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Kit critique: Will Sunderland look the part in 2022-23?

We now know the design for Sunderland’s new home strip, but is it a winner?

From safc.com

There are some fans that would prefer it if Sunderland kept the same kit for a few seasons, whilst there are some that couldn’t care less what the players wore, as long as they are getting results.

For a lot of people though, the stripes matter immensely, and the number of responses along the lines of ‘release the new kit’ that you see whenever the club posts any sort of news on social media would certainly suggest there is an appetite.

At least those that do look forward to a new strip being brought out have finally been satiated.

The home kit for the coming campaign has landed, via a nicely thought out photo shoot featuring Lynden Gooch at the new Sheepfolds development behind the Stadium of Light, and as always it has prompted plenty of comment – both positive and negative.

Just as you can guarantee some fans will grow impatient waiting for a strip to be announced, you can be equally sure that when it does come out there will be a mixture of love, hate and everything in between.

From safc.com

It would be impossible to please everybody, but on first glance I must say I like the latest Nike offering. There are some obvious similarities with their classic 2000-02 design and the very well received Umbro effort of 2011-12, but there have been enough tweaks to the shirt to give it its own identity, most notably the first white centre stripe since 2018-19.

Another difference are the black strips down the sides of the top, which match the new front and back v-neck collar and the sleeve cuffs.

This detail seems to be the least popular feature from the comments I have seen, but for my mind, the black trim adds a bit of style and reminds me of the old-school red, white and black scarfs you still see regularly at the Stadium of Light.

There are few other deviations from the norm and the shorts and socks sound simple enough, whilst the reintroduction of women’s fit versions is a welcome development.

A further new aspect is that of the club's new principal partner Spreadex Sports being on the kit. Whilst I admit to having some real concerns over sports betting firms and their involvement with the club, there are other people better placed than me to comment, and they have expressed their views on the Roker Report site already.

If I stick purely to appearance then, I will say that their logo fits well with the general feel, even though it appears to be via a transfer of some sort.

These iron or press on sponsors logos and club crests are rarely popular seeing as they can sometimes fade or disintegrate in the wash, and most supporters prefer embroidered, embossed or direct detailing.

That said, a lot of the players feel the transfers make the strips more comfortable to wear as they do not chafe as much, with the sheen-like material, according to the blurb, including 75% recycled fibres and incorporating patented dry technology.

From safc.com

The new home kit, although a bespoke number once again, has a hard act to follow.

The ‘remix’ design used during 2021-22 was very well-liked and will forever be associated with a Wembley win, with one of those involved in it being SAFC Graphic Designer Alex Middleton, who I believe was also responsible for the hugely successful ‘Til the End campaign that the club ran during the Play-Offs.

The latest version is more traditional, particularly the darker shade of red used, but fingers crossed it can be as successful.

Not everybody will be as keen on the new strip as me, and the price increase has understandably put some people off too, but there is always the change kit to fall back on.

It won’t be long before we see calls for that strip to be shared after all, and that too will no doubt be the subject of strong opinion either way…

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