Home & H’Away: Black Cats Kits with SAFC Blog

With football on furlough, we invited Shaun Urquhart from SAFC Blog to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of the Black Cats’ kits.

Shaun has followed the Black Cats for 30 years longer than any of us who’ve only recently been drawn into the bellyache that supporting the club will give you through Netflix’s “Sunderland Til I Die.”

With no live football, and a brief hiatus from www.safcblog.com on the cards, we invited Shaun to join us for a look through the good, the bad and the ugly shirts Sunderland have worn home and away.

Over to you Shaun!

Get Your Kits Out For The Lads!

Home kit & away kit – simple?

Keep it Simple Sunderland: Red and white stripes, black shorts. No messing around

Theoretically yes, financially no. 

Like many others, the team I follow has at least 2 new kits every summer. 

Red and White stripes should be pretty simple to get right though?

Therein lies a problem, over the years manufacturers have managed to make a mess of such a simple, yet brilliant design.

The ‘Butchers Apron’ from 2017/18 – rather fittingly it was worn by possibly the worst Sunderland team in living memory?’
Nike got plenty of stick for their first offering in English football – ironically it’s become something of an iconic kit over the years

Away kits through the years . . .

There’s only so much variety you can bring to Red and White stripes. 

The Black Cats’ away kits have therefore offered a whole new world of opportunity, and bringing out a new alternative shirt every summer, means that by the law of averages . . .

You’ll have some great kits . . .
. . . you’ll have kits that some love and some hate . . .
. . . and you’ll have some absolute shockers!

Finance 1, Tradition 0.

I accept the reasons why kits change as often as they do, I guess if idiots like me didn’t buy them – they wouldn’t have such a market.

What I don’t accept is when a club’s big game is affected – City v United, Liverpool v Everton, Rangers v Celtic etc . . . these are just too huge and traditional events to be messed with?

‘We are Red And White, They are Black and White. Shouldn’t some things be kept sacred in the respect of kit choice?

Quality control . . .

A consequence of getting older, is that you moan about how things used to be better than they are now.

A lot of the time this is synonymous with being grumpy and doesn’t actually ring true.

Thirty years ago I’d have been wrestling with a typewriter and then posting this article off, as opposed to typing in on a tablet and emailing it over.

Yet when it comes to football shirts, the quality is light years behind what it used to be.

It’s worth adding that Sunderland are now a League 1 club without a pot to piss in.

For example, New Balance’s Liverpool kit is decent quality, but I can’t imagine the office lackey at Anfield is given the remit of securing the cheapest shite he can find!

Charlton Vs Sunderland, First Division Play-Off Final, Wembley Stadium, May 1998

Not my favourite Sunderland away kit, but the quality is there to admire.

Charlton Vs Sunderland, League One Play-Off Final, Wembley Stadium, May 2019

21 years later we headed back to Wembley to let Charlton break our hearts again.

We again wore our away shirt, but in the week leading up to the game, the club released the home shirt for the following season.

‘Just £54.99 . . . for a red and white t-shirt with a stick on badge . . . ”

Obviously a camera can only tell so much, but the disparity in quality in 21 years was alarming.

For those reading who think the “sponsor looks a bit stuck on,” it was changed from BetDaq (new laws incoming) at the last minute.

No issue with the new sponsor . . . but £54.99!

“New sponsor . . . no problem . . . just stick the new one over the top . . . ”

“You had one job.”

Bizarrely one of my favourite Sunderland away kits was only worn once and never marketed.

A trip to watch Sunderland away at Palace on a Monday night (cheers SKY) affords plenty of time to chew the fat.

Monday 3rd November 2014 on the journey south, the following topic was raised:

‘They play in red and blue, our home kit is red and our away kit is blue….. they’ll have thought of that won’t they?”

“It’s blue, that could be a problem?”

So, inadvertently, a beautiful away kit was born.

Worn once – one win – a thing of beauty

Losing our tradition?

The frequency of kit releases mean it’s inevitable that tradition will take a back seat, but there’s been a bit of a kick-back in recent years.

West Brom and City
York City: top tier kit, sadly 6th tier team

The Joy of 6 . . .

Six is a magic number if you support Sunderland, with this in mind, I thought I’d go for a Top 6, rather than the more traditional Top 5.

“Six in a row . . . lovely”

Final Verdict

Game of opinions as always, but the top Sunderland 6 away shirts for me are:

6th . . .

5th . . .

4th . . .

3rd . . .

2nd . . .

1st . . .

Next Season.

We don’t know when this will be but we will all be due a lift.

Sunderland are moving from Adidas back to Nike, and whilst I’m expecting some generic teamwear;

Come on Nike, you know what to do to make us happy . . . go on . . . JUST DO IT!

Massive thanks go to Shaun Urquhart for taking the time to share his stream of consciousness on Sunderland shirts with us on Sartorial.Soccer!

For the full story and many, many more adventures besides, then please visit – https://safcblog.com/get-your-kits-out-for-the-lads/

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