Greenock Morton released their new home kit for the 2016/17 season yesterday. If you aren’t quite sure of how Morton kits are supposed to look, here’s a snapshot of the club’s most recent efforts on the home kit.
The club’s traditional colours are white and blue hoops, as you can see. Keep that in mind when you’re looking at the 2016/17 home kit, which was exclusively revealed in the Greenock Telegraph.
Own goal number one. To say there’s been uproar from fans is an understatement. As well as gaining some negative coverage in the national press, the release has quite literally gone down under, with FourFourTwo Australia questioning whether it’s the worst kit in history.
— FourFourTwo Oz (@FourFourTwoOz) May 17, 2016
The club also scored own goal number two, and unluckily for Morton, this own goal was spotted by a St Mirren fan. The copy on the website selling the kit was promoting buying it to help the club bounce back into the Championship, even though they’ve just finished 5th in the Championship, meaning that this hadn’t been updated since the start 2014/15 season after the club had just been relegated to League 1.
— StMActive BUYTHEBUDS (@StMirrenActive) May 17, 2016
From the fans
‘Awful’, ‘cheap’, ‘nasty’, ’embarrassing’, ‘a joke’, ‘amateur’. Just a tiny selection of some fans opinions across Facebook, Twitter and the fans forum. ‘The worst Morton strip ever’, ‘can’t see me buying that top’. Some fans had actually previously speculated whether this would in fact be the new home kit for the season, with some actually saying they wouldn’t at all mind if it was to be. The seethe since it’s release is not just coming from fans angry that it doesn’t contain any hoops whatsoever, but also due the embarrassment they’re feeling at the sponsor, which is a change from previous kits as you’ll have spotted from the snapshot above. More on that later on.
The thread on the Morton forum related to the new kit launch is entitled, ‘Will we get a new home kit?’, and many fans will be continuing to ask this question even after seeing the new kit.
The commercial side
Every year, clubs across the globe are launching new kits in elaborately organised events with players looking moody and uninterested. These events are also coupled with bespoke new kits, produced in collaborations between the clubs and their kit manufacturers. It’s safe to say that this doesn’t happen across the board in Scottish football, and certainly doesn’t happen in Morton’s case. Since moving to Nike for the 2014/15 season, it’s been well documented that Morton are treated the same as amateur and youth football sides across the country, and have to pick their new kits from the Teamwear catalogue. This is embarrassing enough for a professional football club, but it’s generally accepted by the fans across the country if the kit is up to their expected standards.
Fans are being asked to spend £40 on this kit, £35 for a junior . That’s not an insignificant amount of money, especially so as some fans pointed out, anybody can pick up a copy of the Nike Teamwear catalogue and purchase the top, sans sponsor and badge, for a fraction of the cost.
Regarding the sponsor, which when sifting through the fans comments across various platforms seems to be where fans anger is being directed towards, it’s a tricky one. Brands belonging to Douglas Rae, the clubs owner, have adorned the kits since 2002, and even for a period in the 90s before Rae owned the club. Half Pounders, Buchanan’s Toffees, Ferguson’s Chocolates, and of course, the famous Millions. Now it’s £One Pounders. The general consensus seems to be that if Millions had remained the sponsor, plus the addition of an embroidered badge, the Morton fans would have been happy with the new kit. On another point for a rainy day, Rae saved the club when he took over and has reportedly ploughed millions of his own money into Morton, but is his monopoly over the kit sponsorship harming the club? No effort or time is being put into securing kit sponsorship for the club, which ultimately, is probably harming the rest of the clubs commercial operations.
It’s unfair to make comparisons between clubs like Morton and some of the huge global football brands. Morton fans aren’t shouting that they want the club to be competing off the pitch with these clubs. They just want it to appear as though they’re competent enough in their commercial and marketing efforts. The club do so much good work in the community, encouraging young children to be active and involved in and around the club. There are plenty of things for Morton fans to be positive about, but often the decisions made by the club off the pitch let the fans down. They’ve got a big decision to make now though. With fans emailing the club to complain, and a petition started, do they listen to their fans, or stick with the kit for the upcoming season?