Norwich City 2021/2022 Third Shirt

Last week we mulled over the new Norwich City home shirt by Joma; not the absolute the best the club has ever worn, but an encouraging start to the new partnership between the Canaries and their Spanish apparel providers. However, where there are highs there will inevitably lows, and where there is a home shirt one can expect alternative kits to be provided for colour clashes on the road. But a third shirt in a shocking salmon pink tone? Well, no one quite expected that but let’s take a closer look and see if we should be happy with it;

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We might have called it salmon pink in the intro, but Norwich City and Joma prefer to speak of ‘fluorescent coral’. That’s severely understating just how awfully bright this shirt is, and quite how visible it ends up being; walking down the streets of Norwich this past weekend, we spotted a fan wearing this shirt. From at least a hundred metres away. Without even really being on the lookout for it. If that isn’t a testament to how garish this colour is, we don’t know what could possibly drive the point further. We do, however, now know why traffic cones tend to use such a similar colour; you need to be asleep at the wheel to miss them.

The club’s official website and social media channels revealed the design at 9 in the morning on the seventh of August 2021, following the unveiling of the black and blue away kit a week earlier, which itself had come on the back of the home shirt’s succesful reveal. The Fan Hub downtown opened half an hour later, and out of curiosity we made our way over to see how much of a response the reveal had generated. With a queue of four adults and a child outside the store, one could argue that it was an underwhelming reception – in fact, during our time in the store we saw more home shirts than third shirts being sold.

It also goes without saying that there is barely a reason for this shirt to exist; it will only need to be worn twice in the Premier League (at Watford and Wolves) and possibly in the Cup competitions should the luck of the draw result in Harrogate Town squaring off with the Canaries. A green away shirt would have truly ensured that a third kit wasn’t needed, but due to black being chosen instead Joma and Norwich can now sell a third shirt to punters. You just have to milk that market for replica shirts, don’t you?

Before we move on to see if our initial pessimism about this shirt was warranted, be aware that we have covered quite a few Norwich shirts previously, including the new home shirt! If you’re keen to read up on any of them, just click any of the links below;

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We can argue all day over whether we’re looking at salmon pink or fluorescent coral, but then we should save ourselves the effort; this is what the shirt looks like, let’s get over it. And it’s not like this ended up being a massive surprise either, seeing as the initial reveal of the Joma contract prominently featured the recoloured crest that made its way onto the shirt. Alongside the initial promotional pictures, the club shared its own description of the new shirt;

The vibrant and modern strip dons a fluorescent coral colour and incorporates a smart vertical black stripe detailing through the centre of the front of shirt that also follows through at the top of the back of shirt. The shirt also has a smart black and fluorescent collar V-neck and sleeve trim detailing.

Besides the colour, the shirt’s main feature is a design that breaks with that seen on the home and away shirts which both share a feather motif on the shoulders. Instead of going down that road, the third shirt instead applies a single centrally-placed stripes down the chest, which is broken up for at least a third of its potential length by the Lotus logo to leave a massive gap. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want sponsors to significantly alter a given shirt’s base design – the fact that Lotus use such a large circular design thus means that the stripe has been truncated to a much larger degree than it would have been if a simple wordmark had been applied.

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Perhaps sensing that this stripe would lack significant ‘oomph’ because of the placement of Norfolk-based sportscar manufacturer, Joma decided to include a gimmick within the black; a very light fading effect can be found in the centre, losing vibrancy as it moves towards the outer edges of the stripe.

That’s… well, what is there to say about this? It’s a fade. On a broken stripe. On a fluorescent coral-coloured shirt, the bigger sizes of which can arguably be seen from space given how bright they are. It adds nothing, it doesn’t look particularly nice, and it’s not even interesting enough to warrant its inclusion. It’s not even bad enough to strongly dislike, it’s just there. We’re not a big fan of this shirt at all, especially when we consider the amazing third shirt that was worn last season. There truly is no bigger contrast between the amazing Erreà and the substandard Joma than simply considering the 20/21 and 21/22 third shirts side by side. We must admit, however, that Erreà’s last year with the club was more of a disappointment than a succes; the home and away shirts were incredibly dull and arguably worse than the Joma counterparts that replaced them.

Last year’s away shirt, the already-infamous ‘petrol’ kit, was especially disliked by fans for being a bit too close to blue on the colour spectrum and supposedly being cursed; early results in matches wherein the shirt was worn were quite disheartening with plenty of dropped points between them. At the end of the season, fans were honestly relieved to see the back of it, as hopeful eyes turned to the horizon as the Fine City awaited Premier League football in 2021/2022. Hopefully without any curses being in the mix.

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Curses aren’t real, of course, but it’s quite easy to pretend that the first handful of matches wherein a certain away or third shirt is worn end up in humbling defeats. Some EFL sides have changed socks over perceived bad luck, others shunned entire kits over the supernatural.

As fate would have it, the coral kit was given its first outing on the same day it was revealed; a friendly against Newcastle United at St. James Park was taking place that afternoon, and given that the Magpies play in black and white, this was a perfect opportunity to forego the new Joma away shirt for the third. No doubt the club’s retail department hoped this might pump up the sales numbers right out of the gates. But as hopeful as the day started, it was disillusion that reigned supreme as Norwich City lost 3-0 to Newcastle. The start of a new curse, perhaps?

