Bayern kit debate: let’s not kill creativity

An FC Bayern fan group called Paragraf Eins leads a campaign regarding the team’s kit colours to protest against recent designs. While well-intentioned, the campaign is misguided.

The Paragraf Eins people are highly visible at the Allianz Arena. When I attended the Bayern vs. Leverkusen match on September 15, I saw them sporting logos on their kits and displaying banners.

Their problem? The fact that FCB’s home kit is red and navy, that the away kit is mint green and that the Champions League kit is a kind of blue-gray-lilac. Their demand? That FC Bayern use red and white, the team’s traditional colours.

My friend Rick Joshua sides with them on his own blog, arguing that tradition should prevail. I will tell you why he is a horrible person wrong.

Were a kit debate to erupt based strictly on taste, I would agree regarding the mint shirt. While it seemed to be fine in online pictures, I was horrified as soon as I saw it in person on stadium grounds. It makes someone look like they have had their garment badly tinted in Photoshop.

However, taste is not the question. The debate pits tradition against creative designs.

Before you question my credibility as a fan, allow me to show you a photo of the kits I own.

michel kits

Only seven pieces in total. Mostly red and white. I favour simple designs first and foremost and buy another kit only if it matches my tastes. Is it a strict approach? Yes. However, I felt that the navy one with pink accents was an interesting design and that the black Champions League kit from 2014-15 was too pretty not to have.

With that in mind, here are the reasons why I stand against Paragraf Eins.

Exhibit A: red and white isn’t always good

Remember the 2010-11 home kit? That shirt made the players look like either train drivers or prisoners from a century ago. Or some kind of attempt to migrate to Serie A.

2010

Do you want to be seen in public with this wreck, or do you appreciate better design?

Exhibit B: navy is traditional

They say that only red and white are traditional. Sorry, but a good look at retro kits on sale reminds us that navy also is traditional in its own way. Legends such as Oliver Kahn and Stefan Effenberg have worn it. If you have been a Bayern fan for long enough, you have seen it on television at the time. Or at least in pictures.

Does the following image remind you of something? That’s the 2000-01 home kit. A classic.

Bayern Opel kit

Did anybody dislike last year’s Champions League shirt? Then they may have hated the 1997-98 home kit:

1997 home

Back then, the Bayern crest had a darker shade of blue than today’s “Bavarian flag blue”.

Exhibit C: the occasional elegance

Traditionalism is laudable except when it requires never trying new things to be fashionable. Had FC Bayern turned down the idea of a black kit in 2014-15, this beauty would never have made it to the market.

cl kit 1415

Will anyone tell me without blinking that this isn’t a nice item to own? Will they add that it didn’t look good on the players? That it didn’t look like a Bayern shirt? Black is not a traditional colour, but should we be inflexible to the point where we forego this occasional outstanding elegance?

If we are inflexible, we ask FC Bayern to be just like Borussia Dortmund. There is so little variation in their kit designs that it’s depressing. I’d rather have the non-traditional Bayern kit above than force Adidas to design a shirt that makes me look like I just escaped a mental institution.

bvb kits

What about plain white?

My kit enemy friend Rick argues that FC Bayern should consistently wear a white kit when away from home. White can be extremely simple and elegant without violating tradition. Granted.

Some of the mock-ups he posted are nice. Others look like tapestry are less interesting because patterns tend to be more subtle on darker colours.

Whether we like the designs or not, the “BVB argument” stays firmly in mind here. Once you own a handful of kits with the same primary colour, you kind of own them all. It is a collector’s dream to have variety.

Final thought

Let’s not be ideological when it comes to kit designs. Variety brings spice to life. Excessive commercialism will inevitably lead to a few dubious designs, but they are the exception instead of the rule. There is little to fret about unless you expect three kits with red and white every season.