Thursday, September 18, 2014
Arsenal appointment hints at Adidas tie-up

Arsenal appointment hints at Adidas tie-up

As many will no doubt be aware rumours of a potential Arsenal kit deal with Adidas have been doing the rounds since the summer. Indeed, even though our current partnership with Nike, which has been running since 1994, doesn’t end until 2014 there have even been suggestions the Gunners could revive their relationship with the German sportswear manufacturers in time for next season.

Whether the club is in a position to buy Nike out of the final year of their contract, as Chelsea did with Umbro before moving to Adidas in the first year of the Abramovich era, remains to be seen, but given the latest in-house appointment at the Emirates the possibility of an Adidas deal looks increasingly likely.

FC Business reported yesterday that Simon Lilley has been made the club’s new Head of Retail; a position he’ll take up next month. Having garnered ten years experience working for Adidas, he’s more recently worked for UEFA, where he consolidated Adidas’ position as a global sponsor, and for LOCOG, for whom he was Head of Licensing and Retail – a position which again saw him strengthen Olympic ties with the “The Brand with 3 Stripes.”

It remains to be seen how exactly Lilley influences Arsenal’s retail arm, although Chief Commercial Officer Tom Fox spoke warmly about the new man.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Simon has decided to join Arsenal. His track record in delivering outstanding commercial revenues for global sports brands and developing multi-channel retail businesses is second to none.

“Our retail division has made enormous strides recently and we hope that Simon will help us to continue shaping and evolving our retail strategy as we look to identify further opportunities to grow our retail operations both online and internationally.”

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95 comments

  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated Thumb up 31 Thumb down 90

  2. I apologise if this is completely off topic, but when I saw this story I remembered my dream from last night:

    We lost 0-10 to Bayern. 10-0 !

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  3. Have to be honest here. Adidas kits are fucking gross. Would rather not have stripes on the sleeves again.

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  4. Nike kits are classics for me. Adidas reminds me “uniforms” which where Chelski, which I don´t like. And stripes on sleeves? no thanks.

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    • Let’s stop all this fussin and a fueding,we could end up like the mugsmashers and have the massive global brand that is warrior.

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    • 'desi'gner gooner

      Agree completely with you mate…..Adidas with their three stripes over the shoulder manage to make all kits look the same – the color being the only difference. It must be a nightmare for the designers at adidas to work with such a rigid idea all the time….Nike on the other hand innovate a lot and I like that approach to design. Yeah you might go wrong sometimes but we get to see a lot of fresh ideas everytime nike comes up with a new kit. I for one love the purple reign kit and don’t have too much of a problem with blue hoops in the home kit either.

      I also feel(judging purely from whatever I have read in posts on various Arsenal blogs and articles about this topic..) that a lot of the long time fans – fans who have been gooners for more than 20 years or so are more resistant to changes in the traditional kit than the more recent ones….Maybe it is because of the associated memories of eras gone by but as they say – change is the essence of life and as I mentioned earlier it is refreshing to see new design ideas by the likes of Nike as compared to the rigid design ideology by adidas.

      Although if they give us more revenue in terms of a better deal – I won’t mind seeing the stripes of adidas if they allow us to buy us a marquee player at least once every three seasons or so!!! Otherwise Nike is much better aesthetically as far as I am concerned…..

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  5. Noooooo! I love what Nike have done for Arsenal and I despise Adidas! Please don’t happen :(

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  6. I’m all for it if it brings in some cash – hopefully more cash = more reinvestment… I can dream at least :-)

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  7. Hmm. Guess I’m the only one who didn’t mind Adidas’s ‘Pool and Chelsea kits. Taste, eh?

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    • Pool’s black away w/silver pin-stripes and Chelsea’s current home are the most elegantly designed, cleanest kits any team has had in years. On a par with the blue with blue pinstripes we had in 09.

