It’s been a season of considerable upheaval on and off the pitch at Gloucester this year – the entire backroom staff was replaced after another season out of the playoffs, and the chequebook was compelling waved in the direction of top-notch international players such as John Afoa, Richard Hibbard and James Hook. Time will tell if all the upheaval was worthwhile, but one constant Gloucester do have this year is their home shirt, unchanged from last season. We never gave it a proper look last year, however, so let’s take a look at this shirt and the new away kit in depth to see whether more changes were actually needed…
If you’ve read this blog with any kind of consistency (and if not, why on EARTH not?!), then you’ll know that we love hooped rugby shirts as if they were our own beloved children. Classic hoops, modern hoops, subtle hoops… if theres some kind of horizontal stripe going on, we’re all over it like a fat kid on a cupcake. It stands to reason then, that Glaws, with their classic cherry and white hoops, should be onto an easy win with us, surely?
Well… you say that… but take a look at that shirt up there. Are there hoops? Well… technically… after a fashion… kinda we suppose, yes. See, what Glaws have done is committed the most heinous crime of all – trying to make a hooped shirt not really be a hooped shirt. There’s actually only one, proper full-width hoop on this jersey, the rest are either comically large, like the massive white chest panel, or tiny and pointless, like the bottom hoops, which have been needlessly constricted by some horribly ugly red bits.
It’s textbook over-designing – there’s too much going on here, too many panels, too many shapes – it barely has anything that would make you think ‘this is a Gloucester shirt’ on first glance, bar the colour. And that’s before we even get round the back…
As a rule, we try not to slate a rugby shirt because of the type or positioning of the sponsors – teams need to sell as much shirt real estate as they can to pay wages and remain competitive, it’s a sad but unavoidable reality of the professional game. However, sometimes a sponsor’s presence is so hideous, so ugly, that it just ruins a shirt. The Gloucester home shirt is pretty well ruined on its own, which is at least something we suppose, but the back of the jersey really is the Ebola flake in an ice cream of shit.
The culprits, as you’ve no doubt guessed by now, are nose-degunking specialists Olbas, who appear not once but THREE TIMES on the back of the shirt. Their logo is rubbish and shit and in an awful font, that’s a given, but why put it on THREE TIMES? Did they think there was a danger that the TV cameras would miss the massive logo on the back and thought they’d better slap some tiny ones on there too for all those ‘top of the back of the shoulder’ close-ups that rugby broadcast directors are so fond of? Combined with general over-sponsoring of the pudding, this has to be one of the most ugly jersey angles we’ve ever seen.
In contrast, the away jersey is actually rather nice – a plain black affair with some subtle red accents on the sides and an inoffensive red and white ‘wave’ across the middle.
The wave actually reminds us of the infamous ‘Burrda wave’ that appeared on pretty much every design from that company until it was mercifully euthanised for this season. It’s slightly weird to see Kooga looking at how tired that whole idea got in a very short space of time and think ‘yes, that – great!’ but in isolation it’s perfectly acceptable.
Round the back, it’s sadly the same problem as the home shirt – Olbas lingering around like a menthol-flavoured fart and generally making the place look untidy. It’s a real shame, because this could have been a perfectly nice, subtle, restrained shirt with a few less sponsors on it.
If we were Gloucester fans, we’d be counting down the minutes until next season and the new home kit that will doubtless bring – two years of having to look at something that so fundamentally buggers up the traditional look and feel of your club’s shirt is punishment enough. The away kit is actually alright, but both shirts are horribly hamstrung by a rear that squeezes out every available advertising dollar at the expense of making something you’d actually want to wear.
SHIT/GOOD RATING: SHIT