Written by Mike Carter, Hull KR Shirts.
We’ve finally been relieved of anticipation by the release of the home shirt for the forthcoming season. To some it will look like a new partnership with our manufacturer Oxen, but they’re actually under the Elite Pro Sports umbrella, the parent brand of X-Blades who have been renamed as part of what I assume to be a rebranding exercise. We’re now into our 4th season with X-Blades/Oxen/EPS and on the whole I think they’re doing a great job. Let’s hope that continues!
Initially we were goaded into ‘believing’ we would wear a “Robin Shirt” for 2020 when it “leaked” online late on Wednesday 30th October after sponsors where sent information about the faux 2020 home shirt in a very Paddy Power style launch. The club created a fun atmosphere around the day on social media, and when they finally rubbished the idea, took a sly dig at the Hull Sharks shirt from the mid 1990s. The leak gained momentum when Elite Pro Sports tweeted out at 7:30am on 31st, confirming the shirt as official, shortly after being deleted.
The actual launch saw Weller Hauraki don the shirt, in a video package based around celebrating 40 years since our famous Wembley victory. If you’ve not seen it check it out, it left me with goosebumps. The shirt is designed with 1980 in mind, one the all time favourite Hull KR shirts.
A traditional look beckons for games at Hull College Craven Park this season, as the shirt is naturally white with a red band through the middle. The home shirt sees ‘The Drain Company’ as the main front of shirt sponsor, hopefully causing a blockage to our own try line in 2020. Having the sponsor in white on the red band really adds to the look of the shirt.
It’s very hard to recreate a shirt without being criticised for not getting it right. When the shirt in 1980 was produced by adidas, it was blessed with the three stripe branding, something which is difficult to recreate due to copyright. On previous attempts I haven’t been convinced to buy 1980 reproduction shirts due to this. Now we’ve finally got it right! The twin stripes, which feature on the shoulder of the 2020 home shirt, continue down the side of the shorts giving a very sleek finish. You should also recognise the twin stripes from our 2019 home shirt.
A comparison to 2019 will be made, with the shirt being very similar, but I’m okay with that. I like it when the home shirt is only rotated between a few styles and colours as I feel the home shirt should always be recognisable as a Hull KR shirt and this most definitely is. Saying that, I wouldn’t mind seeing something a little bit different at some point to break up the trend but only as a one off.
Out of our last 6 manufacturers, 5 of them have launched with a white shirt, with a red band across the middle, with Fi-Ta being the only exception in 2014. Carlotti in 2005, Kooga in 2009, Burrda in 2012, X-Blades in 2017 and Oxen in 2019 complete the list of manufacturers taking this route for their Hull KR debut.
The club crest features in an inverted colour way for the first time in over 15 years and was also like this during 1989/90 which was also our first season at Craven Park. This is a nod to celebrate our 30th anniversary of playing at The New Craven Park. I am glad they went down this road and didn’t use the 30 years of Craven Park banner which has featured across social media posts and the 2020 warm up tee which feels a little bit incomplete.
The shirt will be paired with white shorts in 2020 once again, a look which pleases me greatly! We had this look as recently as 2016, but I am so happy we have it back again. In 2020, for the first time, all squads from first, womens and LDRL will all wear the same kit giving the club a truly uniform look. What a shirt for them to play in! Ace!
Oxen have done a fabulous job on the home kit and it will be in my collection very soon. I’m now looking forward to the away shirt launch as excitement for the Rovers Revolution gathers real pace.