      I’ve never had a massive problem with what Nike have done with our home shirts, but every company for some reason feels that they have to get crazy with the away shirts with off-key colour combinations and stupid patterns and the like – and Nike have fucked us with that kind of nonsense a lot in my opinion. I can only think of two Arsenal away shirts – ever, that I would ever be seen dead in.

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  8. Congratulations are due to arseblogger for being able to assemble the only 6 gooners who actually like the recent Arsenal kits, all in one place! ;-)

    It certainly supports your theory that people only chime in with negative comments, rather than positive.

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    • Now seven: This season’s home shirt is excellent. And if the blue/white/red hoop is good enough for the RAF, it’s good enough for Arsenal.

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      • Eight, I like this years kit too. It’s different and as others have said there’s blue in the badge so why not a bit of blue on the kit. At least they’re mixing it up and not making you dish out for a new kit that has barely changed.

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      • nine, it grew on me, tbqh

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      • Ten.

        Also, I’m surprised at the amount of negativity about Adidas kits, in part because the backlash against many of the Nike concepts (esp the away colours of recent years) seemed to signal enough unrest to demand a change. Adidas does very good work and is usually quite conservative, something most football fans seem to like…so?

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  9. Not an Adidas fan myself. The strip just dominate the shirt.
    Whilst I have questioned some Nike decisions like the purple regal and this seasoned hooped sleeves, they look amazing when seen in the flesh. Just look bloody awful when seen online lol

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    • Personally, I’m an Arsenal fan. I couldn’t give a flying one about which brand the shirt is made by and find it bizarre that anyone would. Both companies – Nike and Adidas- are in the same business and employ designers to design kits. Even though it would appear to some of us that the people they use are straight out of some kind of care in the community scheme, judging by their outputs. The only thing which matters is how much money the relevant company pays us. Either way, we’ll get a load of “contemporary” designs presented with a load of marketing speak to make the pill of an ugly kit easier to swallow. This is a fact of 21st century footballing life. Deal with it. Move on.

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      • Agree, it’s about the cannon, not the the stripes or the swoosh. But at least toying with the idea to change to adidas should pressure nike into giving us better terms.
        Just to contradict myself, I would still be a little bit sad if we switched, i think nike has done a good job. Sometimes better, sometimes worse of course.
        But think of the 02 – 04 kit. Of course the team that used to wear that shirt was so good that it’s impossible to remain objective, but also the kit itself was fantastic in my opinion
        http://www.whoateallthepies.tv/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/PA-606677.jpg

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      • Reminds me that I want O2 back as a sponsor, Emirates looks stupid in comparison

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      • If we have to have a sponsor’s name on the shirt can’t it be Canon?

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  10. Well hopefully he will help get us a good deal off of Addias as Man Utd’s Kit deal with Nike is up in 2015 and there are talks of them renewing their deal with Nike for £1bn over the lifetime of the deal (15 years or £60m per year). If we don’t get something close we will just fall further and further behind.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2222096/Manchester-United-line-1bn-Nike-kit-deal.html

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  11. Argh not Addidas. They have no creativity when it comes to kits. The 3 stripes have to be there so it limits what designs you can come up with. Nike have been awesome. Starting with the first two blue/light blue away kits from ’94-96. I still have them in my parents loft (i wonder if i’d still fit in them?). The only kit I haven’t liked is the recent yellow and redcurrent one. @RobC make that the only 7 ppl who like the recent kits…;-)

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  12. Nike, addidas, umbro, errea…well perhaps not errea I honestly do not care. Shall we win while donning the addidas one?. I think not!. I wouldn’t mind seeing giroud taking to the pitch in his undies and score afew. Mikel in tights, andre in pyjamas but please win.

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  13. Wrighty's Gold Tooth

    I think football shirts have become to ‘athletic’ and Nike are partially to blame for that. This has always been my favourite of our shirt designs: http://www.myfootballkits.co.uk/arsenal-away-kit-1991.jpg

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  14. We gotta move with the times and having a big money sponsorship is the difference between spending wisely or spending over £20m on a player (potentially). We need these big deals to commit in the future. Switching to Adidas will switch it up a bit which is always nice to keep things fresh

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  15. If they do yellow and blue away kits I’m sold.

