Fans frustrated as Ipswich Town’s ‘Barcelona’ away kit is worn just once
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Ipswich Town’s maroon and navy striped away shirt was welcomed with hugely positive reviews when it was launched in the summer, with strong sales continuing throughout the season.
But to date the Barcelona-inspired kit has been used just once this season – during a 2-0 away loss at Blackburn in October – much to the frustration of supporters who have paid as much as £70 for the whole kit and up to £45 for the shirt.
Instead of using the shirt, the Blues have instead worn a specially-produced Adidas orange strip away from Portman Road, which has been used at Reading, Brighton, Portsmouth and Birmingham.
However, this has not been put on sale to fans, which has added to their annoyance.
Martin Swallow, 47, who follows the club home and away, believes an effort should be made to compensate fans who have bought the shirt, by giving those affected money off next season’s kit.
He said: “It’s really frustrating, so many people bought it because we expected it to be the main away kit, but we’ve barely worn it and the fans haven’t been able to see the benefit.
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“I think the club need to think about next season and maybe offer a reduction in price for anyone who bought this season’s shirt because we’re not cash cows.”
As well as seasoned football fans, the situation surrounding the club’s away kit has also disappointed younger sections of the club’s support.
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Charlotte Smith-Jarvis’s eight-year-old son, Ethan, loves the shirt because of the connections with Spanish giants Barca, but is disappointed he’s not been able to see his Ipswich heroes wear it more regularly.
She said: “He absolutely loves his Ipswich away kit. He and his friends have a bit of an obsession with FC Barcelona and all love ITFC so, for them, it combined the best of both worlds.
“When he got it for his birthday and put it on for the first time he was so excited. It’s just a shame he hasn’t had much opportunity to see his team wear it – especially when you factor in the cost which was around £70.”
A poll run on our website yesterday showed 69% of fans were unhappy at the shirt’s under use, with 31% still happy they bought the kit. Liz Edwards, chairman of the Ipswich Town Supporters’ Club, shares the fans’ frustrations.
“There was huge excitement when the shirt was launched,” she said.
“It is a fantastic design, has proved a best seller and it is a real shame that for some reason we haven’t worn it more often on the pitch.
“I fully understand the fans’ frustrations and many have spoken to me about it. All comments have been passed to ITFC. Personally I hope we see the team in the shirt several times before the end of the season.”
Media manager Steve Pearce said it’s always manager Mick McCarthy preference for his side to wear blue away from home where possible, rather than mix and match different elements of the club’s three kits, but that the Blues would look to ensure a similar situation doesn’t arise in the future.
He said: “Mick sees matchday as Town wearing blue, so where possible we will wear the home kit, with blue shorts if needed.
“It’s not just shirts that are affected by a colour clash when a referee looks at kit, it’s shorts and socks as well, even the goalkeeper’s kit can come into the equation.
“The design of the away kit means we can’t ‘mix and match’ shorts and socks with the other kits we have. It just doesn’t go so the orange strip is then used.
“The away kit has proved extremely popular and supporters have continued to purchase the shirt throughout the season but the fact that its use has been restricted will be taken into consideration when choosing away kits in the future.”
The Blues are likely to wear change colours on four more occasions this season, at QPR, Huddersfield, Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday.