To whoever it was who decided that having a gold trim would be a good idea for next season’s home kit: You are a genius.
Of course, the kit looks brilliant (which Chelsea shirt doesn’t?) but when it was unveiled on April 12, it soon became a target of derision from rival fans. ‘Why gold? They haven’t won anything in a while,’ read one of the smarter comments.
‘A while’ would mean two years since we won the Double – not a long time in relative terms if you consider it’s been seven years since Arsenal won anything, 22 years since Liverpool won the league and 26 years since QPR last reached a cup final (and got hammered 3-0 by Oxford United).
But back in early April, when the media were discussing a possible Real-Barca Champions League Final, Spurs fans were eyeing a first FA Cup win in 21 years and Man U fans were snapping up shirts to celebrate a 20th league title, comments like that hit home as we seriously contemplated the idea of playing in the Europa League.
The events of May 19 seem to have put to rest the smug comments about the gold trim. In fact, it now appears to be a stroke of genius – a shirt befitting the Champions of Europe (and hopefully after December 16, World Champions as well).
That’s especially true of the special commemorative kit with the gold star above the badge that blends in perfectly with the colour scheme on the rest of the shirt. It looks great and it’s hardly a surprise that it is currently one of the most coveted items at the Megastore.
I’d like to get one myself although I hope that the star is not a permanent addition to the kit.
Clubs don’t really use stars to represent European Cup wins anyway. Italian, Portuguese and Dutch clubs have one star to represent 10 league wins. German clubs have a formula that awards one star for three Bundesliga wins, two for five, three for 10 and (in the case of Bayern) four for 20. And the two Spanish giants don’t even bother using them at all.
Right now, the only clubs that I know of that have stars on their badges to represent European Cup wins are Celtic, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest – all worthy winners in their time but perhaps unlikely to be challenging again for the title of Europe’s best in the near future.
In the case of a couple of lower league English clubs, stars are reminders of a glorious past – Huddersfield have three to remind everyone that they were the first team to win three league titles in a row in the 1920s while Bury have two to represent a pair of FA Cup wins in the early 20th Century.
We actually had two stars on our shirts from 1971 to 1986 which, according to the recently-published book Blue is the Collar, represented our victories in the 1970 FA Cup and the 1971 Cup Winners’ Cup.
Sartorially speaking, that star-spangled badge may have been part of some of the finest-looking kits that the clubs have ever produced but it didn’t bring us any luck on the pitch during the 15 years that we wore it. We did not win anything during that time and we were instead relegated twice and very nearly dropped down to the third tier. Given that situation, Ken Bates probably thought it prudent to come up with a new-age ‘80s design that resembled the Millwall lion and which we proudly wore when we were relegated again two years later.
I’m not normally inclined to be superstitious so I’m not going to say that the presence of a star on our kit will only bring us bad luck. What I would say, however, is that I would prefer not to have it because while I will always treasure the memory of Munich 2012, I don’t want it to be the only thing that we’ll remember in our time as Chelsea fans, 20 years from now.
Of course, we should celebrate the past glories of our club – just like fans of Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Huddersfield and Bury would. But it shouldn’t be at the expense of the present and future of the club.
Please note : the views in many of our blogs are written by fans of Chelsea FC and are not necessarily the views of the club