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  16. We ran a just-for-fun competition over at DesignFootball.com to see what an adidas Arsenal kit might look like http://bit.ly/P6ShNC It may be of interest.

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    • Some of those are definitely a bit tasty. Arius especially – I will support any campaign that gets us into a black away shirt. And Red/Gold is always a winner.

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  17. The myth that Nike/Adidas etc actually design the kits isn’t entirely true. Often clubs (or their associated agencies) will design it and the sportswear brands will realise it.

    Big difference.

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  18. Personally I like the idea of Adidas making our kits again, but I guess I’m still looking lovingly at the Anfield 89 kit, which was Adidas. The only downside was that hideous away kit that Wrighty’s Gold Tooth has already reminded us of. The people saying that there isn’t a lot you can do with an Adidas kit my answer is great, red shirt, white sleeves, who cares if there 3 stripes down the sleeves, check out our old Adidas kits, doesn’t look bad at all, better than some of the crap Nike have dished up.

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  19. AFC’s spectacular inability to generate commercial income is nothing short of scandalous. And is as good a reason as any why Gazidis and the board should all be sacked.

    Our commercial income was just £46M in 2010/11 … compare this with Liverpool (£77M), Chelsea (£57M), Man City (£58M), and Man United (£103M). Thanks to high ticket prices and CL money we miraculously end up as 5th highest total income in Europe.

    In 2007 Arsenal’s commercial income was £42M and Manchester United’s was £56M. Now ours is £53M and ManU’s is a spectacular £118M.

    All this without ManU giving away Old Trafford’s naming rights (which could be worth as much as $1Bn).

    Our rival clubs have proven to be so much better than us when it’s come to generating commercial income at every level. And it may well be the foremost factor in decisions to sell players we might otherwise have wanted to keep.

    Let’s face it, we’re run by 57 old farts who know nothing about innovation and modern-day sporting commerce. Which is one of the reasons they are all-too-happy to ‘pass the buck’ to Arsene Wenger whenever they can.

    If anything is holding AFC back it’s this. And some of these dinosaurs should be held accountable sooner rather than later.

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    • I read somewhere that we have one of the largest fan bases in world football, the fact that we don’t exploit that is as you say a scandal.
      Our season ticket waiting list is almost now non existstant in comparison to a few years ago, due to the constant selling of players, the ridicules prices and the fact that arsenal only thinks a recession applies to the purchasing of players and not to the purchasing of a match ticket.
      And yet our top executive is in the top 3 wage earners of his position in football.
      Another trophy less season coupled with the sale of Walcott and sagna and no signings come January will see the grove start to empty alarmingly.

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    • To be fair the commercial ‘team’ we had was almost non-existent and light years behind United.

      Tom Fox has come in and, if you read the piece on this site, working very hard to put a proper team together – which is absolutely necessary for the commercial future of the club.

      At the moment they are utterly hamstrung by the deals in place that we needed to build the new stadium.

      The acid test will be 2014 so they really need to be given the time to show they can improve things and that the work they’ve done in preparation for that will raise income sufficiently.

      What’s the point in sacking people when the people you replace them with will have to deal with the exact same obstacles?

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      • The almost non-existent commercial team of which you speak was of course the result of David Dein’s lack of foresight, at best, in not seeing the importance of this revenue stream 20 years ago, as Manchester United’s owners/management team did. Something which the aforementioned’s aggressive PR signally fails to mention every time he wants to put out a story about just how great he and his tan are.

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      • Clockendrider – fair point, Dein was so tied up in moving us to Wembley and making sure he was a friend of the players that he certainly didn’t do as much as he could have.

        It’s not as if it wasn’t obvious either. When people were wasting time being snitty about United selling shirts and winning fans abroad they should have been doing the very same. There’s no doubt we didn’t take advantage of our success the way we should have.

