Tag Archives: kit

The Arsenal Shirt – Part of the Fabric of our Club

Some things go hand in hand with a football club.

It can be their rickety stadium, their vociferous fans or it could be one of their luminaries that changed the sport. Whatever it is, there are things that embody a football club. It is their brand and they should cherish it.

Probably the most iconic thing about a football club is their jersey, and Arsenal’s red and white combo is instantly recognisable the world over. No matter the manufacturer of the kit, the white sleeves and red torso on the Gunners shirts are part of the fabric of the club.

Never has this been clearer, than recently when pictures of next seasons kit were leaked – reportedly.

Arsenal's reported new kit from 2018/19

The outcry on social media was fierce, and it propelled a legend or two to comment on the travesty that is our projected home kit for 2018/19. Ian Wright tweeted and posted on Instagram to decry this planned jersey, and rightfully so.

While it maintains the red and white we so hold dear, the manner in which the design is welded together leaves many to think that a lack of care was put into the process that Puma implemented when they gathered round the table to discuss the Gunners shirt.

The relationship with Puma has been a rocky one to say the least. The designs which have been thrust upon us have split the crowd, and for every hit (this seasons black and pink number is quite fetching) there has been a glaring miss (the abomination that is this seasons away kit).

It has led to many of us musing on whether the kit is actually cursed, the ugly piece of kit may well be doing all it can to put its own bad juju on proceedings.

Stories of parts of the kit coming away in the wash and fading of colours have done nothing to inspire confidence in Puma’s wares, and we have all harked back to more recent successes that our players have worn – the yellow kit from Nike’s last season with us was classic, and faithfully upheld our values in the most fitting way.

Arsenal's away kit from 2013/14 - a beautiful design faithfully upholding our values

Then we see teams like Newcastle United sporting the very same designs that we are now wearing – it gives off a fair whiff of laziness coming from Puma’s direction. We are The Arsenal, and we shouldn’t be sharing designs with anyone.

The shirt should be a form of muse for our players. It should inspire new heights for our men, and instill a sense of awe and fear in our opponents. It should also be aesthetically pleasing enough to push us into forking out the copious amounts of dough to purchase them – it would be very insightful to find out sales figures for our blue kit this season in comparison to others.

The book – The Arsenal Shirt – by James Elkin and Simon Shakeshaft did a fantastic job of highlighting what the shirt means to us all. There were a few amid the outcry recently that questioned the level of response toward what is essentially only a shirt, but if you read this wonderful book, it tells you with every glorious page turn, why our shirt is so important.

Some may see it as trivial, but every part of our club’s history is what makes us The Arsenal. Every strand is woven intricately into what comprises us, what makes us unique. We need to hold our values dear and protect them, otherwise the current hunger for business will engulf the character of each and every club.

The new shirt may well be used next season, and it will still sell, but hopefully, Puma’s social media presence will pick up on our displeasure and go back to the drawing board.

If not, then we can cross our fingers that from the season after, our new kit manufacturers ensure they are well versed in Arsenal lore before they put pen to paper.

It isn’t just a shirt, it never is.

It’s part of who we are.

Thank You, Vic Akers

It isn’t just Arsene Wenger that deserves a fitting send-off.

How’s about an Islington born boy who has been at the club in numerous capacities since 1986, making the newly formed Arsenal Ladies side the most successful English ladies side in history, winning thirty two honours, being awarded an OBE and now is the man responsible for ensuring our club are kitted out?

Step forward, Vic Akers, the true definition of an Arsenal hero.

Vic Akers, Arsenal icon

Vic is the embodiment of what us fans want from a player. True dedication, nothing but love for the cannon and puts everything into his work. Akers has not only served Arsenal well – he shone a light on the Women’s game that wasn’t illuminated previously.

His Arsenal Ladies team’s – and it is plural as he reinvented the side regularly in his tenure as Manager – highlighted the skills on show in the female game. His all-conquering Gunners side were also the first English team to lift the European Cup.

Thanks to his work, the WSL is now growing at an exponential rate, but from a humble seed do mighty oaks grow, and the bedrock for the success in today’s incarnation of the English Women’s game lies at the feet of Vic Aker’s Arsenal teams.

The man famous for sparking the ‘Postman’ fashion trend – perennially in shorts, no matter the weather – Akers has been a mainstay during the reins of both Graham and Wenger, and this season will be his last at the club.

His work will be continued by his son, but not much is known about Akers prior to joining Arsenal as part of the Community scheme the Gunners were running at the time and continue to do.

Vic, much like other successful managers, was a journeyman professional football player, playing as a full-back during the 70’s for the likes of Cambridge United and Watford. Upon hanging up his boots, he took the chance to join his boyhood club working behind the scenes and strengthening the link between the club and the locals. A job very much close to his heart being a local boy himself.

It will be his efforts as Arsenal Ladies Manager from 1987 through to 2009 that set him apart however. 22 years and 32 trophies is a record that sees him in illustrious company, and even in the last decade when competition for trophies became fiercer than ever, his tactical nous and training ground work saw his Gunners girls stay ahead of the competition, even winning the European Cup in 2007 – something the currently cash-rich Chelsea and Man City Ladies team’s have failed to do.

Vic Akers will no doubt say goodbye to the club with well-wishes from everyone at the club, but fan recognition for his service will be lower than he deserves, simply because he flew below the radar, letting his work do the talking rather than take the plaudits he so richly warrants.

