With the hype of the new kits coming today, we thought it'd only be right to speak with the man responsible for bringing the kits from Baltimore to Southampton. Southampton FC ran a contest called #MySaintsStory a few months ago, with the winner of the video contest receiving a trip to Baltimore to visit the Under Armour headquarters and check out the design of the new kits.
Ed Powell was the winner, and all week has been in teaser videos from the Southampton media department. From the USA, to a sailboat, to the locker room, Ed has done it all. I decided to get in touch with him and ask him about his experience.
How did you become a Saints fan?
EP: Saints were always the local team but I really became a fan after my Dad (seen briefly in the kit teaser as I took him to Baltimore) took me to a game. He was a Pompey fan growing up, but after Franny Benali came to do the end of season prize giving for the local kids team I played for he decided he would take me to a Saints game. I’ve been properly hooked since. So thanks Franny!
What is your favorite moment as a Southampton supporter?
EP: Tough one. A tie between Kelvin Davis vs Leeds - that’s when I knew we were going up, and Pelle scoring in the Europa League - it didn’t last but at the time it felt like we’d made it!
Did you get to meet any players or staff? What other experiences or encounters did you have while filming?
EP: Mo Gimpel, former physio and now head of sports science came with us to Baltimore. He’s a great guy who has done loads for Saints behind the scenes. He’s been with the club through everything and has loads of stories to tell - I had to promise not to share some of them about former club employees! It was very interesting to talk to him about all things Saints. One tidbit I found quite interesting was that one of the reasons that we signed Charlie Austin was to replace Kelvin Davis - not necessarily for his skills as a goalkeeper but as a big personality in the dressing room. I saw that when we filmed the reveal with him, Jay-Rod and Romeu. He seemed like a great guy (as I know Super-Kelv was!) and I’m sure he can back it up this season with the goals on the pitch.
What do you think of Baltimore as a location for a future Saints academy?
EP: Baltimore has links with Southampton as two coastal towns. It’s a great city - the waterfront is amazing, we had a great time. One thing I noticed was how big a presence Under Armour has there. The company was started in Maryland and they retain those community links. They are constantly looking at building the community and forging links with the people there. It clearly worked - people had Under Armour gear wherever you looked! They were clearly very proud of having the company there. Hopefully we can get the people of Baltimore onside with Saints too!
What do you think of the kit?
EP: I really like it! It’s not a template, it’s not just plain stripes - they’ve clearly put some thought into it. I’m a big fan of the away kit too.
Overall, how was the experience?
EP: It got me really pumped for the new season! It was great, they really looked after us and everyone from the club, I got some nice Under Armour swag as well. It was a really interesting experience. Attending the kit launch was great too - they got us all in this big room, started playing Oh When the Saints and dropped a curtain to reveal all the new kits. Was very exciting!
Were you impressed with what you saw of the Under Armour HQ?
EP: They are clearly very proud of it. It’s an old reclaimed soap factory - part of their desire to renovate older parts of the city. It’s hard not to go there and not get caught up in their enthusiasm for Under Armour and just generally sport and fitness! They had an awesome gym that they gave us a class in - that part was harder work than I like to admit! They also showed us part of their design room - they had loads of photos of just all around Southampton and the Stadium to give them inspiration for the kit. It was very impressive.
Did the trip live up to your expectations?
EP: I was kept very busy - it definitely wasn’t a holiday! In between getting the kit, filming for the advert, being shown around Under Armour and parts of the city it was quite tiring!
What is your favorite Saints kit ever?
EP: The 125 year anniversary sash. Love it. This one is good too though ;)
I think I speak for many when I say how jealous I am of Ed and his trip. Overall, this was a massively successful kit reveal for Southampton, and especially another win for the media department. The kit is fantastic, and we would like to thank Ed for his time!