Alternative Jumpers – Proposed Solution


Away jumpers, clash jumpers, alternative jumpers. All clubs have them, some are great, some not so great, and then there are the downright awful. As I recently read through rossvslater‘s blog posts under the category titled ‘AFL Strangest Jumpers‘ I chuckled through gritted teeth at the inadequate, the feeble, and the greedy grabs for cash.

Now I seem to remember hearing once, possibly twice, that it’s best not to criticise unless you yourself have a solution to said criticism. As such, I have spent some alone time with MSPaint (and a little help from the wonderful footy jumpers website) to come up with my very own clash jumpers for every team in the AFL. The only teams I haven’t bothered with are Footscray, Fremantle and Port Adelaide, whom I think have it right. Funnily enough, and this will be a bit of a theme throughout, each of those clubs in the past few years have SIMPLIFIED their jumper designs, removing a clip art bulldog, an anchor and some lightning or something. That’s right, the age old K.I.S.S! (keep it simple spotty!)

Port Fremantle Bulldogs

I gave myself no particular guidelines, and as it turns out, a few of the designs are rather similar to some of the great ideas shared on this big footy forum page (well worth a squiz!) I guess it’s just a case of ‘great minds and all that.’

Without further ado:

Adelaide Football Club – In my mind, the Adelaide home jumper is by far the strongest of the ‘new’ jumpers to enter the VFL-AFL competition (you can read my expanded thoughts on the topic HERE.) However, their attempts at a clash jumper have been if not disastrous, then incredibly floppy. Here is my idea for a basic, ‘pictures-of-crows’ free design. It removes all but three of the bands off the home jumper. Done, next!

ADE - ALT

Brisbane Football Club – So much scope for greatness here. I’m not one for having images on jumpers but the Fitzroy Lion (not the three-peat Lion) is the exception to the rule. I think either of these maintain the greatness of the home jumper (they’re ditching the paddlepop next year) whilst making it, well, alternative and clash free!

BRI - ALT

Carlton Football Club – Another great old jumper with many attempts at a clash jumper, which have left me wanting more. Their Sturt inspired jumper last year looked great, but it just wasn’t Carlton. And while I don’t hate their current reverse strip, I prefer to see the CFC monogram white on a navy blue band.

CAR - ALT

Collingwood Football Club – I found this to be one of the more difficult to get my head around. The stripes are integral, I get that, but to truly get away from the North Melbourne jumper there needs to be more white. Now marketing gurus and designy peeps, that big white space sure looks like it’s crying out for some sort of swooping magpie does it not!? WRONG! Leave it!COLL - ALT

 

Ed-A few alterations suggested by twit follower, Pie and footy enthusiast, @lucasgarth More Pies alt

Essendon Football Club – Now if I found the Collingwood jumper difficult, the Essendon one was near impossible. I’m still not sure I love it, but it’s a darn site better than their grey/silver number. The sash is intact, and the EFC logo seemed to add that little thing it was missing, whilst probably being in the way of prime advertising real estate!ESS - ALT

Geelong Football Club – The idea is similar to the Adelaide one, remove some hoops to create some white space (leave it alone!) whilst maintaining a Geelong jumper feel. Not much more to say really.GEE - ALT

 

Gold Coast Football Club – Now as the Suns are still wearing their training tops in the AFL, I thought I’d go to the trouble of designing them a home jumper as well as a stab at a bit of a clash jumper. Drawing inspiration from Port Adelaide’s current jumper, designed by a GRADE ONE STUDENT (I kid you not) I have drawn upon my on primary school’s footy jumper (below) for inspiration. I think that the colours yellow and red are fantastic yet brutally under-utilised on the Suns jumper. I appreciate that they went for simplicity, but their GC just doesn’t cut it for me. The away jumper is, I believe, simple yet effective, with the addition of blue trims and numbers because, you know, beach. NEXT!

GC - HOMEGC - ALT
blacky 1991Blackburn PS

Greater Western Sydney Football Club (What a bloody mouthfull!) – While it’s a better jumper than the Suns, I think a new home jumper would be better, with accompanying clash version. I didn’t think I’d like to have the snazzy ‘G’ on the jumper but it just looked right. I do like the colour orange on a footy jumper, and the charcoal, even though it sounds wanky, balances it nicely.