Should the next few outings of this shirt end up in defeat as well- and let’s be honest here, they just might given that Norwich are back in the Premier League – we may well see an early end to this shirt’s lifespan, taken the coral shorts and socks with black turnovers with them. Note the inexplicably square cut on the sides of the shorts, a feature introduced by Joma where Erreà usually just provided a simple cut.

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It’d be a bit of a blow for those fans who have already invested fifty hard earned quid in this shirt, with Norwich now shunning the 4X price range – incredibly, this still sees them ranked as one of the ‘cheapest’ clubs in the Premier League considering that their competitors charge much more for new shirts.

Included on the coral kit is a coral badge; just the colour itself wasn’t insulting enough, no, they just had to do the canary+ball dirty. This was admittedly the only choice Joma had as the usual green and yellow crest would have looked incredibly out of place. The 2021/2022 season is the first wherein the alternative shirts feature colour-coded crests after a sneaky experiment with a silver canary in 2020/2021, and for better or worse this looks to be the way forward for the club. Getting to alter the crest will let Joma employ a wider range of colours and styles, although this has backfired spectacularly with the choice for fluorescent coral – one that would arguably not have been made had the club stipulated that the crest’s original colours had to be retained.

Besides aesthetic factors, it’d be remiss of us not to mention that the quality of Joma’s work on the crest is lacklustre, with the corners pulling outward on the third and, especially, the away kit. ANd the pricetag is fifty quid, you say?

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You’ll have to forgive us for our trepidation when being asked to hand over so much money for such an imperfect product. Love for one’s team does blind fans at the best of time, but then so too does this shirt on a particularly sunny day.

Joma’s ugly ‘J’ logomark sits on the right chest, ‘printed’ in a thick but flexible plastic. A bit of texture is provided in diagonal stripes running across its centre, but these add nothing besides the slightest touch of novelty. We previously considered this ‘J’ appearing on a shirt a kiss of death, given the dubious reputation of the Spanish designers, and while the home shirt did please us this third kit just falls flat on its face. Just take the asymmetric collar, with a coral stripe running over black; it doesn’t line up with the perfectly centered fade on the stripe. Surely even a child in grade school could tell you that this doesn’t make for a good look? One would hope that Joma’s designers peer review eachother’s work and point out flaws, but if they indeed do so, then clearly more than one person missed this small but crucial detail. Or they really just didn’t care. Hard to tell with Joma at the best of times.

We won’t provide a close-up of the inside of the collar, as we already did so in the article dedicated to the home shirt. Rest assured, though, that the bare minimum of lip service is paid to the six values of the club by cheaply stickering them in such a well-hidden place. Those values are growth, integrity, belonging, resilience, pride, and commitment, by the by. They read like the chapter index of a particularly cheap self-help book.

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JD kept their dignity and forewent the opportunity to recolour their own emblem in coral and black, instead opting for the usual white and black. Good to see common sense prevail, but sady it looks like their circular logo is somewhat crooked on this particular shirt. Thats not just an optical illusion due to the pose, it’s actually-factually rotated by a few degrees to the point where you can tell the bottom of the letters do not line up with the cuffs.

Not much to say about those, by the way; they mirror the coral-on-black look of the collar without any further embellishments. Imagine if these had featured the same awful cut as the shorts!

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With the backs of shirts, there is often a temptation for brands to simply not carry any design elements from the front over. Joma managed to resist the urge, but only barey because the black stripe from the front makes a cameo at best on the nap of the neck. Naturally a shirt needs to take into account the application of squad names and numbers plus one or more back sponsors (in EFL competitions), but even then that stripe could have been a little longer and perhaps even had a counterpart rise from the bottom hem towards the top. Nothing of the sort is present here, sadly. You didn’t think you’d get anything more than the bare minimum for your fifty quid, right?

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Club 25 is a site that backs its team unconditionally, so even if Norwich City finish the seasons with a record low points tally in 20th place we will be back for more in 2022/2023. Following a so-so pre-season and a 0-3 loss to Liverpool in the opening game of the season, one may perhaps be justified in worrying about where the team is heading. At the very least, Norwich will sport a memorable look on the pitch. For the right reasons in home games. And for the wrong reasons in away games where the coral kit comes out, because it truly is shocking. No doubt it will have its fans among the club’s supporters, but for us it’s definitely one of the worst alternative kits to have been supplied in the recent memory. To think something’d come along that would make us forget about the petrol abomination so quickly – Joma really outdid themselves in terms of making sure this barely-required third shirt won’t be forgotten any time soon. Unless they come out with something worse next year – that’d be a sight to behold.

The contract between Norwich City and Joma runs for an as-of-yet unannounced number of seasons so it looks like the design team will get a fair few shots at redemption. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for more of the same in terms of the home shirt, but the strategy taken in regards to this third shirt – some ridiculous colour matched to a half-baked stripe – needs a rethink. Because if not, the 2022/2023 might just yield some bizarre mint green or Gaviscon pink shirt, and with the possibility that there won’t be a strong home shirt to pair it with, that would be an even bigger let-down than this coral top has been.

That’s just about all you need from us for now, but as always, we would like to remind you that Club 25 is a weekly publication – expect a brand new article from us next week, so keep checking back for when we have a new shirt going live. Additionally, keep up to date with us on our Twitter page and flick through the site’s Shirt Archive to see what shirts we’ve covered in the past.

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