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Colour blind

Damian Barrett  July 3, 2012 10:22 AM

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Michael Hurley models the Bombers' new clash strip


I HAVE no idea why footy fans and commentators get so worked up over the colours worn by football clubs each weekend.
 
Don’t know why they feel any tinkering with colours and design - however minor and infrequent - strikes at the core of a club’s soul.
 
It is 2012. Let’s move our thoughts at least somewhere near that year, not have them buried in the supposed good old days, whatever, and whenever, they were.
 
To state, as some have, in various forms of hysteria that history and tradition are being diluted by clash guernseys is ridiculous and naïve.
 
Just as it is when those same people say an alternative strip erodes a club’s brand. Please. There is more erosion of history, tradition and brand in the brazen plastering of sponsors’ names all over the front and backs of jumpers - as well as shorts - than there is in altering colours, yet no one has uttered a word about that over the years.
 
A clash guernsey is not regularly required. In the case of Essendon, which this week finally bowed to the AFL’s rules and introduced a grey and red strip, it will be used a maximum of four times a season - when it is the away team against Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Richmond and St Kilda.
 
The AFL was long overdue in forcing the Bombers down this path, just as it was in its dealings with Collingwood, which has somehow been allowed to get away with a white and black arrangement, instead of a black and white one, for its alternative jumper.
 
Much of the big picture strategy introduced by the AFL is based on what has happened long before in the United States’ National Football League.
 
Supporters of NFL clubs are among the most fervent in the world, yet they have zero problems with their teams donning colours and designs which vary from tradition.
 
It is just the way it is. And it works at every level. For the players, the fans in attendance, those watching on TV.
 
And how many times have we heard an AFL club in the past 15 years say it wants to be “the Manchester United of the AFL”? At least a half-dozen is the answer, including Collingwood, Essendon, Hawthorn, even North Melbourne at one stage.
 
Manchester United has had more changes to its strip than it has EPL championships in that timeframe.
 
It is a club which employs big picture actions, not merely big picture words.
 
Arguably, there is no more famous sporting club in the world. And changing its strip so frequently has not affected one bit its tradition and heritage.
 
Maybe, doing just that, as well as totally embracing the attitude required to enact such vision, has enhanced tradition, heritage and brand.
 
Twitter: @barrettdamian, @AFL