GWS - H&AHawthorn Football Club – If any club is guilty of bringing the game into disrepute on account of poor uniform choice then it’s the Hawks. Firstly, working with ‘poos and wees’ isn’t easy, but the diamonds, the t-shirts, the camouflage, the intricate Hawks which no child has a chance of being able to quickly scribble in the back of the maths book, enough is enough! I decided, like Collingwood, to keep a part of the stripes and tie it together with the HFC monogram which was used on their heritage jumper a few years back, a fine jumper (brown with a gold V) which should be used from time to time as it far outweighs their current design.

HAW - ALT

Melbourne Football Club – As you can see, I like trying to keep as much of the original jumpers as possible. I toyed with a few things but couldn’t decide where the MFC monogram fitted best, so I’ve just added the two that looked best. I don’t hate Melbourne’s current clash jumper, but think it could do with a bit more blue.MEL - ALT

Ed- Thanks to twitter follower @MVZimmari pointing out that the Melbourne design looked like ‘some weird kind of bikini’ I have adjustted it and quite prefer it!

MEL - ALT

North Melbourne Football Club – I really like the white ‘V’ on blue which North wore as a heritage jumper a few years back, and it provides a great alternative to their light home jumpers whilst drawing from history. I think it’s actually quite bold when compared with their current jumper. A second option, and less preferred in my eyes, is similar to the Hawthorn and Collingwood designs.NM - ALT Port Adelaide Football Club – I actually love Port’s home and away jumpers, but the only change I’d make to the home jumper is to tie it to the past with this SANFL back and white trims. They’ll never get their prison bars but may as well look like the old SANFL magpies from behind. Nit-picking.PA - HOME Richmond Football Club – Again, I’m actually quite fond of Richmond’s clash strip, but wonder how much it actually avoids the clash. I’m very much against reversing the yellow and black (sorry Richmond VFL!) and think the addition of white just adds to the ‘away white shorts’ idea. I prefer the jumper on the right, still very much a Richmond jumper but with white shorts, easily distinguishable against Essendon and Hawthorn…I think. RICH  ALT St.Kilda Football Club – The Saints have plenty of options when it comes to developing a clash jumper, but I have drawn on their 1997-era ‘crest’ jumper and have whitened it. But I’d be all in favour of stick man making his way onto the jumper also, and no, I’m not talking about Aaron Fiora!ST.K - ALT Sydney Football Club – What more can you say really? South Melbourne’s old jumper, and Sydney’s original jumper for what it’s worth. The biggest clash is with the Gold Coast so taking the biggest body of red away, the back, makes this mostly white, traditional jumper a no-brainer for mine. I toyed with losing the opera house off the home jumper, it is truly bizarre that there IS an opera house on any sporting guernsey the world over, but think this says a little bit about old Sydney town.SYD - alt West Coast Football Club – Ah my old friends the Eagles. I’ve analysed the Eagles name, jumper and song HERE and I was far from favourable. I still feel as though they’ve never really settled on a jumper after all these years. Firstly, I’ve decided to remove all images. ENOUGH WITH THE IMAGES! WE GET IT, YOU’RE EAGLES! I also only realised recently that their current jumper, hiding behind a mean looking eagle Eagle, was actually a pretty stock-standard footy design. However I feel that the dark blue with the yellow and white is so uninspiring. Perhaps it reminded me of the two years I spent living in Doncaster, the bland Manningham city council logo everywhere.manningham

 

Anyway, what I DO like about the Eagles jumpers is the royal blue they’ve often used. It has far more heart, and brings out the best in the yellow (I know, that sounds wanky but it’s true.) So to remake the West Coast home jumper, I have tossed aside the angular Eagle picture and changed the blue from navy to royal. One thing the Eagles have done well is to lose the white edging around their yellow numbers, a bug-bear of mine. Adelaide and Brisbane, TAKE NOTE!

So I looked at the jumper, and the thought hit me that the white was now diluting the blue and yellow, lets lose it. Now it may look a little like an old version of an East Fremantle jumper, but I’ve actually removed the Sharks white (which West Coast have in place) and replaced it with yellow. The reverse is the Eagles clash jumper, grown up versions of West Coast’s first two jumpers from 1987.WCE - home WCE - ALT

 

So there you have it. I would LOVE your feedback, and if you have any design ideas I’d love to see them too. And club land, stop employing professionals and designers to help with new clash designs. It’s money flushed down the toilet. There are any number of simple ideas here or on football forum sites which are fantastic, respect history, and provide a clash-free alternative. Alternatively, many primary school would be happy to run ‘jumper competitions!’

May the football gods be ever in your favour.

