Following County's kit launch of both the 2019/20 home and away strip in partnership with Paddy Power, we caught up with kit designer Neal Heard.
Published author and brand consultant Neal is no stranger to County fans, having been involved in last year’s design, and to those who have a general interest in football shirts.
With over 17,000 followers on Instagram, Neal is an expert when it comes to football kits and has released two books, detailing his favourite kits and his love of sports trainers.
A local lad, Neal is an avid Newport County AFC fan. He explained how the design of this season’s home and away kits came about:
His first thoughts on seeing the final kits…
“Firstly I am really happy with how the final product has come out and that the players are happy with it. It was an honour for me to once again be asked to design this kit. When I was asked to design it, because I am a little bit of a romanticist and I could see that graphical, more classical kits were coming together, that’s what really inspired the design.
“I think that the club are without a doubt punching above their weight on the pitch, off the pitch at Board level, and now I can also proudly say we are doing exactly that with our playing kit as well this season.”
On how the design came about…
“Lots of the big clubs are going back to the old, retro classical designs of kits from the past like Nigeria and Arsenal’s bruised banana design. Hull have also gone back, Derby County as well.
“I really liked the new-look design, but at the same time I didn’t want to offend any of our fan base and go away from any traditional County colours. I think this marries the two together and is the best of both worlds.
“At the same time I didn’t want to copy another one. I want people to look back and say, ‘Oh wow, you designed that 2019/20 Newport County kit!"
“I want it to spawn its own trends in that way. I have used several kits as inspiration but I am sure it will be known in its own right.”
On the design itself…
“The pattern itself has been inspired by an existing kit from the past – one a little bit closer to home which may give it away a little bit! Also, I rest my feet on a little stool watching the telly at night, and the blanket that I have also is a little similar to it.
“That home pattern encompasses both my inspirations as well as the fact that in its own right is a completely unique and exciting-looking kit, one of which will go down in the history books I hope.”
On his links to the club…
“I’m a boyhood fan, I first watched the County at around seven years old. I was just about old enough to remember and enjoy our glory years in the 80s before then properly cutting my teeth following the club towards the end of that decade. That’s when Newport properly became my club. I loved the whole scene back then. I am your typical lifelong fan really!
“I care when the County win or lose. It really matters to me the result on a Saturday. It was a huge thing for me. I have got the club tattooed on my body, put it that way!
“I only ever think of the club when I do this. I never charge any money, I don’t want to, I am a County fan and I want to help the club as much as I can.”
On the kit being ‘unsponsored’ by Paddy Power as part of the Save Our Shirt campaign…
“I love the way that the kit is totally sponsor-free. Going back, obviously kits weren’t sponsored at all and it’s refreshing to see that for our 19/20 kits and it makes the strip look completely fresh.
“To have my clothing brand Lover’s FC tag on the bottom of the left of the kit, fusing together street and football fashion, is another unique and very forward-thinking idea for the club to adopt and feature.
“PSG collaborated with Jordan last year, Aston Villa collaborating with Luke last season as well – it is how the world of football kits are moving forward.”
Like what you see, Exiles? NCAFC Home and Away kits for the 2019/20 season are available to purchase online now and in-store at our Kingsway Centre Club Shop now.
Our Kingsway Club Shop will be open from 9.30am until 4.30pm on weekdays throughout this week, then 10am until 2pm this Saturday.