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“Leaked” new Sunderland shirt made by Hummel looks spot on!

The rumours surrounding a kit deal with Hummel have intensified now we’ve had an interesting glimpse of a potential new Sunderland shirt.

Sunderland fans haven’t had much to shout about over the last few weeks. While things are probably not quite as bad as some are making out right now, spirits are still understandably low, and conversations between supporters are hardly a laugh a minute. One of the few subjects likely to raise a smile, however, is the prospect of a popular brand returning as a strip supplier, and after lots of talk already, the ‘leak’ over the weekend of a potential new top for 2023-24 has whetted the appetite further.

The rumor that Hummel is coming back on board seemed very strong anyway, and while nothing has been confirmed as yet, a bit of good news has been sorely needed since the turn of the year. Contract restraints may prohibit any sort of official announcement, but cynics have suggested that the club won’t be too concerned that the ‘Footy Headlines’ website seems to have got the jump and released images ahead of schedule in light of the overwhelmingly positive reaction seen on social media so far.

Of course, there is the chance that the purported designs are fake. You’ll often see fan-produced mock-ups floating around ahead of kit launches, after all, but these look authentic enough and would have taken a lot of time to come up with if they were just for a laugh. The sneak peek gives an indication of the possible direction SAFC is heading, and on this evidence, the shirt will be modern enough and yet still traditional enough to appeal to a wide range of followers.

As soon as whispers emerged of Hummel teaming up with Sunderland again, there were calls for a healthy dollop of nostalgia to come through. Their original output from 1988 to 1994 was massively popular, and their first red and white offering indeed appears to have influenced this latest reveal. They both feature a red central strip and black makers/sponsors logos, while also incorporating wrap-over collars and micro pattern detailing – although this is where the tweaks come in as the collar now has further detailing that matches that of the cuffs, and there is a pattern on some of the stripes only instead of being repeated throughout.

Along the top of the shoulders, we see iconic ‘chevron’ banding; another retro touch but not an exact copy – the older tops had it continuing down the sleeves. What would be completely new would be the suggested introduction of Hummel’s ECO8 technology, meaning the polyester the shirts are made from has been produced using up to eight recycled plastic bottles. The current strips feature a percentage of recycled materials, and this would be another encouraging step, not least for the club itself following the unveiling of a new sustainability strategy last year.

What we don’t have an idea of yet is how the back of the shirt will look, although the black kit worn by Southampton at Swansea City on Saturday could provide some clues. They are already wearing Hummel gear, and their third-choice threads share a lot of the same features as have been put forward for Sunderland – if it follows suit, it may feature a small motif below the neck, and a back-of-shirt sponsor much lower down than seen on previous Lads and Lasses strips. The shorts and socks would potentially include more chevrons too.

The leaked photographs display an inside collar, sizing label, and tag that all match other Hummel products, but the top is by no means a template. Like Southampton, both Everton and Coventry City are affiliated with the Danish sportswear brand, and all three have worn strips that include individual nods to their club history or their geography and local area. While many people think these touches are just marketing ruses and have little impact on the players wearing the strips, no doubt those buying replica versions appreciate such thought going into the items they are about to part with their hard-earned cash for.

For example, past Southampton efforts have included references to their docks and affiliation with the Royal Air Force, while their current goalkeeper designs show a stained glass representation inspired by those seen at Saint Mary’s Church. Everton, meanwhile, currently bear the famous Archibald Leitch latticework on their collars – this may be of particular interest to Sunderland fans, but any link to Wearside’s industry or endeavour would surely be appreciated more than a generic offering. It may even be the case that the pattern on the red stripes shown online has already been based on the outline of the ship from the old crest, but clearer snaps are probably needed before we are certain on that one.

While the mooted red and white first choice is like the 1988-91 vintage, the change options are not yet fully known. Footy Headlines’ piece did include an exciting teaser that an away kit, or possibly the training gear, will be heavily influenced by the predominantly white design that came with Hummel’s next Roker Park batch and was worn in the 1992 FA Cup final and has been a perennial favourite ever since. There are enough reproductions worn at matches these days to suggest that anything along those lines would be snapped up, and if next season’s tops do prove popular then everybody – club, manufacturer, and supporter alike, will benefit.

Assuming the images are legitimate, their existence hopefully means plans have been signed off and are either already in production or are about to be shortly. There is a lot to be resolved on and off the pitch between now and the summer, but it would be lovely to think that confirmation of the strips will be on its way soon, and that they are ready to hit the shelves in time for those wanting to make the most of the tee-shirt weather and to wear their colours with pride.

Additional reading

LEAKED: Sunderland to Leave Nike + Hummel 24-25 Home & Away Kits - Footy Headlines

Are we about to witness the return of a classic Sunderland kit manufacturer? - Roker Report (sbnation.com)

Regardless of who our next supplier is, Sunderland’s new kit deal has to be an upgrade - Roker Report (sbnation.com)

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