Sunday, 27 July 2014

Have the Cherries saved their best kit until last?

The new Cherries third kit was launched on Friday, the club’s resident replica expert Gareth Davies gives his thoughts on the new design and history of Bournemouth’s third kits...

The Third kit really has been worth waiting for. AFCB photo.
For many years, third kits were considered an afterthought, as most were commissioned due to a one off kit clash and never marketed for sale. They were often identical in design to a teams away shirt with just the main colour altered. Things changed in the early 90’s though as clubs looked to maximise revenues by selling more replica shirts and also designers became far more adventurous regarding colour schemes and designs. This threw up more clashes between clubs which in turn heralded the need for third shirts to be used far more frequently.

The Cherries didn’t have a third shirt that was marketed for sale until the 2001/02 season when TFG Sports produced a bright yellow outfit which wasn’t universally popular due to the teams lack of success whilst wearing it! It was used in the play-off winning campaign the following year too, again with limited success and when TFG departed Dean Court in favour of the disastrous Bourne Red deal, there was no third shirt made available for supporters to buy until 2006/07 when yellow returned again!

It was a massive sense of déjà-vu, as once again supporters were sceptical about the design and the team didn’t pull up any trees wearing it. It must be noted that this shirts period of use coincided with a time when storm clouds seemed to permanently reside over Dean Court so even if Bournemouth had taken to the field in a sublime offering, it would have probably gone unnoticed such was the turmoil during the Kevin Bond era.
Matt Ritchie models the new Third kit shirt. AFCB photo.
Once the Bourne Red deal was thankfully torn up post administration in 2008, JD Sports became kit supplier and under their Carbrini brand, a smart striking white third shirt was used for three seasons before Fila replaced them. Their first third kit which was ivory in colour, was a stunning effort of simplicity and gracefulness and this shirt lasted for two seasons, albeit with a different sponsor in Energy Consulting during its second campaign of use, after they replaced Focal Point.

Last season saw one of my favourite designs used for the Cherries third kit, the diagonal sash. A clever use of our principal red and black colour scheme from the designers as they were used on the sash with white the main base colour. It wasn’t used an awful lot which was a shame as I preferred this to the black away offering which was a decent effort, but not in the same League as the third.

Onto this current season and after receiving some sceptical criticism from some quarters, the club have continued with JD Sports but have returned to Carbrini. I touched on why this was a good move for the club in my piece I wrote about the away shirt and after the release of the third kit on Friday, my feelings have been totally justified as the new kit has received some of the most positive reviews ever seen after the issuing of a Cherries uniform.

I have to say this surprised me somewhat as I thought the feedback would be mixed as the design or the like has never been seen at Dean Court before. The fading from one colour to another doesn’t always work. Take the Nike template used by Barcelona last season and for Charlton this, yellow into orange just looks ghastly, like a tequila sunrise that has been made with too much orange juice, whereas blue into black makes for an excellent composition. The club crest takes on the main base colours with the makers branding and sponsor being white meaning that none of these are lost within the main design, further enhancing this kit’s credentials to be considered one of our best productions in recent times.

Coupled with the fantastic away kit, we have got two stunning efforts in one season that could and probably should be put in the masterpiece bracket. Many wouldn’t have predicted this when the return to Carbrini was announced, even more so after the release of the home kit was done so to mixed reviews because black features more prominently than red. For me it should have been the other way round but I am being picky here as the home shirt is perfectly acceptable, not the best ever, although certainly not the worst. Its main trouble undoubtedly being that it’s in such esteemed company.

We shouldn’t complain though as not many clubs can even profess to have individual bespoke designs from their suppliers - so in that respect we are way ahead of most - let alone a decent home shirt and two wonderful change offerings.

Follow Gareth on twitter: @garphied

You can now vote for your favourite kit that has been released for the 2014/15 season. See the side panel on Cherry Chimes to get your vote in. 

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