Yellow Fever: Fashion Fury Is Annual Event

THE DATE should be marked on the official club crested calendar: July 1 …” transfer window opens”….  July 2…  “new away kit launched to fans’ outrage.”

Almost every year some aberration straight from page 47 of the manufacturers catalogue is unveiled – usually after a cack-handed leak the night before – and the fashionistas and purists get the pitchforks out.

This year it is yellow. But not subtle on point hipster yellow, no this is a bright retina burning neon,  a plastic Minnion flavoured searing shade demanding sun-glasses.  And that has naturally provoked the annual backlash.



                          Mellow yellow:  well at least Albert looks happy with the new shirt.

Why the outcry? Because yellow is “not a traditional Boro colour”? What, and broad jade and hunter green stripes with gold trim was? What about a pomegrante hooped ensemble  on white? Or bruise blue and purple? Or black with red and white stripes?

I’m actually surprised that Boro haven’t had a yellow away kit given the infatuation of all things Brazil in the late 90s. Then it would have been hailed as a marketing masterstroke totally in tune with all those half-and-half Boro/Juninho scarves. Or a bit of cynical opportunism. You decide.

Away kits are always initially derided as an “affront to our history” amid a flare of fury and impassioned vows never to purchase this textile heresy taunting everything we stand for. It’s the rules. I quite like it it. It reminds me of Dortmund which is a great club with much to commend it. But there has been a lot of outright opposition and anger from other quarters. But you expect that.  Last season it was the same: a narrow striped charcoal and dark blue top with neon trim that had been the Chelsea kit the year before. Booooo.

But then, while the internet intelligensia foamed and sneered,  the masses and the kids bought them, the club sold out and announced all sales records had been smashed with our most popular ever shirt and in a few weeks everyone got used to them. It will be the same this year. By the time Boro win the title at Burnley in April the packed away end will look like Dortmund’s Yellow Wall and the eye-catching image of our heroes in a fetching shade of rubber duck will be part of our history,  like the green/green of Bryan Robson’s promotion year or the white “Y” device on blue as worn by Magic Merse and Emerson.

Of course, the away kit IS a break with history and many will bristle at the very sight. Not least because the Wembley pain inflicted by the Canaries still smarts. But in truth, it is only the home kit that has ever really been a visual vehicle for identity.  Boro are red with some kind of white flourish. We know that from our memory bank of generations of famous photographs and our own wardrobe and have discussed it many times.

But away kits are different. They have always been a mis-mash, a fashionista dog’s breakfast, a  designers guitar solo, an opportunity for sweeping self-indulgent show-off statements and free-styling,  juggling all the in vogue fashion motifs.

Every club has a host of unloved kits stashed away in the loft of shame like purple loons. I mean, that white kit with the assymetric tyre tracks across it. What was that all about? The ICI white with the pigeon muck artfully inked on one shoulder?



Best not analyse them too closely. There was no golden age of the away shirt, no period when year after year we were proud to parade around in these distinctive statements. Be honest, they are all half-forgotten emphemera. Most people don’t recognise away shirts of other sides. They are not important icons.

Now, we’d all like consistency, possibly blue and black stripes – but that’s not the deal when you sign up with a global giant.  There was a popular clamour for Adidas (“or someone like that”) as it was a big name and offered quality and brand recognition and street cred points that Errea or Skills Leisure never could.

But there is a downside to that. Unless you can deliver massive sales volume to knock Barca and Chelsea and Bayern out of their slots in the production schedule what you get from mega-corp PLC is a choice of three templated identikits designs from the catalogue, long delivery times and an inflexible supply chain.

Once the initial outrage has died, Riverside regulars will get used to them and the early refuseniks will start to buy into the yellow. Then come October when they have sold out Boro will be slammed for cocking up and not ordering enough.


167 thoughts on “Yellow Fever: Fashion Fury Is Annual Event

  1. Jutkiewicz and Vossen up fron when we play Burnley, we’ll need to score three to win that one then.

  2. Smoggypaul

    Most people are decent so your story about Rav is no surprise.

    Talking of cricket, Warwickshire are 35-5 at the moment, Sidebottom 5 for 22 off 7 overs.

  3. Ian –

    Not only are Yorkshire on top, Murray is two sets to love up at Wimbledon, great day of summer sport. Enjoy it before the Aussies hit their stride!

    By the way couldn’t see Stewie in the Wimbledon crowd, wonder where he is………

  4. Redcar

    All my posts have a footie reference in them, all summer sport being a temporary diversion!

    Although I’m getting a bit tetchy in this heat at the lack of transfer news.

