We spend a lot of time talking about football shirts at Football Shirt Collective (naturally), but one area intrinsically linked to kits which we too often gloss over is the captain’s armband.
Though armbands are sometimes standardised for competitions (think the luminous green bands you see in the Champions League), clubs are often allowed to express their own creative freedom for this small but important part of their captain’s matchday getup.
Typical designs include a club crest surrounded by the colours of the team, like Barcelona whose captain’s armbands are usually composed of the Catalan flag with the club crest at the centre, but at the other end of the La Liga table SD Huesca have been employing a far more diverse strategy.
Huesca have been designing custom captain’s armbands for various games this season, but instead of playing on variations of club specific themes, the team have been paying tribute to the team’s they’ve faced.
Diehard fans may tremble at the idea of their team showing more respect than you’d expect to see for a game, but Huesca have used the opportunity to showcase a number of interesting stories the kind of which we like new shirts to tell.
Some designs, like the one for Villarreal, are themed around the city Huesca were visiting. The stunning tile pattern is surely a look worthy of a Villarreal shirt in future…
Other times, the armbands have been a direct callout to the mascot or identity of an opposing team. A brilliant orange armband for the Valencia serves as a great example with its repeating bat motif.
Figures from the history of a city of club have also been represented. See the armband for Sevilla, which acted as a tribute to leading abstract painter Manuel Salinas, or the Real Madrid design which nodded to none other than “The Blonde Arrow” himself, Alfredo Di Stefano.
Another recent effort for a game against Celta Vigo saw Huesca commemorating International Women’s Day with an armband celebrating various Aragonese who were leaders in their respective areas, with elements that characterised their fields included in the design.
The armbands are quite simply an exhibition of creative design thinking, and what’s more you can even buy the various designs directly from SD Huesca’s shop!
Until proven otherwise, we’re giving Huesca the honour of the best captain’s armbands in football. So often a good story elevates any football shirt, and many manufacturers would do well to adopt the same thinking as Huesca have for their captain’s armbands when it comes to kits.