One of the issues that has raised the ire of A-League supporters over the years has been the FFA's insistence on using cookie-cutter shirt templates as a cost-saving mechanism. The patterns used by Reebok in the past have been rather unimaginative: no stripes, hoops, bands, sashes or anything else straying from the generic. In their third season Melbourne were allowed to adopt the big 'V' as part of their home and away kits, but this was an exception to the general trend.
The FFA has also, until now, been reluctutant to budge from its 'whites only' away shirt policy. Perhaps this wasn't such a bad idea given such eyeball-sodomising possibilities as the bright purple Glory coming up against the fluoro-orange-and-maroon Roar, but in any event this era of away-shirt apartheid seems now to be over.
The first inhabitants of the A-League's new rainbow nation are the Central Coast Mariners. For their upcoming Asian jaunt they will be sporting a navy-and-yellow striped home shirt, with a simple all yellow for away matches. It seems they'll also be wearing these shirts (or something similar) in the next A-League season. Good - they look, in my humble opinion, pretty schmicko.
There's something about these clean, simple designs that really appeals to me. If the shorts were shorter and the hair and muttonchops longer, they would look like they could be contesting the 1974 FA Cup or something. It'll look different with sponsors all over it of course, but still, the Mariners are a team with retro style. Even their logo looks like the cover of a 70's surf flick.
Word has it that the sea gypsies won't be the only team in stripes next season, either, with perhaps Newcastle and Wellington also to take that option. As for Adelaide, I think we can expect our home strip to remain as sexy as always in solid red, but the away kit may be a different story, with the club seemingly opting for a colour as far away from the current white as is possible. Ah, rumours, rumours...