Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Good, The Bad, The WTF

Spare a thought for KV Mechelen. Twenty years ago, the club was the best they would ever be. In 1987-88, in their first ever European competition, Mechelen won the Cup Winner's Cup, defeating Ajax 1-0 in the Final. Later that year, Mechelen trumped PSV in the Super Cup 3-1 over two legs. In 1988-89, Mechelen attempted to defend its CWC title, making it to the Semis before bowing out to Sampdoria 4-2 on aggregate. In 1989-90, at the seeming apex of the team, Mechelen made it to the Quarters of the European Cup (now Champions League), losing to eventual champion AC Milan in extra time after holding the Italian giants scoreless for 180 minutes.

Then, things went south fast. The chairman of the club was forced to sell off players because his business was losing money (beware Oligarch-held UK teams). The team fell all the way to the Belgian Third Division in the early 2000s before ascending to their current bottom-half positioning in the Jupiler League.

None of that heartbreak excuses this week's shirt. While I do not have the vintage on this shirt, I know it is not from the year they won the CWC. That shirt, while not the prettiest, has nothing on the horror that Mechelen heaped on its team in later years.

The first thing that I, as a person whose first ever professional match was at Dens Park, noticed was the badge. Mechelen's badge looks suspiciously like Dundee FC's. While I'm not going to debate which came first, I will say that Dundee had their crest on their shirt by 1988, something that Mechelen, as seen in the link above, did not.

But wait, there's so much more. The most obvious thing to talk about is that color scheme. At first glance, this looks like it could be an elasticated black and yellow striped jersey, with the red being the result of said elastic being stretched out by one especially prodigious beer belly. Sadly that's not the case. As you can see in this picture,

the change in color is almost a Pointillist effect. This would be a nice tribute if some practitioner of that style of painting came from Mechelen, but none did. Instead, it's just the kind of thing that gives you eye strain when you get too close, much like Pointillism itself.

The other thing you really have to wonder about with this shirt is the sponsor. Hmm, Lease Plan. Is that like Naming Rights Stadium? Turns out, it's not. It is some Dutch company that, from their company-written wiki, "consists of a growing international network of companies engaged in fleet and vehicle management services, mainly through"--wait for it--"operational leasing". Glad to clear that up. Maybe sometime over the last 45 years of business, they could have thought up a new name. I mean, it worked for Altria, right?

Anyway, yeah, this shirt is bad, and it will make you look like a fatty if you wear it, no matter how skinny you think you are. Also, I really didn't get a chance to fit it in, but I have to tell you that the club's nickname, in its native Dutch, is De Kakkers. I assume we are all immature enough to get a snigger out of that (but not out of snigger, because then you'd be a bigot).


Mike Georger said...

No less than a third of the Bundelisga has jerseys just like this, I think.

Mike Georger said...

spelling ftw!

The NY Kid said...

why do you hate Seurat?

EbullientFatalist said...

Seurat? Pointillism? L'OM just found their new manager and his attacking philosophy.