Written by Mike Carter, Hull KR Shirts.
For the first time in almost 2 years, Hull KR have revealed a brand new ‘third’ shirt. However, it has been rebranded as an ‘alternative’ shirt for the first time at Hull KR in 2022. What does that mean though? Keep reading to find out.
On Monday 4th April it was announced that the arrival of our third kit offering for 2022 was on the way. It has been inspired by an untold story in the form of ‘The Boilermakers‘. Described in the article as “A group of young apprentice boilermakers employed by local firms C.D. Holmes and Amos & Smith, met in a small, terraced house in Vauxhall Grove, Hessle Road to form the club we know and love today.” The article goes into detail on the impact The Boilermakers had on the formation of Kingston Amateurs in 1882. Now 140 years later for the first time, their story is told publicly within the design of our 2022 alternative shirt as a tribute to the heritage and roots of Hull KR.
As part of the tease at the end of the video, a gold Boilermakers wordmark appears in front of a dark green background. This is a fairly obvious clue on the colours that are being used to create our 2022 alternative kit. It is the same pairing that featured during 2021 on the ‘Thank Our Forces‘ range and this was very well received within the fan base. Will the 2022 alternative shirt follow suit? I think it just might…
This wasn’t the first time we had seen The Boilermakers, as hidden in plain sight during the fixture against the Warrington Wolves the newly designed logo appeared on the big screen as pitchside announcer Neil Rudd announced “We’d also like to welcome a special group of apprentice boilermakers who have joined us from Vauxhall Grove tonight”. I was supporting Neil on Friday evening during the game therefore I had seen the logo multiple times, including during a practice run and I even had a copy of the script in my hand for most of the evening. It did not twig with me at all, well done Mr Franklin you surely got almost everyone with this one, me included. Well, it was April fools’ day after all, eh!
At 7:00 pm on Tuesday 5th April the reveal was executed and how! My initial thought was a simple one. Just wow!! This might be the most positive I have been just moments after seeing a kit for the first time. Positive first impressions can be very hard to secure because there are so many permutations to be considered. I usually like some time for things to settle with me and to analyse all areas of the design before publishing a review, however, on this occasion it caught me hook, line and sinker. I love it.
The reveal graphics featured the Club’s Captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Vice-Captain Elliot Minchella manning their Boilermakers’ tools as they posed in the new strip. The addition of the graphic designed flames adds impact to the delivery of the images. Perfect.
The shirt is naturally all green with the sponsors and detailing in gold, including the side panels of the shirt. Green and gold are two colours that complement themselves in such a pleasing way. The colours were chosen after being taken from the logo of the ‘United Society of Boilermakers’ – which connects nicely to the roots of Kingston Amateurs in our 140th anniversary year. It once again should not, and will not go unnoticed how important the sponsors are in playing a part in how aesthetically good this kit looks. Without their support financially and without allowing the colour change to their branding, this kit would simply not be as good. The colour integration works in a way that the sponsors don’t take over the shirt leaving us with a polished finish.
Similar to the home and away shirts the sponsors are applied in three different ways. FTP is embroidery, just like the Club crest. Connexin has been heat applied as an applique and the rest of the sponsors have been dye sublimated into the shirt.
The main design feature is dye sublimated into the shirt. This is in the form of blueprints of how to manufacture boilers from the late 19th century, the period in which the club was formed. As far as attention to detail goes this is up there with any nuance detail included within any kit ever in my opinion. The design is subtle in the images we have seen so far, but I would imagine it is more visible in person and under natural lighting. The hat certainly needs tipping to Oxen and Hull KR for this one.
Just above the gold cuff, you will notice two interlinking chevrons, which are offset from each other. One chevron is to represent the club and the other is representing the local community. Hull KR is and always will be a community club for the people of East Hull but I think it is important to understand why and how this occurred in our past. The initial article, which I encourage you to read if you haven’t, goes into detail about the goodwill the Club and the Boilermakers showed to the local community.
On the reverse of the shirt, we once again find colour coordinated sponsors and the addition of ‘1882’ above the Harrison Solway logo. This denotes the year the Club was formed. However, this won’t appear on player specification shirts. For the first time, the Club will use this space to display the heritage number of the relevant player wearing the shirt.
I really hope that we can apply the names and squad numbers to the shirt in the gold name and number set. Gold names and numbers have been used by teams in the past (and not exclusively by the Champions) so I do believe this is a possibility for Hull KR. You will also notice the Robin icon on the collar as seen on the 2022 home and away shirts, this continues the trend set since we evolved our branding.
Just over an hour after the full reveal it was confirmed on the Club’s official Twitter account that the 2022 alternative shirt is the fastest-selling shirt ever… kudos to the Red Army!
I mentioned that the kit has been tagged with the description of ‘alternative’ as opposed to third in 2022. This doesn’t directly change anything about the kit in the slightest unless you’re a kit geek like me. I think it’s important to follow on with the terminology that we are presented with and I will follow suit moving forward. The chances of this being a late change are quite high. The label attached to the shirt when purchased says “third shirt” so expect to see more on this down the line.
The likelihood is this kit will work as another option for us to use more often than it has in the past. Traditionally what we’ve called third (or charity) kits, especially in 2014-2016 were only used once. It wasn’t until 2017-2019 that we saw the third kit used more frequently, a trend which I believe we could see continue here. By having two alternative kits they can be alternated as and when needed opposing to feeling like you have to use an away shirt for an away game. This works well commercially for the Club as well as aiding with kit clashes. This would work fine as long as sponsorship is matched across all shirts, which wasn’t the case in 2021 but will be in 2022 and 2023.
I would like to see us use this kit more than once in 2022, including in a home fixture. I think it would be great to have a dedicated fixture to celebrate our 140th anniversary and it would be special to see this kit worn during that game.
The side panel detailing continues on the shorts, however, the dye sublimation design on the green does stop. I’m okay with this as it should help the shirt detailing stand out when against the shorts. Sponsors including Hull KR Shirts partner Steve Leaming Plant feature in gold to follow suit with the shirt. Lovely stuff.
We’ve yet to see the socks which will accompany the shirt and shorts. They’ve not been shown in any of the images that I’ve seen. Hopefully, we will see an update on this soon. Will they be mainly green or could we see a switch to gold being the dominant colour?
I did wonder if the decision would be made to use a redesign of the centenary crest as we did on the 135th-anniversary shirt in 2017. I think I would have been tempted if it was up to me, but there will have been a lot to consider after the freshly launched branding.
Alongside the shirt and shorts is a hoody, sweatshirt and singlet to complement the range for those looking for sponsor-less options to consider. Hull KR have released a range of training wear alongside a shirt for quite a few years now and I hope it continues as it gives supporters more choice when buying merchandise.
The 2022 alternative shirt has a limited run of 1000 shirts meaning popular sizes are likely to sell out fast. At the point you read this some popular sizes will have sold out however, the function to pre-order from a second batch has been made available as of Friday 8th April. The full range can be viewed by clicking here.
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook.
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