UpFront: A question of colours at London Broncos

London Broncos are changing not just their ground, but also their colours, next season.

The capital club’s move to the Plough Lane Stadium will be accompanied by a switch from their trademark black shirts with red and white trim to blue and yellow.

It’s a nod to AFC Wimbledon, the Broncos’ new landlords, with whom they hope to develop a lasting and flourishing partnership.

That aspiration is understandable, particularly at a crucial time for the club as they move from full to part-time status in a bid to adjust to the position they find themselves in financially following relegation from Super League in 2019 and the subsequent effects of the pandemic.

The Broncos also want to attract an influx of new supporters to help that process.

Given the League 1 football club are averaging 7,612 so far this season and the Rugby League side’s figure for the eight Championship games at rugby union team Ealing Trailfinders this year for which spectators were allowed was 378, the potential is clear.

And there are surely valuable lessons to be learned from AFC Wimbledon’s remarkable rise from the lower reaches of non-league football since their formation in 2002 in the wake of the original Wimbledon FC’s controversial relocation to Milton Keynes.

AFC were quick to relay the kit development to their 72,700 Twitter followers – valuable free advertising to a largely new market for the Broncos.

But both tradition and brand, that intangible marketing or business concept which helps people identify a company or product, are also important, and club colours are a key part of both.

Think black and white, think Hull, think primrose and blue, think Warrington, think chocolate, blue and gold, think Whitehaven, for example.

Is it worth the risk of upsetting existing supporters, or undermining a club’s brand, in a bid to attract new ones which may or may not prove successful?

AFC Wimbledon’s fellow football club Cardiff City tried a change back in 2012, going from blue to red, but came unstuck, reverting in less than three years.

That said, Leeds United once wore the city’s colours of blue and amber which are still sported by Leeds Rhinos, but in the early sixties they changed to all white and by the end of that decade, had joined Real Madrid, the club said to have inspired the new look, as one of the leading sides in Europe.

And more subtle, but highly effective, were Arsenal’s introduction of white sleeves to a previously all-red shirt, and Liverpool’s decision to drop white shorts and go all red, at the behest of legendary managers Herbert Chapman and Bill Shankly respectively.

But whatever colours you favour, we would like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Next week we will take a rest from appearing on the news stands, but we will be back on 3rd January as we head into 2022 for what will surely be a momentous season.

We shall look forward to seeing you all then.

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