Most recently, the topic that dominated the conversation for many supporters is hummel after they agreed to a record three-year contract to replace Umbro as kit maker for the Blues.
You may be familiar with the sportswear brand, but you haven’t seen them in the Premier League for a while.
In fact, it has been 13 years since hummel last designed a kit for a first division team in England – while they were producing the Aston Villa tape for the 2006/07 campaign.
However, they have always prevailed in English football, and a particular partnership could serve as a very interesting model for what will happen at Goodison Park.
Middlesbrough announced hummel as their last kit maker before the 2018/19 campaign, ending a nine-season stretch they had with adidas. Teesside fans have enjoyed each of their last two tapes, and there are specific reasons behind this.
To find out how hummel gained the affection of supporters so quickly, we spoke to Teesside Live editor in Middlesbrough, Philip Tallentire.
Could Everton see a similar story in the months and years to come?
Having had a long-term contract with a company like adidas, what did the club look like when hummel was confirmed as the last manufacturer?
The news that hummel would make the Middlesbrough kits was well received by fans. Not because Adidas did a bad job – they didn’t do it – but because of hummel ties to Boro that go back to a pivotal moment in club history.
Boro wore what is now considered an iconic hummel kit the season they were relegated to the third level and were then liquidated in 1986.
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The Steve Gibson consortium saved the club and, wearing the same strip, the exciting young Middlesbrough team led by Bruce Rioch was promoted back to the former Division Two when first called up in 1987.
Players on this team – Tony ‘Mogga’ Mowbray, Stuart Ripley, Bernie Slaven, Gary Pallister – are still considered club legends.
hummel has now produced two kits for the club, how well have they been received?
The two house kits that hummel produced for Boro experienced a storm and sold like proverbial buns.
The company wisely exploited its historic ties to the club and produced what could be described as retro-inspired shirts.
The first featured Boro’s iconic “white stripe” and hummel chevrons, as did the 1985-1987 shirt.
And the current home band is based on the club’s 1987-89 kit, which is fondly remembered. This one was not manufactured by hummel at the time, but was carried by the team which carried out a second successive promotion under Rioch and a season in the elite.
Outdoor kits have also proven popular. Last season, Boro wore an elegant dark blue stripe while this time, hummel proposed a white shirt with a red hoop and blue with blue shorts.
How was hummel’s engagement with supporters during their time with the club?
The company has played a few blinkers since it started working with Middlesbrough.
The first was to produce the aforementioned kits on the basis of “classic” models – including fairly elegant leisure wear.
The second was to print the lyrics to a song called Infant Hercules on the inside of the collar of the first home shirt they produced.
Infant Hercules is a ballad on Middlesbrough written by Joe Hammill, the singer and songwriter of the group Teesside Cattle & Cane.
The members are all big fans of Boro and the song is a love letter to the region.
By the way, Infant Hercules, this is how Prime Minister William Gladstone described Middlesbrough during a visit to the rapidly growing industrial center in 1862.
History and a unique identity are important to Everton fans. From Boro’s experience, do you think hummel can provide this?
It is clear that hummel recognizes the importance of historical precedence based on the work they have done so far with Boro.
So far, Hummel’s Boro kits have definitely inspired fans’ memories of happy – or crucial – moments for the club, mixing old designs with modern bands.
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Whether they take a similar approach with Everton remains to be seen, but judging from the kits they produced for clubs like Rangers and Middlesbrough, it seems likely that they will.
There is no doubt that a club of Everton’s stature will be regarded as a blue ribbon client by hummel and they will aim to convince the Goodison faithful with a tasteful design that draws from the impressive history of the club.