white striped shirt for your Sunday League team to wear (minus the logos) for £15.95! It seems to me that Adidas and the club have scored a massive own goal.

  6. i would have thought that stoke would have learned about messing with the stripes way back when they had stoke wearing the real awful pinstripe kit. i get the feeling that addies wants all clubs to have plain kits no stripes or hoops, just so there three stripes on the sleeve stands out

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