  5. Are people from Stokesley, Great Ayton and Thirsk allowed to be Boro fans? They do live in North Yorkshire. Maybe Gibbo should refer to those living in Hambleton as Leeds fans.

    Will the report after Saturdays match use references to **** City?

    Who knows?

  6. I’m a tad worried about the players we are supposedly looking at and the player in Vossen that we have overlooked.

    As many on here have pointed out Daryl Murphy has had one good goalscoring season in his entire career, and furthermore he was playing in a front two. I have said on here numerous times our system is not set up to score bagfuls of goals and I have no doubt as a lone striker Daryl Murphy would struggle to get 15 goals never mind the +20 we are looking for.

    Then there is Downing. I think he’s a fantastic player, but recently all his best games have been in the number ten role. Will he score enough to be that player in the Championship? If he does play there then surely we need a more mobile striker than Daryl Murphy?

    Then there is Vossen. For me he made Bamford look a quality player. So many of Bamfords goals came through Vossen’s touches. He very rarely started up front and in his first season got 9 goals. If you ask me who is the better footballer out of Vossen or Murphy I would go for Vossen everytime. Plus he’s £2m cheaper and 6 years younger. People are saying it was too much of a risk to waste £2.5m on Vossen when money is tight but £4.5m on a striker who has had one good season in 15 is surely a far greater risk. Bamford/Vossen or Murphy/Downing? Not much in it in my opinion and Murphy/Downing will cost us over £10m and they have no sell on value whatsoever. Maybe Vossen isn’t such a risk after all!

    Was so excited at the start of this summer thinking the platform was there to build on but the signings of Murphy and Downing will leave us skint and in my opinion those two alone are not enough to turn us into a championship promotion team.

    **AV writes: Boro need something different up front to provide a different option. I think everyone agreed with that in May. There is a limited budget and I don’t think we can afford to spend money on maintaining the “same” balance AND add something extra up front AND bring in more creativity in midfield. I think sometimes you just have to trust the football professionals at the club to bring in the people they believe can add to the skill set, increase options and make the team more effective.

    1. Well said AV.

      It’s SG’s money and if he thinks this is the best way to spend it who are we to argue with him? At least he is showing some ambition and going for it this season again. I’m sure they’ve looked at all the options available and that they think this is the one that’s a winning combination, and I agree.

      Paul –

      Vossen had his chance and the club obviously don’t think he justifies the price tag. Yes I like him too and in a perfect world we would have enough money to sign him, Downing and Murphy. Buts it’s not and I would go with Downing and Murphy any day of the week. He got 20 more league goals than Vossen – TWENTY! – in a weaker team.

      It only matters how much the deals for Murphy and Downing costs the club if we don’t go up. Personally I’m happy in the fact that if the club is willing to risk both these deals then they obviously think the risk is worth taking.

      I personally think Downing will be played on the left wing next season with Tomlin number 10, Adomah on the right with Murphy up front. Maybe there’s more signings to come too.

      AV alluded to a keeper the club had named to him as a target and it seems as though we will be back in for Kalas. I reckon we will sign another centre back who is versatile and can maybe play in a defensive midfield role too or left back or a centre back who can play left back then sign another defensive midfielder. I reckon if we get Murphy we will try to sign another number 10 on loan and maybe another winger.

      So all in all I think we’ve got another 7 signings on the way permanently or on loan.

      **AV writes: I don’t think the keeper is a priority target. They aren’t pro-actively chasing him. More keeping an eye on possible availability as the window develops and if and when they have money and space in the wage bill. Getting right up front first is where the effort of going right now.

      1. I agree that if you solely go on last season then Daryl Murphy is a far better bet than Vossen. However, I simply make the point that it is a huge risk with a player with very little sell on value. Probably as big a risk as signing Vossen. If you look at the last 3 seasons Vossens goalscoring is vastly superior to Daryl Murphys so stats can be spun anyway you want them to.

        Also Downing on the wing is not the same player that we let go all those years ago. West Ham fans will testify to how poor he actually was when played out wide and that it was only when he was in the number ten position that he looked the fantastic player we know he can be.

        If Tomlin plays next season he must improve on his one good game every three that he currently seems to trend towards.

        Sorry I sound so negative and I know that if Downing plays out wide and whips crosses in to Murphy and he is scoring for fun again I will hold my hands up and say what do I know, but it is a huge risk on ageing players, which has been tried once before and left us with no hope of promotion for a number of years.

        Losing Bamford definitely meant we needed another striker up top but most of Bamford’s goals came from being pacy and getting behind the oppositions defence. Murphy won’t do that he’ll need crosses coming into the box. If we’re asking Murphy to hold up the ball as a target man then we need at least one of our midfield two of Leadbitter or Clayton to cross the half way line which they seemed at pains to do at certain stages last season. I don’t think it’s as simple as saying let’s change the players we have up front and we’ll score more goals.

