We asked, and you answered. Whilst the football world as we know it was crumbling last week, at FSC we focused on the obvious question: What does this mean for football shirts?
In bringing in the American model of a closed league, this would also likely have led to an (increased) Americanisation of the football shirt world. This could have meant league-wide sponsors, even more alternative shirts, more shirt sponsors and a damaging pricing structure. The only possible positive we could see in this entire situation would be the potential for more freedom in kit designs, with clubs and manufacturers free from the red tape enforced by FIFA and UEFA.
Thankfully, we will never know if any of these developments would have come to pass, but the #SuperLeagueChallenge from @football_nerds has given us a look at what we could have seen in the way of Super League designs. They challenged concept designers to create a shirt for one of the 12 clubs who tried and failed in their breakaway attempt, with a jersey from 2022, or one from 2027. Let’s take a look at some of the futuristic designs that were submitted!
Manchester United 2027 by @IL_Graphic
Let’s kick-off with one of the main architects of the Super League, Manchester United. Looking 6 years into the future, this set of concepts from @IL_Graphic contains some futuristic elements, including a collar revamp, glowing features and a club crest redesign.
New collars and glow-in-the-dark additions may be natural next steps in the development of general kit design, but the entire altering of a club’s crest is by no means a standard procedure – just look at the reaction to the numerous rebrands we have seen this season.
Breaking away from domestic leagues could have brought with it further breaks from club’s traditions, with crests, or even entire colour schemes altered to appeal to new markets. The glowing devils in @IL_Graphic’s designs are striking, but we can already hear the imaginary fan backlash.
Real Madrid 2027 by @emmegraphic
Despite some slight feature changes, the Manchester United concept above largely kept true to current design ideas, but this Real Madrid concept kit design from @emmegraphic goes in the opposite direction.
Bringing in a minimalist aesthetic to the famous Los Blancos jersey, there is no mistaking who this shirt belongs to, as the Real Madrid name is displayed proudly down the front of the shirt, in a style not too dissimilar to classic US collegiate designs. If an owner wants to grow his/her club, then there is no better way of ensuring global exposure than by plastering your club’s name right on the front of the shirt.
@emmegraphic has also moved Real Madrid from adidas to Nike, and with @IL_Graphic doing the same, it is a further nod to the American idea of league-wide shirt sponsorships, with no less than four swooshes present on the Real Madrid concept.
Inter Milan 2027 by @maverfootball
Now I know we all hate the Super League… but if it gave us this Inter Milan jersey, I think I could get more on board with it. @maverfootball continues @emmegraphic’s trend of altering the classic design of his chosen club’s jersey, but this time includes some Super League-inspired features.
The famous Nerazurri stripes are topped at the chest and replaced with just a black base, which itself is adorned with Super League logo imprints. Elsewhere, the outgoing Pirelli shirt sponsor is replaced with sport streaming giants DAZN, who were mooted as potential broadcasters of the short-lived breakaway league. Finally, we get another manufacturer change, with Inter now kitted out by adidas, complete with an updated logo for the brand with the three stripes.
And that is just on the front side. The back of the shirt sees a newlook name and number set, with some cues possibly taken from the layout of Inter’s very real and very opinion splitting 4th shirt. We also get another example of a team’s name being displayed prominently on their shirt.
If Inter Milan fans thought their rebrand this season was too much change, this concept might just send them over the edge.
BONUS: Super League All-Stars kit by @rupertgraphic
One of the staples of American sports leagues is their end of season All-Star games, in which the best players from different divisions, leagues or geographical locations are pitted against each other in a quasi-friendly match. Whether this took the form of The Europeans vs. The Rest of the World, or a mini-tournament between three teams each composed of the best players from their respective leagues, it seems inevitable that this element would have made its way into the Super League structure (and it still might).
For these games, each side is given a specially designed kit, and for our imaginary Super League All-Star game, @rupertgraphic has supplied a potential design. The concept is perhaps not a fully-realised jersey, but in utilising the fluorescent colours which made up the Super League’s limited branding it provides a glimpse at the direction such an All-Star shirt could go, with one team wearing the black base shown in the concept, and the other wearing an inverted white jersey.
The only difference we would likely see if this design was created would be the addition of one or two sponsors. That $400 million had to come from somewhere.