        Imagine the marketability of the Invincibles, but we had a ‘commercial’ unit that just wasn’t able to deal with football as big business (which, like it or not, it is).

        Anyway, I’m not saying this new team are doing it all correctly, but the point is we won’t really know for a little while yet.

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      • The big primary shirt deals are only part of what is holding us back, The utter inability to create secondary partnerships is scandalous.

        Compare Arsenal’s list of Sponsers to Utds:
        http://www.arsenal.com/the-club/sponsors-partners
        http://www.manutd.com/en/Club/Sponsors.aspx

        They have 30, we have 11.
        Utd earn £18m per year from Mobile Telecoms partners, which is probably as much Arsenal earn from all their partners put together (Nike and Emirates included).

        Why aren’t Arsenal out there getting similar deals? You are right for the big deals there is not much we can do about them (even though Man Utd ‘s shirt Sponsorship deal is up the same time as Arsenal’s and they have already have signed up a new sponsor for a record deal and are getting ~£15m per year for next two years before Chevrolet even go on the shirt!) but surely we could sign up a myriad of secondary sponsors to help make up the short fall? Why aren’t we?

        Tom Fox has been in situ for three years now and all new deals(about 4 while Utd have signed 20) that have been secured in that time probably just about cover his salary and those of the team he put together. We have heard numerous references to the Five Year Plan (that conveniently coincides with the Kit deals) but very little to back this up. We have Gazidis talking about “tremendous developments” in the commercial area but I can’t see them. Under their watch we have fallen further and further behind in commercial income not only to Utd but to the sugar Daddy clubs.

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      • “What’s the point in sacking people when the people you replace them with will have to deal with the exact same obstacles?”

        Because they might be better at dealing with those exact same obstacles.

        Tom Fox has been with us for three years which is a lifetime in business. During that time (ish) our commercial revenue has gone from £48M to £53M while Manchester United’s has gone from £70M to £118M. This with ‘proven’ businessmen sitting on the board. Directors like John Keswick (Hambros, DeBeers) and Philip Harris (Great Universal, Matalan). Not to mention Peter Hill-Wood … all men in their seventies. And all very conservative in the way they’ve steered the club.

        I’m not complaining about the naming rights – it was a landmark deal at the time. Nor am I complaining too much about the Nike deal even though it nets us £5.5M a season compared with the £20M Sunderland is getting … it was bad timing as much being a poor deal to begin with. What I am complaining about is everything else. There’s such a lack of innovation. And such a dearth of leadership. When was the last time you heard about Arsenal breaking new ground on the commercial side? So many opportunities – missed, wasted, squandered.

        Maybe I should send a list to Mr. Fox just to give him a jolt. But if after three years we have ended up where we are I fear he’s simply not the right person for the task.

        Everyone’s waiting until 2014. My question is why.

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      • Lets make it 10 years!!

        Well said Eleanor, it makes no sense to wait until 2014!
        There’s a total lack of innovation & a dearth of ideas by this commercial team.

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      • I feel 2014 is used as an excuse by the commercial team. I’m sure they can do plenty by then to help bridge the gap between us and Man Ure by around £20 Million through more secondary sponsorships.

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    • Blogger

      Thanks I read that at the time (and thanks for putting it and the rest of the work you do with this site, it is great) but I’m afraid that it just strikes me as rationalising failure (for the want of a better term). In this journey he is talking about after three years Utd’s commercial income had gone up 33% (since 2009 when Fox took over it has gone up 48%) Arsenals has gone up by 9%.

      I know I sound like a sourpuss and I don’t expect us to match Utds income but it seems exactly like it is with the football team: lots of talk about big things, some success but at the end of it all not much to show.

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      • Uler,
        But surely the point is United’s wasn’t starting from pretty much nothing. In fact they had a good 10-odd years start. With the best will in the world, we can’t go from 0-100 in no time. At least the journey has begun now. Which, to my earlier point, ought to have been managed better back in the 90’s under a different management team. It wasn’t and here we are trying to play catch up. It will happen, but it will happen in time. The new shirt manufacturers and sponsors ought to give us the opportunity and money to further invest in developing the commercial revenue streams. Time will tell. But let;s not judge the book after the first chapter.

