West Bromwich Albion have unveiled their new home shirt for the 2014/15 season.
Out of all of the shirt designs unveiled thus far for Premier League clubs, this one is bound to generate the most controversy.
Reason being is that West Brom and adidas have eliminated the famous navy blue and white stripes that have been worn by the team since 1889 (except for 1942-47 when they wore blue shirts). That’s 120 years of history of the Baggies wearing the famous and iconic shirts.
As you can see above and below, West Brom have changed the shirt design by featuring navy blue pinstripes on the front and back of the shirt, while the shoulders retain the more familiar WBA design and colors.
Before today, if you hadn’t seen West Brom’s home shirt and the club crest was removed from the shirt, you probably wouldn’t have guessed that this was West Brom’s jersey for the 2014/15 season. And that’s the problem. It could have been any club from around the world.
By redesigning the shirt, adidas and the club have removed the soul from West Bromwich Albion.
By itself, without the history and memories, the shirt design is elegant, clean and modern. If this was designed for a brand-new MLS or A-League team, it would be one thing. But adidas and the club have ripped the soul out of 120 years of history by forcing this on the fans of the club.
West Bromwich Albion have already predicted the backlash by announcing that “a more traditional navy-blue-and-white-striped shirt will return for 2015/16,” which makes you wonder why are they embarking on this one year experiment. Could it be to satisfy their new American shirt sponsor by featuring a shirt design that works better with the sponsor’s logo?