This is the new kit season. Across the world of football, the marketing departments of the biggest clubs devise clever and attention-grabbing ways to promote next term’s new kits.
It seems, the title of best kit of 2020 has already been won by… Loch Ness FC.
The Inverness-based amateur side, who are preparing for their first season in Scotland’s North Caledonian League, have already been inundated with orders for their 2020/21 home and away shirts after the Nessie-themed design went viral.
Loch Ness Home Kit 2020/21 / Phil McDonald / Loch Ness FC
Loch Ness Away Kit 2020/21 / Phil Macdonald / Loch Ness FC
Recently released 3rd kit to go on sale soon / Phil Macdonald / Loch Ness FC
In an age of cookie-cutter templates from major kit manufacturers, tops are increasingly losing their originality, the monster motif… and because, well, just look at them. They are beautiful!
“We’ve had orders from Holland, Germany, Australia and Canada.”
– Phil Macdonald
Loch Ness’ designs were featured on BBC Breakfast and were even echoed by the official Match of the Day Twitter account.
“We’ve had a lot of orders,” Phil McDonald, a Loch Ness FC striker who helped set up the club’s website to cope with demand, tells 90 Minutes. “I’m talking about the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Canada.
Loch Ness FC have one of the best football shirts we’ve ever seen! ?? #nessie #bbcfootball @LochNessFC pic.twitter.com/jRj7i6sJFT
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) July 8, 2020
“There are shops in different countries that want to buy in bulk. It’s really crazy. The problem is we don’t have the shirts yet, they’re all on pre-order!”
Martin Mainland, a sweeper-cum-centreback and graphic designer who came up with the look of the White-era kit, says: “When you see Match of the Day have posted your kit, it’s goosebumps. , the hair stands up on the back of your neck.
“I don’t think we’ll be taking Nessie off the kit anytime soon.”
Although Nessie has long been a feature of the club’s badge, this year marks the first time that Loch Ness FC, founded in 1999, have ever received a bespoke kit, moving away from all previous design rack templates. were However, capitalizing on the popularity of their alluring and world-famous location has been an idea for some time.
Martin added: “You know how popular Loch Ness is in the tourism industry…every country knows about Loch Ness.
Loch Ness/Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images
“We wanted to do it last year because it was our 20-year anniversary but we ended up going with the Nike template for cost effectiveness.”
After getting design help for the home kit from Moving Forward Sports Manufacturers, the Monster idea came to life in 2020.
“I have a small graphic design business and I was just messing around with it on the likes of Photoshop,” Martin revealed. “I’ll take full credit for Away Top, but Home Top was mostly leading the way. We gave them our idea and they ran with it.”
A statue of the Loch Ness monster near the loch / Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty Images
Advertising aside, the new kit has potentially proved to be a lifesaver for Loch Ness FC. Despite the Scottish Highlands being virtually free of COVID, the economic impact is being felt.
The cut’s profile is helping to bring in much-needed funds for the first season in the North Caledonian League, while the community club continues to look for a permanent venue to play its home games.
“”The profile of the shirt has taken us to another level. I’m lost for words””
Striker Phil, who runs the record label when not on club duty, says: “Everything here is grassroots with all the players involved.
“One of the main struggles we’ve had is finance. Some of the away trips involve going to Orkney, which requires a boat and all sorts of things, so it’s huge for a club like ours. It’s a thing.
Loch Ness FC in action last season / Martin Mainland / Loch Ness FC
“When this whole COVID situation started, we were like, ‘We don’t have any money coming in. We don’t know if we can afford to go next season,’ but it’s been a huge help.”
Martin added: “The profile of the shirt has taken us to another level. I’m kind of lost for words how much he’s changed the club and he’s given us such a good foundation to build on. We have many companies. Local and big brands, approaching us for sponsorship.”
There have been at least five recorded sightings of the Loch Ness monster this year alone, with tourists’ (questionable) photographs in June garnering plenty of tabloid coverage and proving that interest in the myth is as strong as ever.
“If it’s possible to do a new kit every 12 months, we’d be happy to do that,” confirmed Martin as the club look to capitalize on their Nessie link in the wake of this year’s success.
Loch Ness FC club badge featuring the Nessie motif / Martin Mainland / Loch Ness FC
“I don’t think we’ll be taking Nessie off the kit anytime soon.“
As for the club’s goals, there is no direct route to promotion from the North Caledonian League, but a desire to continue moving up the pyramid towards semi-professionalism with the help of their newly raised profile. However, success has never been the most important thing.
“We know we’re not a big club but we’re a community club and we do a lot for charity,” says Martin. “We need local support to survive at the level we’re at, we support them and they support us. At this level, you don’t have money to throw around. Especially this one. In times like these, everyone needs to pull together.”