06:00 24 August 2022
Ipswich Town already have one on the rest of the footballing world. No other club on the planet can say they are sponsored by one of music’s biggest stars, or have an official number with the team.
Well, now Town can add something else to that list. Because that particular world star, Ed Sheeran, also just helped design a kit for them.
Sheeran lent his Equals album cover to the historic third blackout kit, launched yesterday, which features a tonal pattern inspired by it on the sleeves and shorts.
Paul Macro, Retail Operations Manager for Town, explained: “When we sat down about a year ago, we had the concepts for the home, we had the concepts for the outdoors, and we wanted something really strong thing because it’s the first time we’ve been able to do a third kit in a long time.
“We always wanted to do a blackout style, we were looking forward to it – and then we thought, can we get Ed involved?
“He was also keen to get involved, and then it was about how do you balance that – how do you bring a product to market that is an Ipswich Town kit, still working, but also has that Ed influence?
“We came up with the idea of taking the colors from the Equals (album) artwork and turning them into a tonal charcoal color and then running them through the sleeves.
“So we did that with the shirt and the short panel and exchanged a few emails with Ed and his team – and they loved it, so we went with that.”
Macro added: “He came to a game right after seeing the final design, and that jersey was all he could talk about – so he loved it!”
As well as the Sheeran album cover, the kit includes a gray Town badge – the first of its kind in the club’s history – as well as a gray sponsor logo (Sheeran’s world tour) and an Umbro badge.
“It all works really well together,” Macro said. “It’s like a charcoal color, which goes very well with the shirt, and we said to do that with the sponsor and the Umbro badge as well.
“It looks like a very solid and smart third shirt.”
Of course, after presiding over a trio of what should be a record sale of Town shirts this year, Macro is now under pressure to come up with something even better for next season’s encore, a year everyone is hoping for. see Town return to the Championship.
“I’m really scared of what we can do next year to be fair,” he laughed. “I’m really happy, it’s a one-year project.
“When we last spoke (in May) we were just working on next year’s kits – we’re working well ahead – so finally presenting them to the fans is just brilliant, and I think those are three really solid shirts that work well together.”
On next year’s kit, he added: “We hope to get that signed very soon and then we’ll plan what we’re going to do about that.”
As Macro said, the man who inspired the new kit is also very happy with it.
Sheeran said, “I wanted to do something with a subtle homage to the album but also be a cool piece of clothing that people all over the world would want to wear. I love it.”
And what about those who have to wear the kit to do their job? Well, according to striker Freddie Ladapo, it’s already a hit with Town players.
“I think the fans will be very happy with it,” Ladapo said. “It’s nice, it looks good and I’m sure they will be very happy.
“I love it. We tried it out and took a few pictures – me, Marcus (Harness) and Leify (Davis) – and I think they all loved it.”
He added: “I love kit launches. I think for every player, when you go into a new season, you’re excited to see what kit you’re going to wear – and I think the boys are going to be excited with that. especially here.”
On Sheeran’s involvement with the club in general, Ladapo added: “He’s an integral part of this club. When I signed, they showed me around, took me to his box, he’s part an integral part of this club and also sponsors it. He does good things for us, so we are very happy.
“He does a lot to let people know how much he loves Ipswich. I think at one of his gigs he wore the home shirt and it was good to see, it will also bring a huge following back to Ipswich.”
That didn’t stop Ladapo from being initially baffled when he saw the squad number list for the new season.
“To be completely honest, when I saw the squad roster come out and saw ‘Sheeran 17’, I didn’t know who it was,” he laughed.
“I was thinking ‘I’m sure I know who that is’ but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was a stupid moment, but funny to realize it later.
“I enjoy his music – I don’t think anyone can’t appreciate him, he makes great music and he does it with a lot of great artists that I listen to.”
Of the new kit, Ladapo concluded: “I think fans are going to buy this shirt as soon as they see it. You’re going to want something that not many people have – I think a lot will buy it!”
The story behind Town’s Ed Sheeran-designed new all-black third kit