        AV I completely agree that AK had an amazing first season and he deserves complete support to try and put out a team that he feels gives us the best opportunity for promotion and that for the moment we should have complete faith in his judgement. But this is a messageboard and it’s all about conflicting opinions and views. Murphy/Downing if they sign may be brilliant and if they are I’ll hold my hands up and say my doubts were completely unfounded (or probably more likely i’ll just go dark for a while and bask in the glory of Boro winning) 😉 We’ll see how it all unfolds and what our squad looks like at the big kick off.

  7. If the players reported back yesterday, was Woody there? Or will he make a desision after the Downing deal is won or lost? I could imagine the pair would like to “save” Boro and get us promoted.

    Up the Boro!

  8. Paul –

    I am not going to support Tomlin’s one in three stats, you get what you get with him.

    We regularly have the debate about players being able to play in more than one position.

    Five of our best players were Dimi, Ayala, Gibson, Friend and Leadbelter. I didn’t see Dimi up front, Grant left wing, George at right back etc.

    Just like with Barry Robson, play him down the middle and he was at his best. Put him on the right flank and he wasn’t as good, he didn’t have the pace and wanted to follow the ball. He did a job for us.

    Tomlin is better when we are on the front foot so he can do his tricks around their box. He isn’t good enough to perform like Eden Hazard, that is why he is in our squad not Chelseas.

    I know Boro Phil will come on and post.

    1. True enough, Ian, but tactics aren’t necessarily about getting the best out of individual players. It’s what’s best for the team as a whole the counts most (though the two largely go hand in hand).

      Even Messi found himself selected wide on the right for Barcelona last season, having scored about a goal a game in a false 9/no. 10 position previously (though he broke through on the right).

  9. AV

    Can you shed any light on why they are taking season cards off the market on 17 July?? My renewal was safely pocketed months ago so i’m not personally worried!

    Are they trying to create a Stewy Downing-inspired mad panic / scramble in the next 10 days? It would surely make sense to have season cards available right up to the big kick-off (and then thereafter at a different price if they so wish).

    I was disappointed to see Vossen go elsewhere – I think he’ll do well and Burnley must be grateful to us for giving him his Champo bedding in period.

    **AV writes: Don’t they always do that with season tickets? It is daft but I think it the normal process. Then they announce on day prices. Then don’t they go on sale again?

  10. Andy R

    I agree totally but if people are not in the position or part of the pitch best suited for them you wont get the best individual performance out of them.

    An irritation coming back to the office was a noisy motorbike. There was a sports bulletin on Talksport and I am sure there was an item about Downing that was drowned out saying fee had been agreed. I could have misheard because once the volume died down other players were being mentioned.

  11. A number of significant bets prompted Sky Bet to slash their odds on Stewart Downing joining Middlesbrough in the current transfer window from 1/3 to 1/10.

    Though it makes you wonder about the whole scheme of things around betting on such matters as surely there will be some people in the know (e.g. employees of either club or off-record briefed journalist) who may have the opportunity to tip-off professional gamblers (or young men with more money than they know what to do with that may also happen to play professional football) in return for a some slice of the action.

    It’s probably impossible to stop the flow of information in this social media age and in the end who cares if bookies take a hit (probably not even themselves) as they no doubt run a profit on betting on other speculation that never materialises.

    But odds of 1/10 probably means the deal is 90% likely to happen otherwise the odds would be even greater.

  12. Werdermouth

    As I posted earlier I am sure the report said a fee had been agreed for Downing. Motor cyclists sat beside you at lights revving up hoping we car drivers get out of their way as they jump the queue at lights.

  13. If we’re going to go up this year, we’re going to have to be that little bit better than last year and maybe a little bit different. It wouldn’t surprise me if AK decides to play with an extra man pushing up and only one man in front of the back four.

    Whether that will be a two man front two to accommodate maybe Murphy and Kike or a four man midfield with Downing and Tomlin or Forshaw or Leadbetter in the middle. Those would both be inteestingi options at least for home games and it would be easy to drop back into the more defensive structure that they all know.

    With a right back signed up, the extra fit players who missed most of last years and some of the squad making progress like Reach, we wouldn’t be that far away from where we need to be.


  14. Downing will give the team and the town a big lift and with the Givens news I think the optimism will lift big time especially because we know more is to come… As a side line looking at the pre season training photos Boro is red and white yet we see training gear in blue ,yellow , black,green.We see our trainers etc.on the sideline in games wearing blue with white stripes,black or whatever but where is the red ! Why

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