In the fast-moving world of new season football kit releases, the trend of shirts being “inspired” by things is a constant.
This week we saw a Manchester City away shirt “inspired” by the Hacienda nightclub. Last year there was a Manchester United kit “inspired” by the Pink Final newspaper and there’s also a Chelsea kit “inspired” by their stadium design.
Today, Everton launched their new home kit for 2019/20 and almost inevitably, it’s been inspired by something - in this case their famous Goodison Park home. As one of the most traditional and atmospheric grounds in the Premier League, there are rich pickings for the designers and they’ve decided to focus on the architecture of Archibald Leitch.
Very much the leader in his field between 1899 and 1939, evidence of Leitch’s work can be seen all over the country. With a penchant for mock tudor, Leitch was in demand for famous venues including Anfield, Old Trafford and Ibrox.
His legacy lives on at grounds like Goodison though much of his most famous work has been wiped out as a result of ground improvements or stadiums being demolished.
In 1907, Leitch designed a new double-decker Goodison Road stand. The Scotsman would also design the next two new stands of the ground: both two-tiered, the first was the new Bullens Road stand in 1926 and the second the new Gwladys Street End in 1938 which featured the now iconic crisscrossed latticework. The crisscross would become Leitch’s trademark.
Everton’s new shirt features a girder effect across the chest which Umbro describes as a “bold new design twist” and “iconic”. Everton shirts have rarely strayed away from a traditional all royal blue design with only a subtle graphic, sublimation or trim being added here and there.
As a brand, Umbro are enjoying something of a resurgence. They now have the kit contracts for several Premier League and Bundesliga teams and their recent work for West Ham won plenty of admirers. As one of the most famous football brands they have - quite rightly - made the most of their impressive back catalogue.
Alan McTavish, commercial director at Everton, said: “For the 2019-20 season we are combining Umbro’s innovative kit manufacturing techniques and performance enhancing material with a design that encompasses both our proud history and our ambitions for the future.
“The crisscross Archibald Leitch girders are synonymous with any match day at Goodison Park. They are a symbol of the unwavering support and strength of our fanbase. Incorporating the design on our shirt for 2019-20 connects the passion of our players, our fans and the Club as a whole, as we move into the new season as an ambitious and forward-looking club.”
Robin Dunn, Head of Performance at Umbro UK said “We knew we wanted to do something different, distinctive and bold with the man body of the jersey for the 19/20 season, and we really wanted to connect the fans and players through the iconic stadium architecture and the club’s proud history with Umbro as a brand, 2 things that really feed well into our ‘Built to Last theme’ for the kit launch.
“We hope the new 19/20 strip will strike a chord with the Goodison faithful and fans further afield to create new and lasting memories both on and off the pitch.”
To celebrate the launch of the new strip, Everton and Umbro have produced St. Domingo, a limited edition shirtzine based on the Built to Last theme which includes exclusive interviews, features and an insight into the design of the shirt.