Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland shirt outcry: Petition reaches 5,000 signatures demanding IFA change design

*Could you design a better shirt? Scroll down to submit your own*

New look: players Oliver Norwood, Stuart Dallas, Steven Davis, Kyle Lafferty and Chris Baird
New look: players Oliver Norwood, Stuart Dallas, Steven Davis, Kyle Lafferty and Chris Baird
Kyle Lafferty in the new strip
Classic kit: Steven Davis and Josh Magennis

By Adrian Rutherford and Jonny Bell

A petition to change the design of the controversial new Northern Ireland jersey, which has scored an own-goal with fans, has reached 5,000 signatures.

The eagerly-anticipated 2016 home shirt was ridiculed after being unveiled yesterday.

Angry supporters branded it "horrendous" and "hideous", with some suggesting it was the worst kit in the team's history.

One of the biggest gripes is the horizontal blue stripe across the front of the £55 top.

Supporter Ian McKinney said the jersey, which will be worn at Euro 2016, was terrible.

"We qualify for our first tournament in 30 years and they go and produce something like this - it's horrendous," he said.

"Kits that have divided opinion in the past have either not been the traditional colour or messy - this is both. It's a perfect storm of rubbish."

Yesterday, Mr McKinney started an online petition at calling for "a proper kit for Euro 2016". It attracted more than 2,000 signatures in four hours.

By lunchtime on Tuesday, the petition had reached 5,000 signatures in the space of just 24 hours.

We hit the streets to find out what fans thought of the new design.

Reader Designs .... A game of two halves: Ryan Costley goes straight down the line with this one
Reader Designs .... A game of two halves: Ryan Costley goes straight down the line with this one
Reader Designs ....Designer Stuart Neill is showboating with this fine effort
Si Richmond has set out his stall with this stripey number
Peter McKnight attempts a nutmeg.
Daniel Bingham echoes the Billy Bingham era with this attempt.
Kevin Scott with a long-range shot. Dame fine attempt.
Declan O'Brien attempts a nutmeg
Patricia Pinsker from Newtownards flagged this one up
Simon Cunningham attempts a step over.
Scott Millar toe-poked this one in
Ian James Parsley goes route one.
Nicola Linton employs wingers to go on the attack.
Calvin Houston of Spotsylvania, Virginia, USA (orginally from Newtownards) crosses this one in.
Andrew Clarson sees red.
Ian Ellames attempts a lobbed through ball
Alan McAleer lines up a shot on goal

The jersey will be on show for the first time when Northern Ireland play Latvia on Friday night.

The IFA said the jersey was "designed to create impact on the pitch next summer".

"The new home shirt design pays tribute to designs from the 80s when the team last reached a major international competition at the 1986 Fifa World Cup finals in Mexico," it added.

However, it failed to impress most fans.

Andrew Scullion, from Larne, said there was too much blue in the jersey. "The big stripe across the middle looks awful," he said.

"My preference is to keep it simple - green shirt, white shorts and green socks. That's what all the best Northern Ireland kits have looked like.

"You always hear people talk about the 1982 and 1986 World Cup kits - they are iconic kits.

"People remember what the team wore when great things were achieved, but I don't think this will be remembered for the right reasons."

Mr Scullion said he had no intention of buying the new kit.

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The IFA was inundated with negative comments after asking fans what they thought on Twitter.

Some branded it "horrible" and "awful".

One wrote: "'Green and some white and lots of blue army' doesn't have the same ring to it."

Another posted: "Our first tournament in 30 years and our kit is a hideous disaster! Hang your heads in shame."

One fan was more positive, writing: "Doesn't look too bad, think I could live with that."

It is the second time in as many years that a Northern Ireland jersey design has caused controversy. In 2013 some fans were in uproar over its shade of green.

One fan claimed the the shirt looked more like the Republic of Ireland's kit.

An IFA source said there was no chance of the shirt being changed.

"We've been working with Adidas on the shirt for over a year," they said.

"We have consulted with them, they with us and we've gone to representatives of supporters to get their opinion before signing off the design."

The away design will be launched on Thursday. It is white and "much less removed from the traditional Northern Ireland kit", the source added.

Northern Ireland play Latvia on Friday night as they begin preparations for Euro 2016. It will be their first appearance at a major tournament for 30 years.

Fans will discover their opponents - plus the cities they will be travelling to next summer - when the draw is made in Paris on December 12.

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