The Premier League Winter Ball – Winter is here
You just know that we’re heading towards the business part of the football season when the Premier League introduce their Winter Ball. This coming weekend of action sees the Nike Ordem 3 on pitch for the first time this season and it truly is a belter.
While the introduction of the brightly coloured football may elicit grumbles in one or two areas, the history of the humble football shows that colours have been a constant theme over the years.
Indeed the first time that a white ball was used in a FIFA World Cup came in 1958 in Sweden. Previously footballs had been a darker brown colour, while in 1954 in Switzerland it was amended to a yellowish or light brown colouring on the balls. In Sweden though to help spectators to get a clear view of the football on dull or rainy days, the white “Top Star” football was used.
In 1962 the “Crack” ball was a yellowish colour but the “Top Star” was flown in to be used in some of the games by the European nations. In 1966 Slazenger were the chosen manufacturers of the World Cup football with three versions of the “Slazenger Challenge” ball – white, yellow and red-orange. While the red-orange ball (left) remains iconic to this day as it was used in the final, the white version was the most widely used in that tournament due to it being easier to see on the black&white tv screens of the era and the white ball would grow in popularity in English football in the following years (although they had been used as far back as the early 1950’s in floodlit venues). The white ball thus became almost the “default” ball to a whole new generation of people who got into football in those years, making the newer versions of winter football, as we have today, seem strange.
Fast forward to the 2004/05 season and the Nike Total 90 Aerow “Hi-Vis” made its debut as the first of the next generation of Premier league winter football, it’s sharp yellow design making it synonymous with that period in Premier League history.
The new version of the Nike Ordem this year is a vibrant orange with yellow hues, a change from last season’s mostly yellow design. Again it is designed to ensure maximum visibility for players in their peripheral vision and to ensure the ball stands out from it’s surroundings. We think you’ll agree they’ve done a fine job. Now to figure out do we put the clocks forward or back….