When England takes the pitch at Wembley Stadium on May 29 against the Republic of Ireland for a friendly match as they both work toward qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Three Lions will be sporting a brand new logo on their brand new home uniforms: the Nike Swoosh.
England used to wear Umbro gear, but Nike sold off that brand along with Cole Haan for $225 million to Iconix last year. Now the Nike swoosh is on the England jersey and it gets plenty of close-ups a the promotional video just released to show off the new Home Kit.
The jersey celebrates the 150th birthday of the Football Association by paying design homage to England’s first jersey. Its simple white and dark blue color scheme is already getting it into trouble, though. Fans of Germany are claiming that Nike pretty much just copied the design of their team’s jersey.
According to the Daily Mirror, “the hashtag #German began trending (on Twitter) as fans expressed their anger about the kit” just after it debuted. West Germany, of course, is the team England beat in the 1966 World Cup Final for its only Cup victory. Germany, in one incarnation or another, has won the whole thing three times: 1954, 1974 and 1990.
One thing that does make the new uniforms unique is the fact they are made of recycled water bottles and feature laser-cut ventilation along the sides.
To kick off the campaign to get the uniforms into the retail market, Nike had England midfielder Jack Wilshere return to his former school to watch the school’s team practice. He picked out a player, put the jersey on him, and tweeted out the image along with the words, “Like this kid, my England dream began here, so he was first in #theshirt—England’s new kit from @NikeFootball”
Congrats, kid. Welcome to being a small part of Nike’s powerful marketing machinery.