Do you ever just look at someone and wonder how they get paid to do what they do? This thought is constantly lingering in the back of my mind as I sift through the seemingly endless soccer jerseys that need critiquing. Now, it may be a bit harsh to look at someone’s work in such a subjective field and rip it to shreds, but sometimes you run into something that’s just so heavily disappointing that it seems to push the boundaries between opinion and what’s right or wrong.
That’s exactly how I felt when I came across the jerseys of Liverpool Football Club, an elite team playing in England. Designed by Warrior (they make soccer uniforms??? Exactly), these jerseys have been bad for many years, now, and have touched every aspect of uniform error. They’ve been boring, they’ve been hideous, they’ve been confusing, and with each new installment they leave the team with less and less of an on-field identity, making me far less likely to wear a shirt if I was given one for FREE, let alone BUY one.
So, at this point, I should probably show you what has me so riled up. But first, I have to give Warrior some credit. The red, first-choice Liverpool jerseys are excellent this season.
I have to say it would be pretty hard to mess up this jersey. Liverpool always wear a classic, all-red uniform with little design. However, I have seen it done poorly in the past when overcomplicated. The white piping along with the white lettering is very simple, which is good because the focus should be on the red color, which is very vibrant (they are nicknamed the “Reds,” after all). All in all, I like it, which gives me a positive note to introduce a new aspect of my critiques: grades for all jerseys! For this one:
So hats off to you, Warrior, you got one of the jerseys right. But now let’s take a look at the second-choice yellow and third-choice black jerseys.
Three problems with the yellow jersey:
1) It looks like Ronald McDonald’s jumpsuit
2) I’m not entirely sure why, but it looks like a warmup shirt rather than a game jersey. Teams generally wear warmup shirts that are a barely-related, solid color with minimal design, and this one fits the bill. Yellow is only ever used as a complementary color in Liverpool shirts, making this adaptation feel unwelcome.
3) It’s booooooooring. Yellow, when complemented by a very dark color, can be eye-catching. But with the red it just looks dull. Also, there’s hardly any design! Not much on the front, nothing on the sleeves. Just a big, thick, awkward, wavy red line going across the top.
You already have a simple jersey, guys! Make something different!
Well, they tried to do just that with the black, third-choice jersey, and, to be honest, this one isn’t THAT bad. It’s just the sash. I could really do without it. It doesn’t mean or signify anything and the placement is just very awkward. Without it, the jersey wouldn’t be half bad. But, it’s there, and it’s ugly. I have to deduct points.
Now would usually be the time for my big reveal. I feel the need, however, to go back to last season’s jerseys just so you can get an idea of how truly incompetent these designers are. I present to you the white, second-choice and multicolored, third-choice jerseys for the 2013/2014 Liverpool season.
I have to laugh because the bottom of that white jersey looks like an upside-down version of the arcade game Galaga…
…and that’s enough to make it one of the most hideous and hilarious jerseys ever seen on a soccer field. Put this next to that train wreck of bizarre colors and random shapes that they tried to pass off as a third-choice jersey and you’ve got yourself one of the worst jersey combinations in history. I’ve seen worse, however, so I’ll have to be generous.
COMBINED GRADE: D-
Now it’s officially time to reveal what I believe to be much better alternatives to the jerseys of the past couple of years. I won’t be grading my own designs because, well, that would be a little weird. So, I’ll just let you be the judge…
The decision to go with white on the first jersey was simply because I felt as though opposing the first, red jersey with a white jersey with red accents would be a good idea. So I went with the white jersey and decided that spread-out, thin, red stripes would be a good touch. But, I didn’t want to make the jersey entirely striped and decided to go with solid white arms with very close, thin red stripes towards the ends of the sleeves. The close stripes are an aesthetically pleasing feature that few teams have capitalized on. To me, it looks interesting and fresh on a jersey that has an otherwise classic look. Another new feature. is the off-center collar which has a black and red lining. Again, that is a stylistic choice that I think helps balance the new with the old.
As for the second jersey, I wanted to pick a color that I have never seen Liverpool wear before. A vibrant, exotic color that would excite people but still have some relevance to the club. That was when I noticed the light greenish-teal color in the team’s badge. It’s perfect. It jumps out at you and is definitely different, but it’s not random considering it’s been on the club’s logo for years. The thick, white line serves as a platform to keep the same logo without having to change any of the colors against the green back-drop. Additionally, the red lettering complements the jersey color and I think the way the sponsor name intersects the white line actually looks kind of cool. To finish it off, I felt as though this would be an appropriate place for a collar. The uniform needed just one more thing so it wouldn’t be lacking in design and Liverpool is looked at as a classic club with rich history, giving the collar a “classy” vibe.
All-in-all it’s a tricky business, designing and critiquing soccer jerseys. So, maybe Warrior could use a little help every now and then. I’d be happy to offer up my ideas. And hey, even if Liverpool don’t take to my ideas, maybe their owner, John Henry, could send them over to the Sox for a look.
…although I don’t think the Yankees would be too happy about the pinstripes!