Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Underthinking the Highlanders

So if you live in the south of the South Island of New Zealand, (incidentally who was in charge of naming islands the day they found New Zealand?)

"Look I have just named a million bays, coves, mountains, and I am running out of crew to name it after, just put it down as South Island for now and we will come back to it."
 ...you will have an opinion on jersey change of the Highlanders and if current poll are to be believed 90% of you will be opposed to the idea. So for those of you that don't know the Highlanders, who are the local rugby team have decided to change their jerseys.

And after 10 years of just cleaning them with water, it is probably about time, they stink
 No of course its not that, and it is not just a simple rejig either, or the existing colours, I mean there have been many permutations of the Highlanders jersey's of the last 10-15 years.
They have had stripes, and tartan on the shoulders, but always using the base colours of blue and gold, which have been their traditional colours. In recent years to recognise the prominence of Southland within the region, maroon has been added as a major colour.

Tartan, random sporadic lines, whatever....
But the rumour on the ground is, that the Jersey will be completely overhauled this year. Green has been a word bandied about a lot by the media and the public, note the Highlanders have not confirmed or denied green, but normally when there is smoke there is fire.

Unless you have one of those machines that use dry ice.
Green? The closest place to the Highlanders catchment that wears green is South Canterbury, but since they want disclose whether or not green is the new colour we don't even know what shade of green it is.

There is only one black coloured pencil, but at least 7 greens, the options are endless. (or 7)

Now I have heard various arguements for the reason to change the colours to green from the idiot management team at the Highlanders.

1/. The Highlander have no tradition

How long does a team need to exist before is it considered to have a tradition? 10 years, 20 years, 100 years?
If a team isn't that old then how can it ever build a tradition? This argument is also bandied about by the idiots on radio sport about the IPL, they want follow it because there is no tradition? That makes no sense, if you don't create new teams, and let them run for years you can never build up tradition.

What if Pamplona had decided to pack it in after 5 years, because there was no tradition? How would we cull the idiots out of our breeding population then?
Things need to be given time to develop tradition, and I think at 15 years the Highlanders are on the way to having a tradition, sure its not the 100 years of the Otago Rugby team, or the great EPL clubs. But it is a start, and if we restart now, haven't we just wasted 15 years that could have been used to build the tradition?

2/. Most of the players don't come from Otago anymore

So what? The team is just a collection of 22 guys that change most years, even most weeks that happen to wear the jersey that represents their hosts. The region were their team is based. And the team is based in Otago/Southland, neither of which have green in their traditional colours. You can't base the Jersey on the players otherwise you would have to change it ever year, and it would get messy, if all the players came from different regions.

"Okay we have represented Fred from West Coast, and Bill from Manawatu, and Jim from Nelson Bays, we will just slap a patch on for Jamie from Southland"
3/. We have been losing for years, so this wipes the slate clean.

The beauty of sport, (and this relates to the tradition element) is that you have periods of losses, and wins, and mixed seasons. You need to remember all of these to be a true fan. Those years of losses help to make the year you win feel some much better because you were there during the bad times. That is why I feel bad for Crusaders fans, because they never suffer many losses, because they rort the salary cap for all its worth, they never suffer, so their joy never reaches the dizzying heights, a black caps or warriors fan can achieve.

"Why did he eat that fish curry. WHY WHY?"

The other problem I see with 90% of people being opposed to this decision, then who is going to buy the merchandise, and the fans with the old colours will not look like supporters in the crowd, which they would have if they just re-jigged design not the colours. You don't mess with that they are sacred.

"We probably should have consulted the public before pre-ordering all these green shirts"


  1. I think this whole idea has revolutionised our thinking and I don't think people can get their heads around it moving forwards. The regional concept makes it more tricky compared with overseas sports teams. This could be the start of something huge or it could fall flat in its face. Will the Highlanders move their games to the North Island and overseas to grow their market share?

    It is like re-branding which is done in most companies. Out with the old regime, boss, management, coach, offices, ground and players and in with the new and uniforms is part of this new identity. They aren't Otago Highlanders for a reason. They are a franchise. Like the Hornets or Raiders in American sport.

    Otago, Southland and North Otago have tradition heading back years ago. Southland and Otago have been fierce rivals for over 100 years. But they have always been provinces in the national championship or ITM Cup as it is known now. Super Rugby is the professional game and is based on a franchise concept. It has been going 15 years and given the lack of passion shown by the Highlanders or fans in the last 8 years, it is funny that tradition is being used as an argument. Southland wasn't really recognised as part of the Highlanders franchise region until more recent times.

    2) The Highlanders have hardly any Otago players any more and because of the bigger squad sizes, in recent years they have had to get players in from outside the area. These players don't care about Otago or Southland at any time of the year, they just play where the money is and would wear a purple top with pink dots if they had to. The jersey means nothing to them. The coach is also from outside the area along with management. A change in jersey is intended to be the start of trying to get more fans in the Manawatu, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki who feel snubbed by the Hurricanes and want to support a team. Fans in these areas would be starved of Super Rugby and would show up in their droves getting crowds to rival Dunedin easily. The uniforms are designed to appeal to them because they feel they have a share in them. The Highlanders franchise needs the money from more fans, bigger population and gatetakings. They are re-branding to extend market share and revenue, but in trying to get more fans, they could lose their current ones. Mind you, I just couldn't face supporting the Crusaders instead.

    I will be one of the many who watch the game on Friday night. Whatever happens, if the fans who are outraged about this show up, then Carisbrook will be packed for a change!

  2. Scotty you have hit the nail on the head, the reason they are changing the colours, is so that they can move the team soon. They don't want a team down here so by changing the colours its more easily transferable....

  3. coach outlet, http://www.coachoutletus.us/
    cheap mlb jerseys, http://www.cheapmlbjerseys.net/
    replica handbags, http://www.replicahandbag.us.com/
    air max 2015, http://www.airmax2015.in.net/
    toms outlet, http://www.tomsoutlet-stores.com/
    chanel handbags, http://www.chanelhandbagsoutlet.eu.com/
    chanel outlet, http://www.chaneloutletstore.us.com/
    oakley, http://www.occhialioakleyoutlets.it/
    cheap mlb jerseys, http://www.cheapmlbjerseys.us.com/
    tory burch outlet, http://www.toryburchoutletonline.in.net/
    michael kors outlet, http://www.michaelkorsoutletonlinestores.us.com/
    ralph lauren shirts, http://www.poloralphlaurenshirts.us.com/
    true religion jeans, http://www.truereligionjeansoutlet.com/
    mulberry outlet, http://mulberryoutlet.outlet-store.co.uk/
    ghd hair straighteners, http://www.ghdhairstraightenerssale.co.uk/
    kobe shoes, http://www.kobeshoes.us/
    louis vuitton outlet, http://www.louisvuittonoutletstore.name/
    air jordan 11, http://www.airjordan11.net/
    nike trainers, http://www.niketrainers.me.uk/
    ugg boots, http://www.uggbootsclearance.in.net/
    michael kors outlet, http://www.michaelkorsoutlets.uk/
    designer handbags, http://www.designerhandbags.us.com/
    ralph lauren uk, http://www.ralphlaurenoutletuk.org.uk/
    gucci, http://www.borseguccioutlet.it/
    louis vuitton outlet, http://www.louisvuittonus.us.com/


    Want to keep Underthinking? Try one these.