Wycombe’s intentionally distracting kit

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Wycombe goalkeeper Scott Brown models both home and away goalkeeper strips

As the 2017-18 season draws ever closer, you can be guaranteed of a few things: long-running transfer sagas, friendlies that mean as much as a five-a-side game on your local astroturf and new kit launches.

Usually the latter of those points is the one to happen without note, but League Two side Wycombe Wanderers have decided it was time to go bold. Really bold.

Their new goalkeeper kits, in particular the tie-dye-like home strip, has gained immediate cult status for the sheer in-your-faceness.

And it is in no way accidental.

“I wanted to try to create a target area to draw opposition players’ eyes to,” said Chairboys goalkeeping coach and chief designer Barry Richardson.

“The modern-day goalkeepers are a lot bigger than they used to be, so it’s a no-brainer to design something with big, bright, bold colours because it just makes big goalkeepers even bigger.”

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So where did his inspiration for the kit come from?

“I had a kaleidoscope as a kid,” said Richardson. “I remember looking at it and it drew my eyes into the middle.

“With all of the sparkly colours, you could see them all on the peripheral, but your eyes are always drawn to the centre.”

Richardson, 47, acts as back-up to first-choice Scott Brown at Adams Park, the man lucky enough to model the kits in official photos.

“You’re always looking for that extra 1% and hopefully this can help us in one way,” said Brown.

“It’s definitely the best kit I’ve had. You get the standard ones, a home one and away one and they’re identical. It’s usually a green one and a yellow one and these are totally different.”

According to Richardson, the reaction from Wycombe’s strikers has already proved how worthwhile the design is.

He continued: “What the strikers have said straight away was that ‘I don’t look at the goalie, he doesn’t distract me’. Straight away, those are the sort of answers you want because you’re already affecting their heads. They’re thinking about it now.

“There are only three things that are certain in life: death, taxes and goalkeepers conceding goals. So if we can concede less and it preys on a few people mentally, they’re thinking ‘I’ll show them and stick it in the top corner’, we’ve already affected them.”

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Famous goalkeeper kits

Wycombe’s kit has drawn comparison to one worn by Mexico keeper Jorge Campos in the 1994 World Cup. Campos is known as one of the most flamboyant characters the game has seen. This shirt testifies to that.
At Euro 96, England goalkeeper David Seaman donned this classy number for the semi-final against Germany. Sadly for England fans, Seaman’s kit failed to distract any German penalties in the shootout…
Paraguay keeper Jose Luis Chilavert is known world over for his ability at free-kicks, but a more underrated part of his game was his fashion style, as this picture from the 1997 Copa America shows
Former Newcastle, West Ham and Portsmouth goalkeeper Shaka Hislop had so many bonkers kits it was hard to choose just one of them…
Continuing the veritable smorgasbord of cult heroes, Neville Southall looked rather fetching in this pink number while playing for Wales in 1995
Even goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel was not immune to a fashion faux-pas, and let’s not mention the hair…

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