Home thoughts from abroad – Issue 66

Posted by in July's Magazine

One of the challenges you have when writing a column is how do you get and then keep people’s attention, do you plunge straight into the meat of the issue or take a wander down a side street and risk losing people on the way? Do you brazenly target the different groups straight out? Guys we are talking football this month! Or, it’s fashion and design gals! Also, when writing a regular column in a monthly magazine, you have to plan ahead, you have to be on the ball and look to see what will be newsworthy when the magazine hits the street rather than what’s going on now. This requires a certain amount of organisation and clarity of thinking, which is why I am not very good at it!

So in June I think, ‘the next big thing is the World Cup’, simple huh? Only my poor brain didn’t work out that it may be topical in June, when I am planning and writing, but when The Leither is published in July it will be all over. The fans will have headed home, passions spent and hearts broken.


All that will be left is empty stadia and World Cup merchandise blowing in the wind. So you will have to bear with me, I can only use my trusty crystal ball to predict what will happen where as you my dear readers will have the benefit of twenty-twenty hindsight!

England win World Cup
My prediction is that England, will scrape through the opening rounds and once again fail somewhere around the quarterfinals, despite the fact that this time they had a better than average chance of doing well. Why? Because their kit this year is classic that’s why, no frills or embellishments, just pure white for the home kit and red for the away. You see, success relies not so much on talent as on karma, it’s no guarantee that you will win, but it allows you to at least buy a ticket, it’s something that Brazil and Italy have understood for many years, they don’t mess with their kits, they retain classic lines. There is purity to the Azzuri blue and the Brazilian yellow, they don’t go for stripes here and shoulder flashes there. When England did win the World Cup, (sorry to mention it but it is pertinent to the story) they had a classic simple kit, the winning red shirt is a design icon, the only challenger they could have had was Scotland, their strip from the 60s makes even this Sassenachs heart melt, the deep blue, the white collar and cuffs and the beautiful crest hand stitched to the jersey, a shirt designed for self-proclaimed World Champions!

Since then England and Scotland’s failures have not been so much because of an inability to score goals (Scotland) or an inability to score penalties (England) but an inability to design a decent kit. Had either team won anything we would have been condemned to a lifetime of retro fashion statements of the worst kind. England’s continued dalliance over the years for white with lashings of red and blue (David Batty you are forgiven for your rubbish penalty against Argentina!).

Gareth Southgate you too are forgiven…we could have been lumbered with the grey change strip from Euro 96! England winning anything in that kit would have been a travesty.

Scotland have also sought to distance themselves from success by designing kits that should not be seen in public, it started to go wrong in the 70s; a blue hoop round the shorts, a tartan shirt, white with a pale blue saltire, the never to be forgotten maroon, anyone for pink? Erm, yes. Marketing men should stay away from inflicting upon football kits designs that have little to do with tradition and everything to do with what looks good with a pair of jeans.

Mint green shocker
It’s because of this that I worry for my club teams – Chelsea will have a miserable year, because someone has decided that the classic blue needs the addition of a red collar. Red I ask you! The marketing blurb waffles on about strengthening the links between the club and the Chelsea Pensioners, who wear red uniforms…bollocks. Chelsea wear blue and white, their other colour is yellow, all worn in perfect harmony in the 70s cup winning teams.

Meanwhile Hibernian’s new home kit is fine – the green isn’t quite dark enough but hey! – however the away kit is mint green, yes mint…that’s how the marketing bods describe it. I ask you, who wins anything wearing mint? No good will come of it I tell you! No good. An Englishman in Leith

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