Canaries to get designer plumage

It may be the only promotion they get for a few years, but at least Norwich City players can relax in the knowledge that they have been elevated to the Premier League of haute couture.

For the Canaries' trademark green and yellow strip has been redesigned by none other than Bruce Oldfield, who has come up with a new, "clutter- free" look for next season.

"It was a question of toning the strip down, taking away rather than adding things," said Oldfield at the strip's launch in London yesterday. "It really is stream-lined. Everything is smaller. The shirts are smaller, the arms are smaller. They just looked like a sack of potatoes before."

The strip, which includes the logo of the First Division club's new sponsor, Colman's, was modelled by the players, including Darren Eadie, who learnt on Friday that he had been called up to the England squad.

The players did their best to look stylish as they kicked about a football on the catwalk, but it was Sarah Thomas, the 17-year-old supermodel, who showed them how it was done. Ms Thomas, who has taken over from Helena Christensen in the latest Cover Girl cosmetics campaign, agreed to fly back from Australia to model the designer creation in exchange for two season tickets for herself and her father, Peter.

Ms Thomas, a longstanding Canaries fan, believes that Oldfield's strip could catch on. "People will want these as a fashion statement," she said. Asked if she thought the colour combination would be in vogue this season, she replied optimistically: "You never know."

Anyone who wants to acquire an Oldfield label for their wardrobe can buy the new shirt in August, when it goes on general sale.

The designer kit came about after Delia Smith, the television chef who became director of Norwich City last year, approached Oldfield.

At the end of last season morale at the club was "terrible", she said. But now, she added, "We've got the right ingredients". She added: "Today is an important day in the history of Norwich City. We have a fabulous new strip and a new sponsor in Colman's, a company with a special link with the city of Norwich and one of the classic English food brands."

Oldfield, whose celebrity clients include Melanie Griffith, Charlotte Rampling, Joanna Lumley, Jerry Hall and Jemima Khan, is bracing himself for the sight of his mud-stained creations after a match. "I was a bit worried about that," he admitted.

Asked if he was a Norwich City fan, Oldfield joked: "I am now. I was a Middlesborough fan, but after Saturday ..."

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