Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Peter Saville, the graphic designer who created England’s 2010 football kit, said at the time he would have made the English flag ‘in a million colours’ if given the opportunity.

The row over American kit manufacturer Nike slightly changing the colour of the St George’s Cross on the new England football kit has continued to expose fan’s short-term memories and the country’s further descent into pointless culture wars.

The new home shirt is in the traditional white with a blue trim down the side and around the collar, which is where the colour of St George’s cross has been changed from red to various shades of blue, pink and purple in a ‘playful update’, according to Nike.

The 2010 England home kit was designed by world-renowned designer Saville and while mostly white, it had small red and blue crosses in a pattern across the shoulders; the accompanying goalkeeper kit was black with little grey crosses all over it too.

His 2011 away goalkeeper kit’s pattern was made up almost entirely of interlocking crosses of different shades of green.

And the designer himself said he would have gone even further.

Speaking in 2010, Saville said: “The core motif that I had to work with an England kit was the cross of St George, so I thought that is the symbol of England but it has become rather devalued in recent decades by being associated with a particular kind of nationalistic spirit which is kind of confrontational and sometimes violent.

“I felt it could be retrieved from that situation and I felt it could be more democratically understood and be taken back from that core nationalistic attitude and be given back to the people.

“Modern England, as part of the UK, is a very socially diverse and ethnically diverse community, so I thought we need to share this cross out more broadly across the community.

“Umbro asked me for a colourful white shirt – I thought let’s make it very colourful.

“I decided to take the cross of St George and make it in a multitude of colours, I would have made it in a million colours if I had been given that opportunity.

“I not only wanted to see it in red and white but I wanted to see it in black, yellow, orange, blue, purple, green, pink – I wanted it to be something that a diverse cross section of people could identify with.”

Fast forward to 2024 though and Nike’s home kit is facing calls to be pulled altogether from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer and swathes of other people, just because of the colour of the cross.

But the FA has spoken out against the backlash and says it will be worn as planned in the upcoming friendly against Brazil.

A spokesperson for the FA said: “The new England 2024 home kit has a number of design elements which were meant as a tribute to the 1966 World Cup winning team.

“The coloured trim on the cuffs is inspired by the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes and the same colours also feature on the design on the back of the collar.

“It is not the first time that different coloured St George’s cross-inspired designs have been used on England shirts.

“We are very proud of the red and white St George’s cross – the England flag.

“We understand what it means to our fans, and how it unites and inspires, and it will be displayed prominently at Wembley tomorrow – as it always is – when England play Brazil.”

The new home shirt has already been seen in action on March 22 as England’s U21s won 5-1 at Azerbaijan against their U21 side in a Euros qualifier, and in England U18s penalty shootout win against Germany U18s in the Pinatar Super Cup.

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