Boot

Adelaide v The Eagles

 

West Coast and Adelaide are often lumped together. Both teams represent their state’s local leagues, the WAFL and the SANFL, and are considered the ‘big brother’ of their respective cross town rivals, Fremantle and Port Adelaide. Both also enjoyed early success, prising away two flags each from a bitter Victorian landscape during the 1990’s.

Why is it then that I consider Adelaide a bona fide footy club, and the Eagles still as a franchise, a bit plastic? I was only 6 when they entered the competition so I’ve grown up with them, but there’s something not quite right for me.

So what’s in a name?

Let’s start with Adelaide. It is what it is, it represents the town of….Adelaide! The previous incarnation of the Adelaide Football Club disbanded in 1893 and is in no way connected to the current day club, which meant that upon entrance to the AFL in 1991, their was no hesitation in simply calling the club Adelaide.

West Coast on the other hand is to me a vague choice of name to represent a Perth based club. In their defence, the name Perth Football Club was already taken, the Perth Demons being a member of the WAFL. However, the ‘West Coast’ of Australia represents a landmass four to five times larger larger the United Kingdom, and as all landmasses possess a west coast, to me the name is generic and far from inspiring.

Think I’m being harsh? Consider the words of respected footy commentator and proud West Australian Dennis Cometti. He describes the “dumb name” as “American crapola!” The usually affable Cometti continued “It’s a real blight on the competition.”

Cometti coaching WAFL side West Perth, who he also played with. Image from- http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2005/08/26/cometti.jpg

Part of Cometti’s reasoning is a lack of a geographical focus. “I have struck many people who I have met overseas who follow Australian rules who ask me where West Coast is located. They ask me how far from Melbourne is it.” The Perth Eagles is Cometti’s preferred choice.

While the name ‘Perth’ was out of reach, perhaps something such as ‘Greater Perth’ could have worked. That’s what marketing and branding people are out there for. ‘West Coast’ seems a poor choice.

Nicknames and Monikers

The Eagles. Easy listening pop-rock music, from the West Coast of the USA. That’s right, ‘West Coast Eagles’ conjures up images of harmonic pop melodies, sweetly sung by hairy, good natured ‘boy next door’ types. It hardly sounds befitting of a hard and tough football team, which is what West Coast have been for the majority of their existence.

The Eagles from the US West Coast. Perhaps Eagle Ben Cousins modelled his open shirt look from the bloke on the left? Image from-http://images.paraorkut.com/img/artists/images/t/the_eagles-1137.jpg

But what should a team from Perth have been called? Like the Perth name was taken, so was the obvious W.A football name of Swans; snatched by South Melbourne after an influx of West Australian recruits many years ago. The state team was also known as the ‘Sandgropers,’ a colloquial term for West Australians. However ‘Greater Perth Gropers’ would struggle to secure the sponsorship dollars needed to run a football club. I don’t have the answer, but ‘West Coast’ with ‘Eagles’ is too American.

Compare this with Adelaide’s moniker, the Crows. This is no throw-away nickname, instead it is steeped in more history than most. South Australia’s state football team has been long known as the Croweaters, a unique name which started out as a term of ridicule. It can be traced back to 1851, seven years before the recognised ‘beginnings’ of our national game began fragmenting themselves together.

As the South Australians rushed to the Victorian gold fields they began to run low on food, so out of necessity, “killed, cooked and ate some crows.” Arriving at the gold fields in a “very hard up state” and after relating their experiences, they were soon dubbed the ‘croweaters.’ The name stuck.

So whilst ‘Crow-eaters’ and ‘Crows’ confusingly brings up thoughts of cannibalism, this too adds to their footy club culture, as all the old clubs have the ability to ‘eat their own’ in times of trouble.

The Jumper

We now turn our attention the two teams guernsey designs. This is important to me. If the jumper is right, I can turn a blind eye to other aspects. When West Coast and the Brisbane Bears entered the VFL competition in 1987, they brought with them two jumpers which challenged the definition of a ‘footy jumper.’

The original 1987 Brisbane and West Coast jumpers, along with the WA state jumper. Upon putting these together I noticed that perhaps a picture of a bird in the middle of the guernsey was possibly a shout out to tradition.

The first thing to notice is that there was far more yellow than had been used in the VFL to that point . But for me this worked, as yellow seemed a colour representative of far warmer climates than the Melbourne competition they were joining. West Australia’s state team had a predominately yellow jumper, and this provided a nice link.

Anthony Costa, whose site http://www.costasportslogos.com/ looks at sporting logos, branding and uniforms amongst other things, also prefers the “gold jumper, which for me is the club’s most distinctive onfield look. There’s a lot of blue and dark sombre colours in the AFL… reckon this jumper would really light things up.”

West Coast reversed the colours in 1988, the colour blue becoming the more dominant, though many shades of blue have since been used. I found and continue to find the Eagles jumper a tad fiddley, with both the writing and the picture being rather non-descript when viewed from any distance past ten metres, though the word Eagles is long gone. The guernsey has never felt settled and is often tinkered with. I am still unclear which is their ‘official’ jumper. 

Adelaide on the other hand have ticked ‘all the boxes’ as the clichéd footy saying goes. Their colours, red, blue and yellow are those of their states football team. Their design is simple and striking, like a Geelong jumper on an acid trip.

South Australia’s jumper left, Adelaide jumper right.

A look through Adelaide’s home jumpers from 1991 to today shows the most minor of tinkering, which would indicate that they have got it right. No fancy pictures, words or designs, which incidentally are impossible to see as a player is chasing the pigskin in the distance. Just simple, bold colours and patterns.

To illustrate my point, the past few years have seen Port Adelaide, Fremantle and Footscray all simplify their jumpers, removing all imagery, to near-universal praise. Port Adelaide’s current jumper was even designed by a 7 year old fan. Consider all the money wasted on professional advice from marketing and design companies!

Club Song

This is my final point. As a a musician, I can’t help but see this as integral to the fabric and culture of a club. I’ll kick this section off with a tweet I came across after West Coast’s recent thrilling victory over Hawthorn.

Simple statement. True statement. West Coast’s ‘modern’ rock-pop themesong severely lacks the punch and heart thumping pride found in old fashioned brass band music. It sounds corny, but it’s amazing what can happen when you mix a tuba, trombone and banjo with a barbershop quartet on heat! The rock beat which sits behind West Coast’s song also sucks the number dry of emotion and feeling.

*click* West Coast’s themesong (Warning! Contains mediocre footy song!)

While Adelaide’s song is far from the best in the league, again you get the sense that they have aimed for the type of song which blokes can sing together post-match, a cappella. They have the right idea, I’m just not sure about the execution. But it has the desired effect as the Adelaide players congregate post-victory. I think I can even hear the Coodabeens South Aussie representative Greg Champion’s voice in there!

*click* Adelaide’s themesong (Warning! Contains MIDI instruments)

Final thoughts

When it comes to club image, marketing and all that jargon, the Crows have just kept it simple and rooted in the past. And just think, anything fancy wouldn’t have matched the heads of McDermott, Weideman, Maynard, Rhenn or Riccoutiou!

West Coast on other hand were and are a slick, professional outfit. Business like and clean cut, seemingly an emotionless machine. Much of that could have been due to coach Mick Malthouse’s approach and demeanor at the time. But just think of McKenna, Worsfold, Pyke and co…. they would have looked just as comfortable on the footy field as they would have in business suits.

Sure, West Coast had the rough heads of Gastev and Ishchenko run around, while the Crows had glamour boy Modra and the clean-cut Tyson Edwards, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule.

Perhaps the ‘American’ West Coast image suits this club? Perhaps it was what the Eagles founders saw as their aim? But I don’t think so. Think of Worsfold’s toughness, the skill of Matera, Dean Kemp and Guy McKenna’s courage, Ashley McIntosh throwing his light frame around with little regard for himself. What of the toughness of the pint-sized Daniel Kerr, the gut-running of Cousins and Judd, the fear Beau Waters instils in opponents. A team renowned for their miserly defence and toughness.

West Coast Eagle fans, you deserve better. Your club’s image does not match the reality of your club, whilst the Crows, love them or hate them, would appear to have done things well.

What’s your take? I would love to hear from Eagles and Crow fans alike!

With a little help from my friends…

-Click here for more of Anthony Costa’s thoughts on the West Coast logo

-All jumper images were found at footyjumper.com. For a comprehensive look at VFL-AFL and state jumpers, this website will not leave you disappointed! http://www.footyjumpers.com/

Cometti’s comments were courtesy of http://www.perthnow.com.au/sport/west-coast-name-is-dumb/story-e6frg1wu-1111113132067

And the Crow-eaters history lesson was found here- http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/manning/sa/misc/crema.htm#croweaters