Being an Aston Villa fan in the early months of a new season is never short of drama, however this is perhaps not what Villa supporters would have expected. As reported in the Telegraph tonight, Aston villa look set to end their relationship with kit manufacturer Castore following a 2 season stint. Castore, who describe themselves as "The worlds first truly premium sportswear brand" have been criticised by fans on many different fronts, with the prices of last years club merchandise being of particular concern.
This season, however, it appears that the issues regarding Castore do not remain an off field issue. Following the first game of the season, Villa fans could noticeably see that players began to appear absolutely covered in sweat.
Proceeding Aston Villa's 0 - 1 win over Chelsea at Stamford bridge on Sunday, it was made public knowledge that the men's team had held internal discussions regarding the issue fans had also recognised. The players felt that the shirt "weighed them down" and had enquired to the club hierarchy about the possible action that could be taken.
Damian Vidagany, the Director of Football Operations at Aston Villa, later confirmed this to be true after being asked about the topic. The shirt has also received complaint from the Aston Villa Women's team who play in the Women's Super League. Carla Ward's side finished 5th, just behind Manchester City, proving the 22/23 season a very successful one. The players have shown their unwillingness to play in this shirt and have been described as "dreading" their first game of the season against Manchester United. Excessive sweating and the obvious poor quality of the shirts have raised entirely different issues for the women's side, ones which Castore did not either consider or decided to leave to chance.
What is clear is that no player at Aston Villa Football Club wishes to wear this ineptly designed shirt. This has led to what can be accurately described as panic, with the option being discussed of even wearing a different shirt for Villa's clash with Brighton at Villa Park on Saturday.
So, what do we do next?
Discussion is already flowing on social media as to which company fans would want to be the next kit manufacturer, with many fans pointing out owner Nassef Sawiris' 6% stake in Adidas, wondering if this makes villa eligible.
Some fans have also clamoured for the return of Nike to Aston Villa, with the company returning some of the most iconic Villa shirts in recent times, as pictured here by recently departed Villa legend Ashley Young :
Whichever company becomes the eventual kit manufacturer, it is clear for everyone to see that Castore cannot be taken seriously by football clubs and the decision to partner with them was a mistake. In addition to Aston Villa, Newcastle United have dropped Castore due to the kit quality for both players and fans being less than desirable.
There is no doubt that Villa must learn from this mistake and not repeat it in the future, instead going forward with the new club hierarchy. The point must also be made that the decisions to proceed with Castore and with BK8 as a new front of shirt sponsor were made by then CEO Christian Purslow who has since left the football club. As fans we must now trust that the club will make the right decision in this new era. UTV.