Have just come off the Teams Call to the Errea factory in Parma Italy. Really interesting discussion between the ERREA's Fabrizio Taddei, Boro's Retailing and commercial, Jo-Ann Swinnerton manager of Boro retail, Boro writer Anthony Vickers, author of Threads of History, Boro fans and collectors, like Boro shirt designer Nico, arch collector Oli, Mark from Boro Shirt Museum and Owen Swift of Mbro Supporters 2000 and disabled supporters.
We had a chance to exchange views on our favourite Boro home and away shirts - and why. Most of the choices on this thread were picked up by at least one person. Everyone was united behind the white band except for Mark of Shirt Museum who is totally for all red shirt as his idea of traditional Boro.
We had opportunities to hear ERREA thinking and raise points - I asked for fan involvement in shirt choices. This was received very positively.
Mark from shirt museum appealed for shirts next season that would reflect the anniversary of the Robson Riverside Revolution - Jo-Ann said there will be retro (Dickens) shirts coming in the shop. Fabrizio was keen to say they like to look back at traditions and reflect favourite shirts but they do want to go forward and advance as a shirt manufacturer.
I also raised the point about quality being vitally important.
We heard that the industry gold standard is 7-8% Fabrizio said made by humans always human errors. BUT Jo-Ann Swinnerton (MFC Retail) revealed it was less than 1% this year. It is LOWEST EVER returns for faulty shirts - Jo-Ann also stated that they always refund or replace returns at the shop.
We also learned that sizing was a problem this year when much to Errea's amazement Boro asked for 7XL shirts - sizing has to be right.
Nico was asked how he started his fan designs of customizing shirt designs. He said he got inspiration from walking around Middlesbrough - mima, artwork on walls at Captain Cook Centre etc. Owen talked about a certain shirt up the road that carried an emblem of "the Gateshead bridge" "built on Teesside."
Jo-Ann revealed it takes a lot of negotiation with the EFL before any Teesside landmarks etc can be part of the shirt design. A surprising thing to hear.
All in all a really interesting exercise and hopefully the film the Boro team are making will be very interesting - showing everything that goes into a new shirt from early design through to manufacture off the machines.
Seems to be a bit of agreement on Home shirt Rob but what was their thoughts on the away kit design. I am another in favour of the blue and black stripes.