Gut feeling that the new Pompey shirt will be a winner

David James, Portsmouth goalkeeper

David James, Portsmouth goalkeeper

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Sorry ladies, but say goodbye to the rotund chap wearing that snug-fit Pompey shirt which accentuates his curves.

That wobbly beer gut that comes with middle age will thankfully be disguised next season and blokes all around Fratton can breathe out again.

It’s unlikely to have passed too many by but Pompey will have a new strip for the 2013-14 campaign.

Before too many start bemoaning that fact, on this occasion, it’s probably fair enough. In previous seasons, supporters might have had every reason to moan about a new shirt being launched every year – although admittedly, it’s never obligatory to buy it (unless there’s only so much begging you can take from offspring).

But a new kit supplier in Sondico are involved and a few rumours on the grapevine suggest there are some innovative designs – especially for the away strip – although the exact nature will have to wait for a couple more weeks just yet.

Let’s all hope innovative does not mean one of those awful luminous green numbers.

When a supplier like Kappa calls it a day, it’s understandable that the club in question should have to adopt an entirely new design. No problems.

And Kappa’s exit as manufacturers will have few shedding many tears – especially those more curvaceous Pompey fans.

As a toned athlete, the Italian company’s trademark snug fit was ideal to show off a physique that could crack walnuts having been cut from pumping iron.

But for fans whose gym is the pub and whose refuelling regime comes in the shape of a Friday night doner kebab, it was rather less flattering, no matter how many Xs were in their size choice.

In the grand scheme of things and the brave new world, it all seems rather trivial who makes the kit.

But unfortunately, it’s not simply about fashion statements these days.

It’s about bank statements.

Making the most of commercial opportunities will be a key component in boosting Pompey’s coffers in the new era and selling replica shirts is a sure-fire way to do exactly that – if you have the right deal with the manufacturer.

But for the first time in several years, Pompey have struck a lucrative deal that will bring in some vital revenue.

At present, it’s impossible to put a figure on how much money it will generate.

Of course, much of it depends on how many shirts are sold. But the word from the corridors of Fratton Park is that Pompey cannot lose out financially from this deal and it could have a big impact on the balance sheet.

And having heard some previous commercial deals that would make Lord Sugar turn into an angry Cockney, that can only be a good thing.

Three new kits will be launched. The home strip will be available to buy in the shops in June, followed by the two new away strips in July and August respectively.

Pompey shirts available in the height of summer? Whoever would have thought of that clever marketing ploy?

While some have already voiced their displeasure at the link-up with Sondico – a sports brand that might not currently be considered as ‘cool’ – there are plenty of positives to it.

The prices will make them among the cheapest in the country, the quality has been promised to be every bit as good as the Kappa shirts, and that tight, fitted style has been left to the likes of AS Roma for a far more forgiving fit.

And, most importantly, they will be widely available to buy. Stocked in Sports Direct, online and at the club outlets, Pompey fans will be able to buy Pompey shirts. Quite remarkable.

As yet, there is no definitive answer on whether this will be a two-season strip or, once again, just the one-season design for 2013-14.

If we’re judging it on recent evidence, it’s probably the latter and in keeping with much of the rest of football.

It’s a sad fact that the Blues have not kept the same playing strip for more than one season since the 03-04 and 04-05 seasons when the Pompey Sport brand with the flashes on the shoulders was retained for a second Premier League campaign.

Apparently, the days are gone when a club would change the home strip one season and the away strip the next – although that always struck me as a perfectly-acceptable way to maximise revenue while keeping customers happy.

But much as we’ve seen some classics – the Asics one with the Goodmans sponsor was always a personal favourite from the 1990s – we’ve also had some shockers like that one that fell apart mid-season and had to be changed for the Pompey Centre one in 2000.

We’ve had yellow/gold piping and been through Pompey Sport, Jako, Canterbury, Kappa. Now we’ll see what Sondico bring to the party.

Apparently, the big boys of Adidas, Nike, Puma and the others either didn’t have enough notice to manufacture the strips or wanted the kind of financial deal that simply didn’t benefit Pompey in the same way.

They also would have dictated exactly which design they could offer with a limited choice. And if that meant one of those tight bad boys, then so be it.

Apparently, Sondico have been about as accommodating as any kit manufacturer could be in the process and for that they should be applauded.

Hopefully it will mean the streets of Portsmouth and beyond will be awash with Pompey shirts from June. If they are royal blue shirts, crisp white shorts, pillar box red socks, they leave out the gold trim and go for a classic simplicity with some breathing space, they will be on to a winner.

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