FC Barcelona New Kit Represents Irony In One Of Its Most Catastrophic Period
FC Barcelona’s new home shirt for the next season resembles and takes inspiration from the ones they wore during some of the best seasons in the club’s history. But the irony here is that the new kit's launch comes at a time when the club is at their lowest in recent memory.
On July 14, 2020, FC Barcelona unveiled their home kit for the 2020/21 season. The announcement was long-overdue since there had been a few leaks about the kit.
The concept of how the shirt was going to look and pictures of the shirt were leaked a few weeks before the official announcement from the club. And the club even planned to don the kit on their players during the derby match against Espanyol. However, the club postponed the plans and also delayed the unveiling due to issues such as color fading in the 'Stadium' line of kits
The Catalan Giants finally unveiled its new jersey on July 14. This time, the club decided to go back to the traditional vertical stripes design after having some atrocious kit designs in the past few seasons.
Barcelona Kit Design Over The Years
2019/20 season’s chequered design in the trademark blue and red colors was one of the worst jersey designs the club had in a while. This was also the first season after the 2015/16 season that the club went with some other design than the vertical stripes design — the club’s home kit during the 2015/16 season had horizontal stripes and was the first time the club had ever foregone their vertical stripe design.
That 2015/2016 season was different in another way, too. With the change in jersey design, it also saw a change in the club’s top scorer. Suarez overtook Messi as the highest goalscorer for the club with 40 goals in Laliga and 54 goals in all competitions. My point here is, the change in the jersey design did not signify a change in the club’s situation for the worse, not that particular season, anyway.
However, both kit designs and the condition of the club went downhill after that season. Although the vertical stripes came back in the subsequent seasons, the form that the club had during the first two seasons of Luis Enrique’s tenure completely vanished.
Issues such as Neymar’s departure, Luis Suarez’s decline, aged players comprising of half the squad, and lack of good football all coincided with the appalling versions of vertical jersey designs of those years—starting from Enrique’s final season to Ernesto Valverde’s two-and-a-half seasons to now, Quique Setien’s ongoing tenure.
The club is in tatters right now, in perfect alignment with the current home jersey design. Results are hard to come by, good football is absolutely nowhere to be seen, the squad is getting older by the day, and the management is absolutely inept. And the design of the new jersey is in direct contrast to what the situation of the club is right now.
The new home kit is, according to the club themselves, designed taking inspiration from the 1920s’ era of FC Barcelona. The 1920s are considered to be FC Barcelona’s first ‘Golden era’. It was the time when football first started becoming a regular part of people’s lives in Barcelona. The era was also defined by club legends such as Zamora, Piera, and Samiter who became the first heroes of the club in the city.
They formed a team and a club that was successful both in sporting and financial aspects. Drawing huge crowds, they led to the construction of FC Barcelona’s first stadium of their own, Les Corts, in 1922. And they won multiple trophies such as the Spanish Championship (now known as the Copa Del Rey) in 1928 and the Spanish Liga now the La Liga) in 1929.
The era built the base for the FC Barcelona that we see and know now. And the new home kit pays homage to that era and the club logo of the time. The gold lines between each stripe of red and blue elicit the club crest that the club wore on their shirts during the 1920s.
The crest that FC Barcelona wore on their shirt during the 1920s era (Photo: Footy Headlines)
But, it isn’t only the 1920s golden era that the kit resembles. The kit also has more than a few shades of the home jersey that the team wore during the 2010/11 season. The wide red and blue vertical stripes remind us of probably the greatest season in FC Barcelona’s history, or at least the season when the team played the most beautiful football.
With Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi at its core, Barcelona won the La Liga, Supercopa de Espana, and the UEFA Champions League, and also were the finalists in the Copa Del Rey. And not only did they win all those competitions, but they also did it in such a fashion that the season’s team is considered to be one of the best football teams in the history of the beautiful game.
Hence, the home kit for the next season has touched upon such happy memories. The red and blue stripes, the golden collar, the Catalan ‘Senyera’ flag on the back—all resemble the home kit of the 2010/11 season. That jersey stands for the good times at the club, probably even the best period the club went through in its entire history.
The newly unveiled home kit (right) has a lot of similarities to the kit that FC Barcelona wore during their historic 2010/11 season (left)
However, the latest kit is in stark contrast with how the club’s situation is right now.
A Happy Jersey for a Sad Time
The New jersey comes at a time when the team is at its lowest point possible.
The team will wear it during Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board’s final season in charge of the club. Bartomeu’s reign has mostly been a series of bad decisions, sinking the club into a quicksand of financial and sporting crisis.
Whether it be bad transfer policies, social media scandals, lack of far-sightedness, ignorance of the club’s academy, or lack of appropriate attempts to improve upon the club that he inherited, Bartomeu’s time is one of the worst the club has experienced.
The board’s incompetence has trickled down to the first team as well in recent years. The aging squad with no replacements and no departures has certainly caused the football to become stale. Managers with no teeth have only increased player power in the team, and there is overall unrest at the club.
Maybe all this negativity is a bit much and the new kit represents the beginning of a new and better era at the club. Maybe things will start getting better from next season onwards, or even from this point onwards. Maybe everyone who supports the club by heart should be optimistic and hope that good times return to the club along with the return of a kit design that makes us reminisce about the good old times.
But, I can’t see anything good happening in the near future, or at least not in the next season. Maybe it will be a slow start to a better future next season, but there is almost no hope for an immediate and radically positive change. Rather, one can almost be sure that things are only going to get worse in the next season.
The players are only getting older, the player power is only increasing, and the performances are only bound to get worse as the players tire and the manager loses control over time.
Even worse, Messi is wasting his final years in a team that knows nothing but to give him the ball and pray he does something magical with it. Although he is known for frequently answering the prayers, the prayers have been getting more demanding and answering more scarce.
The supporters are bound to be in two minds next season — whether to hope for the better or buckle themselves up for the worse for one more year. The kit design, which is a welcome change for a lot of us, is going to make us wish for better, and at the same time, pray that it doesn’t end up becoming a symbol of a catastrophe.