Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The return of Carbini is a good move for AFCB

Today we have a bit of a surprise for you Gareth Davies, the club's very own replica expert who writes 'Shirt Tales' gives his views on the new AFCB away shirt release and how the move back to Carbrini as supplier should be a good one...

To me the off season in English football constitutes three things; transfer rumours, meaningless pre-season games and the release of new playing attire for the forthcoming campaign. As a replica collector and enthusiast, the latter is something I look forward too, parents of younger supporters probably shudder at the thought of yet more expense and some couldn’t really care less.

Picture from AFC Bournemouth - new 2014/15 away kit.
One of those key components that makes up the void between May and August happened at Dean Court on Monday and it made for interesting reading trawling through various message boards and social media to gauge the reaction after the grand unveiling of the Cherries new away strip. The most surprising aspect was it seemed to provoke more opinion and discussion than the home kt offering which was released for sale almost a month before. Two reasons seem plausible for this; firstly the home shirt consisted of AFCB's traditional primary colours which provoke hardly any negative feedback, but secondly, and this is the most plausible explanation, supporters thoughts were dominated by the fact we had returned to Carbrini as kit maker after three years with Fila.

This was still being touched upon this week with some still questioning how and why we are back with the supplier that was first seen upon the Cherries shirts in 2008. The most simple explanation being that both Fila and Carbrini are owned by JD Sports, so actually we are still being supplied by the same company, just with some altered branding. JD obviously wants to maximise sales within their own portfolio so part of the deal with Bournemouth would mean the Carbrini motif will adorn any future apparel during the next three seasons.

Some supporters were disappointed by this which is slightly puzzling as I know the Club were able to negotiate a lucrative agreement with JD which will undoubtedly mean wider profit margins and in turn more monies into the Club's coffers. The Fila era did however see some of the best kits we have worn for many years - although the overbranding of the makers logo was a pet hate – so I can see why there might have been murmurings of discontent about the change. Carbrini were steady if not spectacular first time round, and with the Club having even more input than before on final designs, I was confident that the trend of the Cherries having good kits wasn’t about to end.

This would have happened if we had gone with one of the big three suppliers – Nike, Adidas or Puma. JD has, in the last two seasons, produced bespoke individual offerings for Bournemouth, something which has continued this time round. This however means we are in a minority, although in a good way as club’s that use the big three - unless your Manchester United or Chelsea for example - will be using a templated or recycled design and in most instances won’t be dealing with the supplier directly as Puma for instance are licensed by a third party – Genesis Sports. Take Charlton’s new ghastly third kit to reiterate my point, its Barcelona’s away offering from last year with the only bits altered being the sponsor and club crest. This kind of thing is unfortunately becoming more frequent which is to the detriment of the supporters buying the product, it’s incredibly lazy from the clubs and the manufacturers are laughing as they haven’t actually had to design anything new!

Thankfully the change has seen the trend of decent kits continue despite some sections of our fanbase being extremely sceptical and wanting to move away from JD. Personally they wouldn’t be my preferred choice but after being told some of the finer points of the deal, from the club's point of view it makes absolute sense. For the record I would love us to go with one of the Italian manufacturers like Kappa or Errea as they produce some lovely stuff, Under Armour are now also becoming a force to be reckoned with as their shirts for Spurs last year were sublime.
So JD, under their Carbrini brand, is what we now have and I couldn’t help but think the launch for the home shirt was a little underwhelming, mainly due to some leaked pictures appearing on twitter a week before the scheduled launch. In my position as writing for the MatchDay programme – my main piece last year was ‘Shirt Tales’ – and as their replica expert – not my words I must add – I have known for quite a while who the new supplier was and what the designs would be like. I could have told the world and his wife for the sake of a few retweets and follows but the thought never crossed my mind so I was disappointed to find that someone did. The home shirt design is good, a little bit too much black maybe, but certainly not the worst home shirt we have ever had as a quick glance back to the disastrous Bourne Red era will see some contenders for that.

Onto the away kit though, and when I was told the colour scheme for the change offering would be gold and white, I instantly knew it would be good, in fact it was better than I had first imagined, this is a real masterpiece, one of the best we have ever had. A quite sweeping statement I know, but it really is superior to most that have preceded it. White as a main base colour for any football shirt means class, sophistication and elegance, all three ooze from our new away strip. The gold has been cleverly used on all the branding which was where the ivory Fila shirt from 2011-12 – my favourite from that maker - was just let down slightly as the makers branding wasn’t in keeping with the overall colour scheme. The design this time around is very minimal, exactly the way any shirt using white should be, some say this is boring which is total nonsense. Real Madrid have adopted a similar ethos to their kits over the years and they have in the main always been excellent and I think the same applies here.

Another moot point for some is the craving to return to our traditional away colours. I would actually like to know what they are, have we ever had a traditional away colour scheme? Green and black is always talked about but in all honesty, one diving header on a cold February afternoon at Villa Park is the only reason that particular format is put forward. Blue and black is my personal favourite, but that’s only ever been used for three seasons in our history. Yellow and blue, the town colours of Bournemouth? To my mind only used because of the sponsorship deal with Yellow Buses so in all honesty white has been used as many if not more times than anything else so perhaps we are using our time honoured change colours.

The third kit will be released just before the season starts and now the dust is finally settling on the away launch, talk will now turn to what this will look like. All I can say to people is that it will split fans opinions, some will love it, and others detest it. Personally I like the concept and it’s never been worn by a Cherries team yet which will probably lead to more healthy debate.

Finally I have been asked about the rules which meant all kits had a two year lifespan as for the second season running all three have changed. There were anomalies to the regulations which exempted clubs from adhering if they knew sponsors or makers were to change which happened to Bournemouth with Focal Point being replaced by Energy Consulting, however, how the land lies regarding this now I simply don’t know. Do the rules not exist anymore? Does the FL just choose not to implement them? All questions I have been asked but cannot answer unfortunately.

So to sum up, the return of Carbrini has proved a masterstroke with their away shirt, the home was as we expected whereas the third could really get tongues wagging.

Follow Gareth on twitter @garphied

The shocking 7 v 1 defeat of Brazil last night was just horrific for the hosts, but the World Cup goes on and we preview the Argentina v Netherlands match on World Cup Chimes.

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