The story behind Ipswich Town's new kits

Luke Woolfenden and Wes Burns in Town's new Umbro kits

Luke Woolfenden and Wes Burns in Town's new Umbro kits - Credit: Ross Halls

For thousands of Ipswich Town fans, yesterday was the day they saw next season's new shirts for the first time.

But, for the club's head of retail Paul Macro, release day was the culmination of a top secret project more than a year in the planning.

Indeed, while fans were getting excited about the 2022/23 kits yesterday, Macro is already busy working on Town's look for 23/24.

"If I told you that we've started planning the shirts for the following season, that's how far ahead we work," he explained.

"These shirts were planned well in advance, and because we were doing a lot of bespoke stuff with the shirts, a lot of work going into them, we started in the middle of last year on these shirts."

And these shirts have proved universally popular so far - made by iconic manufacturer Umbro, they feature nods to classic strips of the past, blended with a modern feel.

Ipswich Town Women's players Blue Wilson, Abbie Lafayette and Sophie Peskett model the new home shirts

Ipswich Town Women's players Blue Wilson, Abbie Lafayette and Sophie Peskett model the new home shirts - Credit: Ross Halls

"It was a natural decision, given the history that we've had," Macro said of the club's return to Umbro and the new home shirt. "We wanted to do something a bit different to what we have in the past as well - and this gives us a bespoke, unique shirt.

"So we really looked at what is bespoke and unique about Ipswich Town, and if you speak to any fans they'll tell you Portman Road, our stadium.

"You often hear that from away fans too, when they come to the ground, that it's a really nice football stadium.

Luke Woolfenden and Wes Burns model Ipswich Town's new home kit

Luke Woolfenden and Wes Burns model Ipswich Town's new home kit - Credit: Ross Halls

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"We looked at our old stand, the Cobbold Stand, and we took pieces of the structure out of that, made a pattern within the shirt, a really nice graphic which runs through the whole shirt.

"It gives us a really bespoke, unique shirt that no-one else has."

He added: "I think if people think of the iconic Umbro shirts of the past, they think of the early 90's shirts - the '92 shirt and also the first shirt we wore in the Premier League, with the tassels.

"We haven't quite gone down that route, but they both had flash of red in the collar so we've added that into the shirt and it gives it that iconic retro feel.

"Then you have the graphic running through it, which gives it a really modern look as well."

Wes Burns, Blue Wilson and Luke Woolfenden in Town's new away kits

Wes Burns, Blue Wilson and Luke Woolfenden model Ipswich Town's popular new away kits. - Credit: ITFC/Umbro

Of the away shirt, a black and red striped AC Milan-esque beauty which already feels like a fan favourite, Macro explained that again they wanted to doff the club's cap to the past.

"Again it's a nod to those classic Umbro shirts we had in the 90's," he said. "We had a red shirt with black pinstripes running through it, and then one of our third shirts had the thicker black and red stripes.

"So if you look at the away shirt, you'll see the thicker stripes and then, just behind the crest, there's a nod to those pinstripes running through it as well.

"Again, it's a nod to a classic, but a modern feel to the shirt."

Ipswich Town's new home shirt

Ipswich Town's new home shirt - Credit: Ross Halls

Among the little touches to both shirts are the 'Running towards adversity' line which CEO Mark Ashton wanted including, emblazoned inside the collar of the shirt, plus a new location for the club's famed three stars - another nod to Town's fabled history.

"We really wanted the front of the shirts to be fresh - new start, new challenges - but we still wanted to retain that nod to the past and those achievements, because they're massive achievements for the club," Macro explained. 

"So we moved the stars onto the back of the shirt, just below the collar, and there's a reason we've done that as well.

Ipswich Town's new away shirt

Ipswich Town's new away shirt - Credit: Ross Halls

"When the players walk into a changing room, on a match day, their name is below those three stars - it gives that incentive, that knowledge of what can be achieved at this football club."

But, while fans spent yesterday excitedly reviewing the new shirts, Macro said that for him, the big reveal sparks different emotions.

"I guess release day is a nervous day," he said. "Most people at the club are fans as well, and those early 90's shirts are the shirts that I remember when I first started coming to games.

Wes Burns models Ipswich Town's new home shirt

Wes Burns models Ipswich Town's new home shirt - Credit: Ross Halls

"So it's been a project, and when you work on that project for so long you want people to receive it well - so you're looking at socials saying 'let's have a look, see what the comments are.'

"So it's a nerve-wracking day, but I think everyone who's seen the shirts so far has fallen in love with both of them."