Now I'm not an all out, rattle-waving football fan, but I do like to watch a good match and I always get a thrill watching England play. And it's been hard not to be aware of the controversy surrounding the new England kit revealed on Saturday at the friendly against Slovakia. 5 Live's Alan Green even went as far as calling it "grotesque".
I think it's fantastic. It has tapped into the mood of a nation. It's reserved retro styling, soft, aertex-like appearance, and neat tailoring sums up beautifully the nostalgia-austerity-mend and make do era that we have now entered. Rather than the gaudy go-faster stripes, chavvish cut and wealth flaunting designs of the past this kit has introduced a bespoke reserve, requiring that, as Simon Mills says in the Guardian today, "every England player's ham-sized thigh and ripped chest was measured for size." Not only is this expression of Brand England hitting the crest of the national mood wave, it's also creating a level of interest and excitement way beyond that of just watching football (if that is possible!)
As a complete sense of Englishness oozes through every fibre the three lions look better than ever and the logo of Umbro proud and relevant. Established in 1924 this English brand has been tailoring kits for the England football team for 85 years. Their approach to this season's kit is refreshing and sensitive, involving the primary customers, the team, and distilling the essence of the brand beautifully. The website announces, "Once again, Umbro brings together the traditional values of classic tailoring with modern fabric technology and a revolutionary design philosophy. The new England kit is the proud result. Honoring the past, looking forward to the future. The right shirt at the right time. Tailored by Umbro. Tailored by England."
If the welling pride and ham-sized thighs and ripped chests haven't made you feel like a lie down, watch this...