In Guingamp, on the other hand, the opinion of the players is not asked. “They discover the jersey the day before or the morning of their presentation to the press.The materials and cuts are studied and tested upstream to meet the requirements of professional players, ” says Gael Garcia Lachat, manager at the equipment manufacturer Patrick for France. It operates in a small committee. ” I work with a designer who will make visuals from the ideas of the club,” he continues. Generally, smaller clubs have the last word. For older children, it’s the opposite. “The more it is renowned and the greater the commercial strength, the more the equipment manufacturer has the power of negotiations,” said sociologist Ludovic Lestrelin.
Color schemes, stripes, scapulars (the V-shape on the front of the jersey), clubs try to find a balance between traditional codes and innovation. ” There is a tension between modernity and the history of the club,” says Ludovic Lestrelin. For the equipment manufacturers, most of the work is the first jersey, the one used by home players. ” They play on the design or an element of detail” to make it evolve slightly, says the sociologist. The trend this year is the collar. The new jerseys of AS Saint-Etienne are wearing a polo shirt, while those of Guingamp and Rennes wear a button-down collar.
For outer jerseys and third jerseys (cup matches), the place to originality. The equipment manufacturers do not hesitate to play with colors or patterns. But if the club goes too far, the fans react to the quarter turn. ” There can be forms of tension and major resistance, even boycotts, stresses Ludovic Lestrelin because the jersey is an object of identification, it is part of the heritage of the club.” The Girondins de Bordeaux caused a media uproar in May. In question? Their third jersey: a patchwork of monuments of the city on a blue, pink and purple background. ” Surprising,” according to the Team, ” awful” for RMC Sport, or ” scandalous” according to the tabloid The Daily Mirror. But yet, people buy it. 48% of third jerseys were sold by Bordeaux last season against 32% of home jerseys.