9 June 2011


With Brighton and Hove Jobs big cheese Gary Peters tweeting his pride at seeing the new Albion shirt being manufactured, it bought back that familier feeling of anxiety ahead of any press launches including the words 'Technical Kit Suppliers', 'Brighton and Hove Albion' and 'Errea'.

The video of which the recruitment entrepreneur spoke of got us quite interested.  He tweeted that he saw the shirt being made, which leads TSLR to presume that it was the flash Parma factory on show, not the rumoured Errea sweatshop in Romania (hey, at least it's in the EU).

As design goes, we have heard good things about the new kit, and last year's home effort was probably the most popular shirt since 1999/2000.  This must be down to the fact that all Errea designers have accreditation from the Italian Institute of Art, an establishment that has no website or Wikipedia page.  We can only guess that it's highly exclusive, for instance, look at the Milano catwalk influence on our modern classics like last year's mustard/navy striped away kit.

We are also made aware of the fact that we get bespoke designs from Errea, a privilage of course made possible because of our close links with the manufacturers and their team.  We won't go on about the template away kits we've also had from Errea over the last few years because we don't want to spoil the illusion, but we presume the off-the-peg designs are a lot cheaper for the club to buy and re-sell exclusively in their outlets.

Errea's bespoke designs are quite pretty though.  Above you'll see the new Mansfield Town kit, a generic Errea template that doesn't exactly get the tongue wagging but probably fits with the Stag's budgets and expectations of sales.

Now check out the new Norwich City shirt.  Quite a coup for Errea, this classic design will be worn in the Premiership and has drawn plaudits on the football shirt blogs for it's restrained features and subtle touches.

You might have seen the accompaning video (here) that promoted the new shirt, quite funny we think, though undoubtedly nothing to do with Errea!

If you're expecting something similar from our dazzling marketing department, we imagine it'll be more like this beauty we found from Inverness Caledonian Thistle who sent Terry Butcher out to Parma to make a pizza!

So, as far as Italian stereotypes go,  Norwich in their video have used unsportsmanlike behaviour, coffee, narcissism and a moped whilst austere Caley Thistle have just used the pizza card.

Where does this leave Albion in terms of their promo?  Here at TSLR HQ we have our fingers crossed for a Tony Bloom / Gullys Girls bunga-bunga party scene in a Tuscan villa, or how about a Gus amd Tanno Godfather set-up with some Croydon scallywag waking up with Fran Sandaza's head next to them?

Either way, the club would do well to engage fans in the design process of our shirts as opposed to the boardroom brain storms that currently make do. In an interview with Errea's UK account manager a couple of years ago, DesignFootball.com were told that clubs that offer a range of shirts to fans to vote on have - in this case Grimsby Town - "a very close connection to the club's fans", whilst Middlebrough fans also enjoyed having their voices heard when working with the Italians; Errea being the first manufacturer in England to involve fans in the design process.  Do we not have a close bond between club and fans?

Anyway, fingers crossed. The next home shirt will probably be the most-purchased in our history, let's hope it reflects everything and everybody that was involved in getting us to this position in the first place.

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