Everyone's seen it, everyone's realised it belongs to one of football history's most famous and successful clubs. The new Warrior Liverpool Away shirt is in the public domain, it's out there, it's reflecting on our team.
Let's get some things out of the way. Warrior have paid an awful lot of money to get Liverpool onboard. So have Standard Chartered, and they'll surely be revisited, but let's focus on the kit manufacturer for now. Warrior have paid a lot of money to make the kit so, in some people's twisted logic, they have carte blanche to deliver whatever they like, certainly with change strips. They can take that white card and slap some passé red lines on the sides and corners and scribble some ungodly mess down the bottom.
Well no they f*cking can't. Because, and this is where it goes beyond just being an insult to a legendary club and becomes an insult to human intelligence as well, if it looks terrible, it doesn't sell. Not simply because every Liverpool fan looks at it and is appalled - kit design is subjective, sadly - but because if it looks a bit rubbish then the wonderful British meeja, who are always on the lookout for any excuse to ridicule Liverpool FC, jumps on it and immediately stigmatises it.
And, on this occasion, they're right. I'm not someone generally weak-willed enough to care what the Daily Mirror thinks about football kits - just because they think a shirt's too loud won't put me off buying it - but when I saw this design several months ago I literally didn't believe it. The club was derided incessantly over the nauseating 2012-13 Third, both by United fans mocking up an exaggerated version prior to release and everyone else continuing once it was revealed to be not much better than that. I was convinced Warrior wouldn't let it happen again so laughed off the leaks as more of the same speculation from Far East counterfeiters that we'd seen a year previously.
But it turned out to be true. The new Third, still to be officially unveiled, is awful as well, with no satisfactory rhyme or reason for the colour combination or geometric patterns it presents as an unintended exercise in overindulgence, but at least it's something. The Away kit is a mishmash of various outdated styles that don't work together and were never much cop on their own. The red flashes are the kind of crap Umbro banished when they brought in Tailored By and everyone looked up and went "Oh yeah!". The only major manufacturer that ignored it at the time was Reebok, and that may explain a lot, but there are reasons why they don't even make Bolton's kit anymore, despite having naming rights on their stadium! The stuff down the bottom that's supposedly, and openly, a tribute to the 1989-91 Away kit (Warrior, adidas called. They want their intellectual property back) not only doesn't conjure up any memories of that kit, which has been DONE RECENTLY, TWICE, but looks like a pattern rejected from a mid-nineties snowboarding jumper line. Warrior have taken a load of subrate elements and stuffed them together badly.
Let's search for some positives. The shorts are alright. The whole kit aim is obviously to follow some kind of fluid gradient example set out by last season's Barça Away. Well that hasn't worked either has it, but fortuitously it makes the shorts passable. The accompanying goalkeeper shirt, if they release it in short-sleeved, will probably sell ok amongst younger, probably female, fans. It's purple and pink - little girls like that sh*t, probably. And, if I'm honest, I'll probably buy the goalkeeper shorts myself, because I'm a f*cking attention-craving whore when I'm out jogging.
But that ain't enough, is it? Warrior didn't pay squillions to make Liverpool's kit so they could give the work experience kid something productive to do with his juvenile crayon scrawling. The deal was intended, surely, to either pay for itself through kit sales, if that's how it was structured or, more likely, be a loss leader designed to raise the Americans' profile and get stuff like the Skreamer range bought via positive PR. This is some pretty horrendous PR right here.
If Warrior can't do us the honour of canvassing public opinion, properly, checking what actually sells, properly, and respecting a club's traditions enough to get someone capable on the case then we won't even need to send them packing, because they're digging their own grave. It's not even solely the designer's fault, whoever that may be. The design director has got to have enough about him to nip these things in the bud. It's all well and good confidently, and not just a little patronisingly, divulging the meticulous processes which take a kit through development, but if no one's buying what you're selling then maybe, just maybe, it's time to give Steevo (below) a ring.
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