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      • ClockEndRider

        I’m using Tom Fox’s “Journey” quotation from the link provided above., He talks about Utd starting “8 years ago” so I used that as the start point so I think it is completely fair to compare 3 years in . I’m afraid I disagree with you about giving time, the further behind we have fall in commercial income the harder it will be to compete, the harder it is to compete (i.e. win things) the further we will fall in commercial income, its a vicious cycle that our commercial team has done very little to break so I am going to criticize them for it.

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  20. Always thought Adidas kits look good so I’m quite pleased on that front!

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  21. At least it’s not Pony doing the shirts.

    Now that was a marriage made in heaven when Pony did the Spuds kit.

    If it looks like shit, smells like shit and even says it on the shirt, guess what?

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  22. Good. Nike kits have been fairly horrid of late (our last two away kits have been horrific) and we need a new kit deal since we are getting royally screwed at the nokent

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  23. Nike kits are shit, every teams shirt has exactly the same design apart from the colour.

    I’d much prefer the Adidas sponsorship. Hopefully there’s more money in it for us too.

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  24. Cmon guys, Adidad are way ahead of Nike design and qualiyt wise. And hopefully results will improve as the Adidas kits look more solid.

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  25. Pony and a chicken on their shirts….!!
    Wankers

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  26. Look what Nike did with the Barca kits (especially the away kit):

    http://www.inthestands.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Barcelona-new-kit-2012-2013-470×352.jpg

    Imagine something ugly as that with the Gunner badge on it!

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  27. We can’t be having the same kit supplier as Stoke :|

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  28. To be frank Adidas shirts are crap. I just hope we don’t dump Nike. Yes Nike has done a bad job this season with our kits but overall we have had a successful partnership with them for the past 13 years or so.

    I don’t think the board will want to move over to Adidas, given our close connections with Nike (125th Anniversary kit, The Purple Reign kit / theme).

    Also we have to start winning trophies if we want to command the kind of figures that Man Utd or Liverpool get.

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  29. Although some Adidas kits are ok in my opinion the best Adidas kits are still a distant 2nd to the best Nike kits. Barca, Juve(their jagged edged stripes are fantastic on their home and away kits), Inter and to a lesser extent Manure(Shit but innovative). They’re all innovative design wise and are not duplicated in other colors in other teams. I would have loved to have seen the Arsenal shirt in the design of Barca’s except in Red & White with the away the same design but maybe in Blue & Yellow. I love our purple number and our home strip isn’t the best but it’s still very good. I really hope Nike realize they’ve gotten a very under the odds deal over the “money up front for the stadium” years and renew at equivalent market rate. I don’t hate Adidas I just feel their stripes no matter the team or colors dominate too much. Nike has 1 logo usually on the chest, Adidas is on the chest AND 3 strips strung out across the shoulders and arms. I feel Adidas’ branding is too intrusive on a very important part of what makes clubs tick and that’s their colors.
    A couple of people mentioned before Pool & Chelski’s strips looking good. Now picture them sponsored by Nike I think their strips would look a hell of a lot cleaner, crisper and professional without the stripes.

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  30. Adidas all the way. German power baby and finaly time for some change :)

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  31. If Adidas could give us a few more quids to sign quality players i am fine with that

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  32. How can anyone in their right mind prefer Nike over adidas? Adidas have a fashion and street culture heritage that Nike can never buy! Just look at the trainer history and google image it.

    Liverpool’s kits always look smart and ours look fisher price.

    If in doubt, ask Ian Brown.

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  33. Adidas kits. Endless tedious variations on one tired theme – three parallel lines.

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  34. Nike or Adidas give a fuck. Money is what it’s all about, which is understandable because that’s obviously the way the game has gone.

    But call me an idealist hypocritical fool but I would rather go with the company that least exploits factory workers in poorer countries, whilst at the same time gives the club lots of money so we can hire very talented but greedy footballers.

