Design Matters: Could Manchester United’s new kit determine their destiny this season?

Design Matters: Could Manchester United’s new kit determine their destiny this season?

Ok, a quick disclaimer! I am a Man Utd fan – so not only as a fan, but also as a junior buyer, did I feel the pain of the 1996 grey kit fiasco.

So this big question is, is history going to repeat itself? As we approach the start of the 2023/24 Premier League season, Man Utd have unveiled their new away kit in which they hope will build on a positive first season under Erik ten Hag. While not officially confirming their away and third kits, social media circles have been going crazy over leaked images and mock-up replicas of what they think will be the official designs.

In and amongst these circles and news page comment sections, you’ll find it overflown with debates about the new apparel – is it paying homage to the club’s old school colours? Or – taken directly from Twitter – are they “participating in a secret competition to see who will have the worst kit of the season”?

Now I might have my own opinions on these new kits, but it does lead you to question, how could designs of football jerseys cause so much debate – and should it really? Do the clothes make the team? Or does the team make the clothes?

The human brain works in many complex ways, being able to associate one thing with another, being one of them. This easy yet dangerous game can easily play with our minds. In the world of football, it could be all too easy for a kit to resemble the direction of the team on the pitch. If Man United begin a season of great success, this kit could unanimously make everyone think it was the best. Vice versa, if they were to underperform, it could be considered in the eyes of some as even more of a failure, and the kit would be blamed for the loss. But can we really blame design for the lack of players skills? Is the correlation between apparel and ability really that strong?

The public also appears to be criticising the different prints of the new kits, with some saying it reflects traditional roots with the dark green, and others complaining it changes the colours fans have been barracking by since the early 1900s.

It’s interesting to think about how in the world of sport, colour can mean everything. It’s yet another way fashion shows us its defining power, and its global, wide-reaching impact.

Whether you’re a Man U fan or not, what do you think about the new kits? Do you think the impact of a team’s kit is as strong as we perceive it to be?

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