Marshalled by Chris B – any questions, email him (cb619).
If you’d like to express an opinion, fill out this Google form
Is it fair to expect people who already have kit to buy the new set purely because we’ve decided to redesign?
As a student who bought a set of kit less than a year ago, I am very aware of this issue. The fact is, however, that every club does change their kit at some point (Skunks, for example, redesign every 2 years)- and it’s impossible to do so without some people having to buy the ‘old’ and then the ‘new’ strips. SB has already gone through 3-4 iterations (I think Miles has got all of them? :s) and we have had the current one for a long time (this is the 7th year), compared to some other clubs.
We’ve made minimising the cost to players one of our top priorities in working with the many different suppliers on the market.
Unfortunately, rules of most high-level tournaments state that the club must be in identical shirts, so entering lines of mixed old and new kit is not an option- I don’t know how strict they are on this, but there’s a chance that even the removal of the shoulder flashes may make the kits too different, in which case there’s absolutely nothing we can do about redesigning. At any rate, without the shoulder flashes the current kit would look pretty lame as it’s really quite plain.
We don’t want to pressurise people into paying for something they can’t afford, but we feel that redesigning the kit and asking people to buy it (so long as it’s not a frequent occurrence) is not too far removed from expecting new players to buy kit to begin with.
However, the club will buy a small number of spare sets (one or two) to loan to players on a per-tournament basis (nb. given the current levels of enthusiasm for kit, there will also be a pool of people to borrow from if necessary). I feel it is worth mentioning that, unlike many other clubs, Strange Blue does not charge any sort of membership or subscription fee- buying kit once every 5-6 years (on average) and tournament fees are the only costs associated with playing SB.
Finally, changing supplier will save money for everyone buying SB kit for the first time (the current lookfly shirts + Five shorts = £80)- we didn’t really want to shaft future players just to save the current ‘class’ money (which is why we haven’t taken one-off sponsorship deals into consideration when comparing prices).
Is the price difference between Scimitar and a better-known brand (e.g. Five) worth the potential quality difference?
A quick run of the numbers says that Five’s kit would cost £75-90 (for 2 sublimated shirts and 1 pair of unprinted shorts), plus shipping + customs (which would be ‘ball-crushing’ in cost) and probably a rubbish exchange rate/a charge for paying in American.
Scimitar supply Fire of London (with whom SB shares several players) and the reports from them are that the kits are of an acceptable quality (bar some issues with the cut which may require ordering a size or two larger than you would normally get).
While we do want high-quality kit (which has put us off a number of ‘budget’ suppliers), we also don’t want to price anyone out of buying it, particularly those who have already bought other iterations of SB kit (see above), and we had to consider that a considerable bulk of the club are impoverished students. We don’t want to put anyone off playing for SB due to the price of the kit; unfortunately the club does not have the capital to buy several lines’ worth of spares (particularly if they’re expensive ones!).
Will we get to see the designs?
Yes. There will be another consultation whenever we come up with something realistic with the supplier and you will have ample opportunity to object to (or praise!) it. You can still submit your own designs, as well. Obviously, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to get exactly what everyone wants, but the same is true for the existing kit.
How does this fit in with the potential rebranding of the Tour team?
Good question, and one which doesn’t have an easy answer as the possible rebrand is in *very* early stages. In the event that Cambridge’s Tour team(s) diverges from the university side in name and kit, the university side will continue to compete under the name Strange Blue, in which case the results of this survey can be reduced down to take into account only those to whom it applies (hence the question regarding student status). Obviously, Camdisc will be kept informed and have everyone will have plenty of opportunity for having their voice heard at every stage of the process. The kit and tour rebrand are both very much up in the air at this point, so I can’t say much more than that.