Fans have accused the Irish Football Association of scoring a massive own goal following the launch of the France-bound team’s new home kit.
The international squad is riding high - having comfortably qualified for Euro 2016 - but almost 4,000 disgruntled members of the Green and White Army had by last night signed an online petition against a “monstrosity” of a jersey.
According to the IFA, the style is a throwback to the “classic navy blue and green design” which is “designed to create impact on pitch next summer”.
It has already had in impact on social media with almost universal criticism of the shirt as, at best, unattractive.
The petition at Change.org was started by Banbridge exile Ian McKinney who now lives in Birmingham. It lambasts the £55 item as “an absolute monstrosity of a kit,” and adds: “It has too many colours, a terrible design, and it’s totally out of touch with what fans wanted.”
The much-maligned strip will be on show for the first time at Windsor Park for the friendly against Latvia on Friday.
The IFA said: “The new home shirt design pays tribute to designs from the 80s when the team last reached a major international competition at the 1986 FIFA World Cup Finals in Mexico.”
The online petition goes on to say: “Together we could force the IFA and Adidas to change. Let’s get ourselves the kit we deserve, not this awful mess!”
Gary McAllister of the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs said the AONISC has lobbied both the IFA and Adidas “on a number of issues” relating to merchandise.
“We feel that there are issues around the affordability of kits and training gear, especially for those who are buying for a family. In addition to this, we believe that the quality of the items don’t provide value for money, with iron-on badges having taken the place of embroidered crests.
“We also think that selected independent retailers around the country should be given an opportunity to stock Northern Ireland kits and the training range to allow as many people as possible to buy the items they want,” he said.
The new kit is now available to pre-order exclusively from www.jdsports.co.uk/Northern-Ireland and will be available in store and online from early December.
The fans who used social media to air their views on the new kit design were overwhelmingly negative.
One said those responsible had “effectively just committed the shirt designing equivalent of Ronny Rosenthal’s miss”.
Other comments included:
• “Appalled by this shirt. Really? Like Really Really? Green & WHITE Army. Change.org petition signed.”
• “@OfficialIrishFA please tell me this is not the shirt we will be playing in at the Euros next year?”
• “A 30 year wait for an International tournament and we’re going to be dressed in a pyjama top. Sort it out IFA/Adidas.”
• “As a block booker for over 10 years an a frequent attender to away games, I’m signing this petition because I think the new NI home shirt is horrendous.”