Dear Mr Elstone,
Firstly I must congratulate you on the two new mega stores and the Kitbag deal.
As a supporter I feel compelled to write to you so I can fully understand the business decisions made and processes followed in the recent change in kit supplier from Umbro to Le Coq Sportif and the subsequent new home kit design.
I applaud the moving from Umbro as they are a non-premium brand whose products are to be found in sports warehouses and discount stores up and down the land. In choosing Le Coq Sportif I believe this is a massive backward step in this respect as we are trying to expand our fan base globally and need a globally recognised brand to help move the club forward in terms of support and most importantly revenue.
Of the 28 teams which finished in the top 4 Champions League positions of there respective countries leagues (Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, France, England & Holland) in 2008/2009 21 are sponsored by either Nike, Adidas or Puma and non by Le Coq Sportif. This is not a co-incidence. Le Coq Sportif do not even sponsor their own national team, which even Umbro can boast.
I read on the official site that the new kit has broken all records for a kit launch but I suspect this has more to do with a general feel good factor around the team after another fifth place finish, an FA Cup final appearance and two new stores opening. This fits in with season tickets also selling more this season. There are also a large proportion of fans that will buy the kit whatever the design or brand.
How long is the contract with Le Coq Sportif to be our kit supplier?
What other brands were considered in the change of kit supplier and what made Le Coq Sportif the winner?
What process did the design of the kit take in terms of consultation with fans, players, marketing & brand experts and Everton FC?
I look forward to hearing from you.
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1 Posted 13/07/2009 at 15:29:23
2 Posted 13/07/2009 at 15:49:23
The job done on kits etc in terms of distrubution etc has been fantastic.
3 Posted 13/07/2009 at 15:59:56
Hmmmmm.. don't hold your breath for a reply... LOL
4 Posted 13/07/2009 at 16:01:36
I’ll reserve my position on Le Coq, but it looks good so far and kitbag appear to have followed up on their promises. THe only grievance is over the design of the kit. Please bear in mind that the 85 kit being the one i wore as a boy, and my first kit, was a favourite of mine, I am not happy with the design. I don’t like the stitching on the front and wish it was not present and the white V is far too big. I wish it was a similar size to the 85 kit. BUt all in all, I’m happy so far.
5 Posted 13/07/2009 at 16:08:09
6 Posted 13/07/2009 at 16:45:44
Thanks for your aesthetic considerations on our new kit design. If only we’d spoken to you before our new decision. Alas, we’ll have to soldier on.
Now please, get a life, there’s a good chap.
Best of luck
7 Posted 13/07/2009 at 16:53:35
Quality-wise, I’d say they are all very similar and the name of the manufacturer makes no real difference on sales when compared to how the team wearing the shirt performs.
I firmly believe that the size of our fan base and the amount that buy the shirt is hardly related to who makes the shirts, FFS!
8 Posted 13/07/2009 at 17:15:21
9 Posted 13/07/2009 at 18:43:55
I agree though that Mr Elstone will probably have better things to do with his time than respond to this letter when it is already too late and the kit has been launched. No problem in asking the questions about the process though.
10 Posted 13/07/2009 at 18:56:07
Kit sales will always do ok even with the current design but sales of T-shirts etc will be poor. As for market research, they should be doing more... then we would get some better stuff in. You only have to look at fans who wear T-shirts with legends on them like Ball, Harvey & Kendall why we don't produce our own legends range.
11 Posted 13/07/2009 at 20:33:00
I wouldn’t buy any kit no matter who made it (although my Mrs bought me a Hafnia away one for Christmas), but some of the other merchandise Everton could sell lots of never seem to appear.
Somehow the club should sell the Chillean Everton shirt. I’ve seen this around Goodison a few times and they have to be imported in I think.
Australia Shirt with Cahill on the back also.
The Store now does a travelwear range made by Sergio Tachhini (sorry about the spelling!) which is a massive step in the right direction. I have thought for years if they could get a deal with Lacoste for a royal blue polo shirt and something small and classy Everton would fly out — especially away games.
As mentioned above, Legends or even anti-heroes would sell well. Brett Angell spooning a shot wide would be a classic!
Obviously it doesn’t matter anything near what happens on the pitch, but it's little things like this which would make Everton extra profit, and maybe get the 18- to 35-year-olds buying some sort of club merchandise.
12 Posted 13/07/2009 at 20:46:44
13 Posted 13/07/2009 at 21:00:02
The training gear is also spot on, bought a few tops and I don’t give a toss if it is Le Coq Sportif, it looks good.
