Citizen AA 2015-2017 Purple Shirts

If there is one thing that the colour spectrum and the world of football have in common, it’s that both encompass so many different elements that it is sometimes hard to do each and every single one justice. Bearing this in mind, Club 25 considered it high time to return to a colour and country that haven’t featured for a full year and 6 months respectively. Enjoy our special look at two purple away kits, as worn by Citizens AA of Hong Kong!

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This isn’t the first time Club 25 has covered two kits at once (remember our Cardiff article?), but given the distinct lack of purple/fuchsia/violet/aubergine/mauve in the past and the small but profound renaissance of the colour becoming a staple of away shirts in recent years, we figured now would be a lovely time to give these two shirts, donated by our dear friend Adrian, their time in the spotlight together. The only previous purple kit you could find on the site was that of Perth Glory, although the fan favourite VFL Bochum rainbow top featured a little bit of purple as well.

Our previous Hong Kong shirts, which were also kindly donated by Adrian, featured in February with reviews of Tai Po’s 2014/2015 and 2017/2018 shirts – the latter of which remains one of our most viewed articles. Despite both Tai Po and Citizen AA, who we are covering today, being from Hong Kong, the differences between the two are staggering with the green-clad brigade of the New Territories finishing in a reputable second place in the Hong Kong Premier League last season, whereas Citizen finished 10th in the First Division.

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As much as we talk about shirts, design, colours, and the like, we also make it a point to always have a chat about the club or country to whom a shirt belongs; although we often times don’t have strong feelings about the clubs we cover, The Citizen Athletic Association is an exception as they have been our favourite team from Hong Kong ever since starting a career with them in Football Manager 2008. Represented by a simple crest evoking the five Olympic rings (albeit in a single colour and arranged differently) and using both Roman and local script, one wouldn’t know that Citizen has, since the dawn of time, played in green shirts at home.

A multi-sport association with a divisional structure not unlike those of many German clubs, Citizen AA was founded in 1947 with a track and field department as its only subsidary. Over the years, additional sports like boxing and fitness were added into the fold, with 1968 seeing the birth of Citizen’s football division spearheaded by ‘Becky’ Pui Kwan Kay. This Becky is now an influential figure in Hong Kong football, but started out as something of a kit man for Citizen, which mirrors the football club’s humble beginnings in the sixties leading to a prominent role in the 00’s and early 10’s, when the Flat Bags (imaginative nickname we must admit) were a staple fixture in the Hong Kong Premier League. Having won the Hong Kong FA Cup and Senior Shield once each, the club’s real moment suprême was the participation in the 2012 AFC Cup, their only continental outing to date. In a group with Myanmar’s Yangon United, Singapore’s Home United, and Thai Chonburi FC, Citizen gained a creditable 7 points to finish third.

The club was unable to keep its success going, however, and lost its place in the top flight at the end of the 2013/2014 season; in the four seasons following relegation the club only managed mid table finishes in the second tier, coming nowhere close to promotion and thus remaining where they are for the 2018/2019 season.

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Returning to the shirts themselves, we’ve noted that Citizen are steadfast in their use of green for their home shirts and, similarly, have opted for one staple colour to be used for away kits throughout the years; although dabbling with black in the 00’s, Citizen has now, for years on end, played in purple when away from home against teams in clashing colours (Tai Po comes to mind).

Pictured above is Citizen’s 2015/2016 away shirt, which was to be the club’s final top supplied by Jako, the German brand that had partnered with the club for the better half of a decade. Where punters and readers from outside of continental Europe may not be too familiar with Jako, those familiar with continental European football will know them to be a rather no-frills manufacturer, who typically opt for simple kits with little obtrusive branding of their own applied. This was seen in our previous review of a Jako kit, the Matchworn Al Ahli SC 2014-2017 away top, and is once again evident in this Citizen number. Purple throughout, the only detailing comes in the form of a white collar and sleeve cuffs with black piping on their outer lining.

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How different, then, is this beauty?! With Jako taking their leave at the end of the 2015/2016 season, World Soccer, the teamwear behemoth that supplies most clubs in Hong Kong, decided to kit out Citizen AA in its own in-house brand WOSO, resulting in what could only be described as….. well, as what really? An explosion on an eggplant farm? A collection of every purple food colouring on the American market? Cadbury chocolate packaging on LSD?

Regardless of how you would describe it, this shirt is an absolute stunner with enough purple to last you a lifetime.The body itself is made of four different shades, of which one (the top rightmost) is used for both sleeves, with a light purple used for the hoops on the sleeves and a slightly lighter hue used for the button-up collar (which has both purple and yellow buttons, neat!). As if that wasn’t enough, the lower sidepanels are in midnight purple (bordering on eggplant, really).

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The WOSO logo on the chest is doubled on the sleeves to make for a brandmark that reminds us of Erima’s logo, as seen on this closeup of the chest, further revealing the buttons and showing the subtle differences in purple bands, which change tone as they reach horizontally reach the middle of the shirt. One can note the the matching shade between the sleeve and the top rightmost band, as well as the the difference between collar and sleeve band (of which the latter is slightly more pinkish).

That then, makes no fewer than seven distinct purples on one shirt, and, whilst already impressive, this has been achieved without fades or vague 90’s patterns. The result is both shocking and revolutionary, for it breaks the mold in regards to colour use. The average conventional shirt will happily use three colours (such as this modern Walsall top, which cleverly incorporates the club’s three main ones) but seven shades of the same colour on one shirt, with yellow as contrasting 8th, is unparalleled.

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The seven shades of purple make for a very dark kit, which is then offset by pinhoops, side panels, and sleeve bands in yellow. Although jarring at first, the use of yellow with purple makes sense as they are complimentary colours; theoretical considerations aside, it does make things a little bit busy, but not at the cost of going over the top (because, of course, having seven shades of purple on one shirt is already OOT without even facturing the yellow in).

Our specimen came with the number twelve woven into the fabric, in an attractive gold-lined white font; at the risk of sounding rather dumb if proven untrue, it would seem that these replica tops were mass-made with the #12 to evoke the connotation of the 12th man. Given that football is now a global sport, it is interesting to see that such concepts as the 12th man resonate with audiences the world over as much as the game itself.

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Finally, a quick shot of the sleeves of both shirts next to eachother, with the 15/16 Jako kit being in yet another hue of purple, which makes you wonder at which point Citizen will run out of different shades of the same colour. Both kits carry the World Soccer branding we also saw on the Tai Po shirts, with the Jako top having a stickered logo added (the two stripes represent the rivers Jagst and Kocher, between which Jako has its headquarters). As seen previously, main sponsor Rasonic, who remain on Citizen’s kits to this day and deal in electronics, is also shared between both tops.

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Usually we are quite happy to plug a club’s online shop and social media here, but Citizen runs nothing of the sort beyond a very basic Facebook page and instructions to reach out to World Soccer for a replica kit (which can be done here). Stock may, however, be very limited, so best of luck if you ever want to nab a shirt of your own (or the home shirt, in the same template with seven shades of green).

Other than that, we hope you enjoyed this in-depth look at an exceedingly rare and profoundly purple set of shirts, and that, hopefully, you learnt a bit about Hong Kong Football. If you’re hungry for more, be sure to check out the 2014/2015 and 2017/2018 home shirts for Tai Po, and rummage through the Shirt Archive some time. Give us a Follow on Twitter while you’re at it too!

We’ll be producing another article on a shirt from a different part of the world next week, see you then!

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