Arsenal have been lucky to have had some bona fide legends in their time, but Vic Akers is without doubt one of the biggest. We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for what he has achieved and also – how much he loved the club when he did it.

Thank you Vic Akers.

Chivas 1-3 Arsenal – 5 Things We Learned

The next match on our US tour, taking place after a glitzy kit launch in LA, saw another win for Arsenal.

Rob Holding – and the new alternate 3rd kit – took centre stage, but another much changed lineup saw the Gunners put a physical Guadalajara side to the sword with some physicality and a sprinkling of invention.

Some may argue regarding what can be taken from a friendly game. The pressure that either makes or breaks a player is less stifling, so any displays must be taken with a pinch of salt, but objectively, there is also plenty to be taken as positives after such a result – much like our 2-1 win over the MLS All-Stars.

The ninety minutes that unfolded in the StubHub Center gave plenty of pointers for the coming season, and there is plenty of cause for optimism – and angst….

Rob Holding continues to impress, and may have bearing on our transfer targets

The fresh faced 21yr old signed from Bolton less than two weeks ago had an impressive 70 minutes in the victory over the MLS Allstars, but it was his first game, and there is a meagre amount that could have told us whether he will be a success. This match is much the same for the youngster, but a consecutive impressive appearance and his first goal could tip the balance in the pecking order for the centre backs at the club. He is comfortable on the ball,and his reactions are superb. He will hit a rocky patch in the future, but he is showing why he was so highly rated during his debut season at Bolton. Will Wenger now invest in an experienced central defender if Holding continues this incline?

Jack Wilshere is only out for a week – not a year.

The last time Jack Wilshere played a friendly in the US, he incurred an injury which kept him out for an entire season. This time though, Wenger has reassured us fans that Jack has merely strained the patella in his knee and is expected back within a week – but may miss the match against Manchester City in Gothenburg. Whatever injury he has picked up, what is imperative is that he gets the required rest. We pray that the week that has been diagnosed is not an Arsenal week, which would mean at least 32 weeks out….

Xhaka made his first start – and looked like he had been there for years

Granit patiently bided his time before he could start a game, offering fans only tantalising titbits of action and sightings. This game was the equivalent of when a gameshow finally shows contestants what they could win – and boy is it good. His positional play is so disciplined, and he seems to have an unerring ability to be exactly where the team needs him – be it in attack or defence. His passing was on point, his tackling just as good, and he seems to be as fit as a fiddle. Could we have another five of him please?

Coquelin, Santi and Elneny all at loggerheads for spots

What has been apparent is that Coquelin has taken no prisoners during this tour, and is keen to press home the one advantage he has over his midfield rivals, and that is his tackling. Whilst he has been snapping away at the opposition tirelessly, Santi played in this game too, also donning the Skippers armband. Santi is perhaps one of the most blessed in terms of talent, and his workrate is not to be sniffed at. In terms of who looks to have the advantage so far though? Elneny may just be edging it. Tireless displays, great passing, and he hasn’t been afraid to push forward and have an effort from outside of the box. It may just be fitness that stops Santi getting the spot ahead of Elneny, but against Guadalajara, Coquelin and Xhaka started in the 2 of a 4-2-3-1, with Santi taking the coveted Number10 role. Elneny came on at half time, but will he get the nod to partner Xhaka against Liverpool on the 14th? 

Debuchy is that doggy in the window

It could be misconstrued that with Mathieu Debuchy gaining so much game time so far in the friendlies played, that the French rightback may just have forced himself into the Managers thinking. 

With Hector Bellerin slowly proving to everyone what a world class talent he is though, will Debuchy be happy playing second fiddle? Well, tha answer to that was apparent last season, when Debuchy went on loan to Bordeaux, rather than sit on the bench. Of course, he had dreams of making the Euro 2016 squad, but Debuchy wants to play, and his displays so far have had a slight air of needing to impress. It won’t be Wenger he is trying to lure with his gung-ho attitude though, it will be the managers who would have been watching the match. He will proveto be a fine acquisition for a top team, but Debuchy gave away the penalty which allowed Chivas to score in this game – and his aggression was at times too high for a game designed to be a barometer for his side rather than touching the mercury. Debuchy will no doubt earn a moe from Arsenal, but stranger things have happened.
Other noteworthy mentions would be Chuba Akpom scoring his second in two cameos on tour, which indicates a high level of confidence for the youngster. He is full of willing and has a good touch, but needs to work on his hold up play a little. Chambers played well alongside Holding, and Theo takes the brunt of the abuse, but I predict he will come good. Also, The Ox scored an absolutely great goal, cutting in from the right, skinning his opponent, before curling past the keeper. The sky is the limit for him, if he can maintain a modicum of form and fitness. Both are equally important and have been just as rare for the young England man.

Like I said, there was plenty to take from the game. Fitness levels looked good, and with two friendlies yet to be played, there is still time for some fine tuning – and perhaps an addition or two would be welcome?

One more thing that we can take from this game? We scored from a set-piece. A rarity in domestic fixtures, but Santi flighted in a free kick, Chambers knocked it back at the back post, and there was Holding. Why can’t we do that more often?
My thanks again to @kittyglitter – a Gooner who is a must follow.