The home kit is terrible but it has already sold fantastically and I believe the training gear will outsell any previous year, as it looks so good.
So in all Nick, I think it is a wasted letter.
14 Posted 14/07/2009 at 07:10:29
15 Posted 14/07/2009 at 10:26:17
How about one with Mikel Madar missing an open goal vs the Redshite... classic.
16 Posted 14/07/2009 at 11:50:34
17 Posted 14/07/2009 at 15:28:56
Le Coq Sportif is one of those ’old school’ brands that have made a comeback recently. I don’t see them as a "cheap" brand... quite the opposite. Anything I have seen of their latest football gear (jerseys and training wear) has been of a high quality and modern designs, but still have that classic feel to them.
Adidas are without doubt the best manufacturer of football gear at the moment and in my opinion always have been the best. Thing is though, they generally only go for big names in each country (I don’t know how Middlesbrough have their new kit with them though?)
Puma are muck. The shirts they made for us in the early 2000s were pretty poor. I only remember one nice shirt from their few years with us.
It's nice to see a change as I mentioned before. I’ll definitely give LCS a fighting chance.
From the leaked pictures online of the away shirt, this could be the making or breaking of them in a lot of Evertonians' eyes...
With regards to the home shirt, it is definitely growing on me after seeing pictures of the friendly against Bury a few days ago. It looks good ’in action’..
I will reserve judgement on buying it though until I see it in the flesh. I haven’t seen it in any of the shops in Ireland yet...
18 Posted 14/07/2009 at 19:47:10
19 Posted 15/07/2009 at 11:13:24
I totally agree with your comments. Nike & Adidas would give us a hell of a lot more shirt sales. As a club we should be trying to reach out to more fans, not just the die-hard blues who will be buy the kits regardless. The club have a narrow minded approach. They are looking at previous sales results and making comparisons. We should be trying to make strides in other countries. Nike & Adidas would do that for us. As a club in the PL we have the worst shirt sales per fan — based on average attendances. That’s because only the die-hards buy.
It’s done now. LCS is a manufacturing arm of Kitbag I understand. It is going to be LCS kits for 5 years. The Kitbag deal is for 10 years. It’s signed.
Having said all that...... I didn’t like the kit when it first came out. But I’ve seen it on Jô in the Bury game and it does look really good. It looks smart and very different from all of the kits we have had in recent years.
So, it might not be the tool to unlock new supporters. Or increase shirt sales in other areas, but it is a good kit and we need now, more than ever, to get behind the team wearing it this year. COYB
20 Posted 15/07/2009 at 15:06:56
Umbro is Nike and I can imagine that the hold Nike has on the sportswear industry means that the profit margin/deal that clubs get out of displaying their brand name(s) is reduced by the fact that Nike want as much as they can get. Perhaps Le Coq Sportif offered a more attractive package to the Club.
I am making the assumption that the club knows how many shirts it sells each year for full price. If they sell 40,000 shirts at £45 (or was it £49) a shirt (Umbro prices) and Umbro & JJB wanted a combined £30 of that, then Everton get £15. If Le Coq Sportif and Kitbag sell the shirts for £40 (a £5 reduction for fans) and it only costs £20, then Everton make £20 a shirt — fans get a discount and everyone is happy.
The design is another matter. The brand name, I might add, is not a sponsorship deal — it's a retail deal. Money is only made on what is sold. There is no real set fee.
So back to my original question to the author of this contradictory letter... Why is the brand name so important to you? A kit... is just that, a kit. Do you think other teams are going to mock us like kids in a playground????
21 Posted 15/07/2009 at 15:20:30
We really can't complain. New kit (unlike anyone else's) — even if it was Nike, why would a non-Evertonian buy it???
New retail deal (and both shops look amazing).
New training gear — which is very nice and new merchandise in the shops (you know, mouse mats and other useless stuff that your aunt will buy you for your birthday)... So for me its a win win situation; the swoosh is irrelevant.
You could, perhaps, argue that Nike/Adidas have a greater global reach... but you only have to go on your hols to Spain to see that the majority of kits on offer are FAKE — so branding of a kit adds very little.
I might also add that its a MUCH better quality fabric than those ’see-through’ umbro ones were.
22 Posted 15/07/2009 at 19:36:47
23 Posted 15/07/2009 at 21:12:41
24 Posted 15/07/2009 at 22:09:48
25 Posted 16/07/2009 at 09:47:05
It’s a sad situation that people will not consider buying the team of their chosen team because the tiny logo is not as fashionable or widely used as another kit.
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