Finally, news we've all been waiting for: Aston Villa are finally going to dump Nike and jump on board with another kit manufacturer. The club says the reason for switching from the US based retailer to a new manufacturer is based on quality, both of kit and of replica gear.
Personally, I haven't had a problem with any of my kits -- they fit well and do a good job as workout gear. My Villa sweatpants are the best thing in the history of ever, and they're official Nike gear. However, I didn't buy a new kit this season, so I can't attest to whether the quality has changed.
I live in Portland, Oregon, home to Nike (well, Beaverton, a suburb, is its home, but close enough). The original Niketown is in downtown Portland. I've been to that store, as well as others in the Northwest. I've been to Niketown in London. I frequent soccer shops in all places I live or visit. And, save for a weird spotting of a Villa kit in the Reykjavik airport, it's near impossible to find the claret and blue. Sure, sometimes there's an oversized kit hiding amidst the more famous names, but nothing else. Jackets, hoodies, scarves, hats...well, I could get them in burgundy and blue stripes, but they would also feature an FCB logo.
So while I enjoy Villa partnering with a big name sports firm, it's not really doing the club any good in terms of reputation or sales. Let's move on, shall we? Mat Kendrick says that it'll likely be Macron who next partners with Villa, sending me into cartwheels of joy. In case you didn't know, Macron makes the Napoli kits, which are just lovely. Plus, they allow you to buy directly from the manufacturer. Having dealt with both Villa Direct and Macron, I can tell you, Macron are much more responsive. They corrected an error with kits I bought over Christmas immediately, and apologized profusely. If Villa truly are switching to Macron, this can only be a positive.