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  35. If it ain’t broke.

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  36. Boys, just be pleased that it ain’t warrior kits. If we had warrior, i’d faint.

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  37. Blogs you should do a survey: adidas or nike, to find out what the fans would like.

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  38. I think we should go for cut-off jeans and no shirt, it works for me.
    We could just tattoo the crest on the chest of the players.

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  39. Why don’t we find a brand desperate to make a name for itself and charge them a fortune!

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  40. Nike have been a disaster, late kits, sizing never available (especially for kids), recalled kit because of quality issues, Arsenal always low priority behind other brands.
    Fix this, or find a supplier who is willing to do so and prioritise our deal and everyone might make a bit more cash as well as be happy with the deal.

    Maybe after this is fixed we can focus on whether the kit looks as you’d like

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    • Excellent point. The club shop is still waiting for delivery of kids home kit socks. How difficult can it be for the manufacturer to design the kit: manufacture the kit: market the kit: provide the kit to club outlets in a timely fashion in order to maximise effect of said marketing? For a joined up company, not very is the answer.
      Unless of course the manufacturer already sees that they are going to be dumped and deliberately doesn’t put sufficient effort/priority into supporting the client.
      Shambles, and not for the first time……

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  41. I’m quite excited about a possible Adidas kit.

    Probably because in my mind it’ll be a re-issue of the 89 shirts. How bloody ace would that be?

    http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/001/645/259/away3_display_image.jpg?1323318348

    Ace on toast is how ace.

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  42. If this deal results in me being able to buy Arsenal branded Superstar trainers, then shut up and take my money.

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  43. Yes red or dead you know this!!

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  44. I just hate what Nike do with our away kits. Adidas is better and they will give us bucket loads more money (even more so If we win something before signing the deals). So I am happy.

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  45. I must say I do admire those that have such strong opinions on the subject.

    Personally I couldn’t give a fish’s tit as long as a) we win something and b) we don’t have shirts with birds hormones in, like the 2000 Waffer Cup final.

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  46. lovely… step 1 should be to dump Venda from the shopdirect site, it is abysmal!

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  47. Please, don't let it be so!

    I think hiring this Lilley fella is a good piece of recruitment, but I hope for dear life that I won’t have to see my beloved Arsenal in Adidas! Nike has designed the best kits in the past 5 years or so, hands down! (The pink Juventus away shirt aside…) They’re cutting edge in a way that Adidas isn’t and I think Arsenal share many core values with Nike. What Nike does to the sportswear market is what Arsenal does to football. Staying ahead and setting the bar, not looking at what others do first. Sure, we haven’t won anything in… too many years but if look beyond that I think Nike and Arsenal go hand in hand in many ways. They’re both really cutting edge and even though it’s just symbolic, which brand the team wears, I still think it’s a rather important symbol. Like someone said earlier, the current kits looked awful when I first saw them on the internet and then when the team wears it on the pitch it looks really cool! To me there’s no question, Arsenal should re-negotiate and extend the deal with Nike. Adidas is what you see in the rear view mirror. Nike is like Apple, they don’t follow the crowd. They set the standard for others to follow. It’s down to the Arsenal marketing dept. to decide what kind of brands they want to associate the club with. I know I will never wear an Adidas shirt, no matter how much I want to support my club. I’d rather just pick up a red and white Nike t-shirt and wear that. Paint the badge on myself if I have to!

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  48. if you want to have an idea of what an arsenal adidas kit will look like this is the closest example i could find of teams wearing the 2012 adidas style.

    http://www.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2011/05/10/timbers-seek-road-red-emption-in-seattle-and-whos-carrying-the-most-green

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  49. It’s not going to happen, at least until the Nike contract has expired. When Arsenal announced the current home kit, all the banners and pictures etc. for it said “Introducing the new 2012/2014 home kit” and they made a point of saying they’re the only club trying to save fans money by keeping the same home kit for two seasons.

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