Where’s Wally?

I have just watched Newcastle beat Spurs in the Premiership. Newcastle played well but Spurs were simply not at the races.

So, what was the cause? Wrong tactics? Players off form? Or a case of CBA?

There is another possible contributory factor and that’s the colour of the Spurs shirt !!

My wife Maria (who is not an Optometrist) commented at the start of the game that she was struggling to see the Spurs players on the pitch and particularly against the crowd. She said it was “Like trying to play Where’s Wally, but with the picture moving.”  So, if she was having problems, the likely hood is that the players also had significant problems seeing each other. Especially if their team mates were in the periphery of their vision.

Spurs were playing in their ‘third’ strip. This according to Nike their kit supplier’s is a ‘Taupe Haze’ colour! It might be a very trendy colour to wear in the pub, but it’s not great on a football field. The first time they wore it against Fulham in a mid-week match, at the start of the season, there were issues with visibility under the flood lights.

This is not the first time this has been a problem in top flight football. In 1996 Manchester United famously changed their kit at half time in a game against Southampton. The switch was from a grey shirt, which the players struggled to see against the crowd, to blue and white one. This decision was made by vision specialist the late Prof Gail Stephenson, who worked with the team on vision training and vision awareness. She took the decision that the kit was not visible in a crowded atmosphere. Whilst Man U did not win the match they did win the second half.

The moral of the storey is that it doesn’t matter what colour shirt the manufacturers think will sell as a leisure garment, what really matters is what colours are most visible on the pitch.

I for one would love to see Newcastle play in a neon pink away strip next season. That would certainly give them a visual advantage!