Aston Villa have new kits for the 2008/2009 season, home and away, as shown on EPLtalk.com. This is not ordinarily big news as European sides change sponsors and shirt designs quite often. But this change is one that bucks the omnipresent trend of uniform advertisements. While the rest of Europe (save Barcelona) trot out with ads for banks, casinos or clothiers, Villa will feature the name of acorns' a local children's hospice. Dumping last year's sponsor of 32red, an online gambling site, Villa will lose £2 million. But Villa, following in Barca's footsteps are doing the right thing. It'll be a nice change to see something on a shirt that isn't screaming for profits but is instead out to help children.
I don't fall into the Jay Mariotti trap of thinking sports are all about the kids and everything that's done sets either a good or bad example for the wee ones. But it is nice to have an organization actually doing something toward a good cause. Unlike NBA Cares, which everyone knows is a crock, this could actually raise quite a bit of money, rather than being used to parade around star players and pretend they know how to read. Ever noticed that the books NBA players are reading to kids in ads are always picture books?
Kudos to Villa for pulling this off. Though it is sad that they had to ask for permission to have kits not featuring an advert.