Why Celtic’s new Adidas home jersey has divided opinion

According to Greek mythology, around the Winter Solstice, Aeolus used his power to quell winds and thus command calm seas so his daughter Alcyone, who took the form of a kingfisher bird (we all have a high maintenance relative) could safely make her nest on the beach to lay her eggs.

And so was born the oft-used idiom ‘Halcyon Days’, describing calm, peace, blissful tranquility – the good old days…

The image of Cesar lifting the big cup, Jinky skipping over/past/around any player you care to recall, Jock Stein back-heeling a ball in training, Kenny beaming, arms aloft in triumph, Danny McGrain pre-beard, Davie Hay smouldering, Dixie Deans with Bob Marley, Di Canio’s Subbuteo team, Alfie Conn gliding, Gilbert Heron arms folded. I can see every one in my mind’s eye, wearing the iconic hoops, filling the shirt as the big man demanded. No club crest or manufacturer’s sponsor until the late 1970s, pure, undiluted and majestic in its simple swagger.

Halcyon Days

I was born in Bellshill in 1976 into a 3rd generation Scottish family emanating from Ireland on both sides, there was only one team for me, they wear the green and white hoops and hail hail from the East End of Glasgow.

My first Celtic strip was the 1986 home and the tracksuit too which I never took off, so much so that they had to be washed at night when I was in bed so they could dry and be ready the following day.

With my mullet and spectacularly, painfully-freckled as fuck appearance, a 10-year-old me was Brian McClair in that strip. The coolest guy in Glasgow that wasn’t on Postcard Records who looked like he could have played in any post-punk band of the time. Scorer of goals, he picked more balls out of the net than Dorus de Vries in Europe, nonchalantly placing the ball on the centre-spot after making mugs of all-comers. The hoops never looked better.

The decade that gave us new romanticism, synthesised orchestration, Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade, Back to The Future, Ghostbusters, The Goonies, John Colqhuoun leaving Dexy’s Midnight Runners because he wasn’t wearing dungarees for any fucker, MTV & J.R. Ewing. This was the era where everything was changing. VCR players allowed us to ‘tape’ programmes and rent films to watch from the comfort of someone we knew who had one’s house.

The 1980s was THE pivotal decade in modern times.

This was also the period that saw the introduction of sponsors on football shirts, no more clean lines and simple crest of Umbro/Adidas et al, we now had the addition of CR SMITH, Crown Paints, Sharp, NEC, JVC etc. “Sacrilege” screamed the purists, which perhaps it was – Personally, I detest the way that our club has taken the money off a betting company over morality and social responsibility but that’s for another day.




Don’t Fight it, Feel It.

Looking back, there are so many iconic shirts that are adorned with iconic sponsor’s names, it’s part of football and many added to the coolest shirts. Despite this modern change, you could always take comfort that you couldn’t ever fuck around with the hoops. Classics are classics, right?

Last week saw the release of Celtic’s new home kit for the ’23/’24 season and, personally, I love it. You hate it? So what.

It’s Adidas, who I don’t think have done much wrong since our partnership started – if ever two brands should be together, it’s Celtic and Adidas in the modern era.

Reading the feedback online, the comments are hilarious, delicious even.

I suspect that the naysayers are the very same that gush about the various concept kits doing the rounds (some aren’t bad, to be fair), but in the main are as classy as a 22p birthday card from the petrol station art. A visual eye bath of diarrhoea, acid and hundreds and thousands sprinkles.

I bet all you kit-bashers, every single one of you, wear those shoe/trainer hybrid shoes, brown with velcro straps and zig-zag stitching – the ones that are on your feet right now. The celibacy statements.

The new kit has apparently taken inspiration from the glass on the old Celtic FC stained glass window. It matters not the excuse to make the hoops jaggy and skewed, it was always going to happen and now it has.

I live in New Zealand, the land of the egg-shaped ball and it’s not easy to find replica football jerseys here, yet the reach of Adidas for Celtic is huge. Despite the gulf since the EPL started, Celtic jerseys are in sports shops here next to Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Juventus and that’s all. The elite, big, traditional giants of the game. In the company of stature Celtic belong. The marketing power of Adidas and the eminence they place upon Celtic is confirmed due to us now sharing the same home shirt template as Real Madrid and United.

My children are pre-teen and love the shirt. Granted it maybe ‘Marmite’ for many, but look at it this way – it’s creating controversy, it’s striking and bold, the kids dig it and will buy it, even the cool ones that don’t support Celtic (yet).

Imagine your granny (or granda) loving the same music as you, never mind your mum and dad?

This kit is punk rock and that’ll do for me. As the late, great Arthur Lee said… Forever Changes.

If we win the league then this kit will go down as a stone cold classic, and future generations shall look back and say it was their Halcyon Days, the way it should be.

Don’t fight it, Feel it.

Iain Conroy

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