Written by Michael Carter, Hull KR Shirts.
In what was the most low key shirt launch we’ve seen in years by Hull Kingston Rovers, in my opinion, we have had our anticipation of the 2021 away shirt relieved. Unfortunately, due to logistical issues outside the control of the club, the reveal has been coupled with pre-order sales. This isn’t ideal for anyone, not even the club, however, it does feel the lesser of all the evils.
Supporters will still be able to get their hands on shirts pre-Christmas, which is vital for club revenue, as well as ensuring they’re safely stored under the tree ready for the big day.
I’m not going to go into detail about the lack of main shirt sponsor. The club have been very transparent about their reasonings for this and I don’t have anything I wish to add.
The reveal started mid-afternoon when the below rhyme was posted along with the confirmation of “These Hands – Part 2” arriving at 18:00. A tie in with a shirt launch? You’ll notice the background of the image features the main design of the shirt, but more about that shortly.
As we’ve seen with the 2020/21 charity and 2021 home shirts, the ability to purchase (or pre-order) before the reveal was once again available. A smart move from the club allowing for those early eager buyers to get their orders in as well as indirectly confirming the launch to be within reach.
The first glimpse of the shirt came at 17:50 on Twitter, 10 minutes ahead of the full reveal. It wasn’t a subtle hint, as it showed the chest and body design leaving little to the imagination.
The mint shades were the first thing that caught my eye on the shirt. When you look closely, you will see four shades of mint depicted within the design showing “These Hands”, the hands that built and continue to hold the club together. The shades of mint should be seen as a representation of the different skin colours and diverse backgrounds who all have their hands interlocked with the club. What a wonderful idea.
A high white chest band in a shallow V breaks up the mint shades. Within the white band is the usual club branding and sponsors. This band also features on the home shirt, albeit on the away shirt it is raised. In my home shirt review I eluded to the fact we could see a similar design on the away shirt and this has proved to be the case.
Above the band is a section of charcoal, which is not to be confused with black, as I’ve seen mentioned! The charcoal also features on the side panels and is used for the majority of sponsor branding throughout.
When the players wear this in 2021 they’ll have their name and squad number on the reverse. The usual Super League colour options for this are black, white, red or gold. Of these options, I would imagine we’d go with black, or maybe white. However, I would love to see it in a matching charcoal colourway to finish off this beautiful shirt.
Once again the work the club has done to secure the support of sponsors to adapt their branding is very beneficial to the aesthetics of the shirt. Not one sponsor on the shirt appears within its natural colourway. This makes the shirt feel much cleaner and the feeling of a Rugby shirt being covered with sponsors less intrusive. Will that stay the same when we get the main shirt sponsor? I hope so.
The shirt will be worn with charcoal shorts and socks. This will provide a very good contrast against the mint just like it does on the shirt. I am very excited to see what the shirt looks like with the full kit when the lads wear this strip on the road in 2021.
The shirt feels modern and fresh, something that has been mentioned by Chief Executive Paul Lakin on the club’s official website. “The mint colour is a fresh look for the club and hints towards a fresh start for everyone,” wrote Lakin. “We’re really pleased with the subtle pattern with the hands denoting all of our fans, club partners, players and staff, coming together and uniting behind our club.”
The mint colour has been compared to that of the 1996/97 away shirt, which I hadn’t considered until it was pointed out to me. Other than this very light connection to our past, I see this as a very bold move to the future. Away shirts should be quirky and a little bit different, in my opinion, and the 2021 away shirt is exactly that.
Sales for the shirt have been phenomenal, selling over five times more in the opening 90 minutes than the 2020 away shirt and blowing all the previous weekend sales of away shirts out of the water. Not only does this say that the general belief amongst those who buy replica shirts love the shirt, but it also says that our supporters are truly that, supporters—people who support the club with vital merchandise and retail purchases at what is an incredibly difficult time for us all.
2021 is such a vital year for the progression and survival of Hull Kingston Rovers. How good does it look that our retail team are delivering such high numbers to potential new investors? We’ve nailed 2021 off the pitch, in my opinion. It’s almost time to nail it on the pitch. Rally round the Robins.
If you haven’t yet pre-ordered your 2021 Hull KR away shirt and you wish to do so, you can do it here.