Historical Football Kits

 

The Definitive English and Scottish Football Kit Archive

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Latest News & Updates

10 December - Villa's Piebald Shirts: A Mystery Solved?

On 29 November I wrote about the enigmatic "piebald" shirts worn by Aston Villa around 1886. While Bernard Gallagher was the first to mention these to me in 2009, other Villa experts have also found references to them over time. When I looked into this more closely, the term seems to have been first used in Triumphs of the Football Field Narrated by Archie Hunter" first published in 1890. This volume was reprinted in 1997 so I bought a copy and found the relevant passage on page 154.

"I may also mention that this year (1887) the leopards changed their spots - or rather, the Villa changed their colours, which is, perhaps, simpler. In November we decided to put aside the piebald uniform, which was inartistic and never popular and we donned in its place the light blue and cardinal vertically striped jerseys which afterwards became so well known (emphasis added).

archie hunter aston villa fc 1887The significance of this passage is that there is no mention of the old shirts being red and white. As I pointed out last month "piebald" means black and white and we know that the team wore stripes in these colours from at least May 1886. Furthermore I have been harbouring doubts that the looms in use at the time were capable of producing fabric with random blotches of colour, an impression confirmed by a recent visit to the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry. Indeed we now know that looms capable of producing fabric with vertical stripes were a recent invention. My conclusion therefore is that the piebald tops were in fact the black and white striped shirts first reported in The Athletic News of May 1886.

Hunter's book is, by the way, well worth seeking out. First published in The Birmingham Weekly Mercury in 1890, it is in the form of a series of extended interviews which makes for a discursive style full of the sort of conversational flourishes you might expect from a pair of Victorian chaps relaxing over brandy and cigars. Hence, I suppose, Hunter using the word "piebald" rather than the more pedestrian "black and white stripes."

Archie Hunter was a skillful dribbler and prolific scorer who joined Villa in 1878 by accident. A commanding skipper. He was forced to retire after suffering a heart attack in a vampires fc 1893match against Everton in 1890. He died four years later at the age of 35.

Eminent Victorians Southern Section: Dulwich Hamlet, Crouch End, Vampires (photograph left - note the fab badge).

Eminent Victorians Midlands Section: Kettering.

6 December - More Victoriana

loughborough fc 1892-93I've added three graphics to the Loughborough section (1892-93, 1894-95). This is the team from 1892-93 wearing very oddly cut striped shirts.

During the 20 years that the original Barnet FC existed (1881-1901) at least four different versions of their violet and black halved shirts were worn simultaneously. I've added a new variant while the others can be seen on the team photograph on the Barnet page.

Eminent Victorians Southern Section: London Caledonians, Chiswick Park, City Ramblers, Clapton, Croydon Common (corrected), Eastbourne.

eastbourne fc 1892The team on the right is Eastbourne FC pictured in February 1892, offering us an object lesson in how deceptive images taken with the orthographic film plates commonly in use at the time can be. To the modern eye, the halved shirts could be made up of red, blue or green panels on the (player's) left combined with black or dark blue on the right. In fact the team played in yellow and dark blue and do so, as Eastbourne Town, to this day.

Eminent Victorians Midlands Section: Leicester YMCA, St Neots.

Photographs courtesy of Leicester University and The Straw Plaiters.

4 December - Victorian Miscellany

spurs v newton heath jan 1899Tony Sealey has confirmed that Tottenham Hotspur adopted navy and white striped change shirts in 1899-1900 three years earlier than previously thought. They are shown here in their amber and chocolate change shirts against Newton Heath in the FA Cup, January 1899.

We have yet another Aston Villa kit to add to their colourful Victorian collection, (April 1884-1885). Watford Rovers (1894-98 added. I've also updated the early history of the club using burton wanderers 1895-96recent research by Brian Webb. Brian has also found evidence that Preston North End adopted striped shirts in 1885-86, neatly filling in a gap in the record. Burton Wanderers (1893-94, 1894-95,1895-96 added). On the derby county 1893-94right is the 1895-96 team. Derby County (1891-94 collar corrected). The photograph on the left is of the Rams 1893-94 team in the cardinal red and white shirts worn at the time. Leicester Fosse 1897-98 added.

(Team photographs courtesy of Leicester University.)

I've made some additions to the Eminent Victorians section drawing on the collection of Victorian team photographs on Brian Webb's The Straw Plaiters site: Apsley, Bedford, Berkhamsted.

Correction

I'm grateful to @BushmanQPR who has confirmed from contemporary sources that the QPR change kit featured in recent post was in fact red and white.

2 December

qpr 1925-26Once again the HFK Elves have proved their worth, in this case by solving the mystery of the Queen's Park Rangers kit shown here and confirming exactly when the club switched from green and white to blue and white hoops into the bargain. Within hours of these questions being posted Richard Essen emailed me with two press cuttings. The first, from the Daily Herald (7 June 1926) reported that the Football League had granted the club permission to change their colours for the following season, 1926-27. The Norwood News (3 September 1926) reported that Rangers wore dark blue jerseys and white knickers at Crystal Palace the previous Saturday. Since there was no colour clash with the home team we can only assume that their new blue and white shirts had not yet arrived. In any event we can now be sure that the mystery birmingham 1924-25strip was indeed their change kit.

Torquay United (1963-64 added, 1968-69 sock trim added), Manchester United (2019-20 European kit added), Birmingham (1914-15, 1924-25 added - photo right), Bradford City (1983-84 alternative sponsor added).

29 November

aston villa v accrington january 1886One of the most tantalising and enigmatic kits of the Victorian period was worn by Aston Villa between 1884 and 1886. Discovered by Bernard Gallagher, the shirts were described as being a white and red piebald pattern. The term "piebald" describes the irregular patches of colour against a white background often found in horses but also in dogs, cats and even snakes. (Technically piebald means black on white while skewbald is the correct term for patches in other colours.) Recently Lee Gauntlett came across this cutting from January 1886 which describes Villa playing against Accrington in "coral and maroon" shirts. If, as I believe, Villa still had their red and white tops at this time they would have needed to change to avoid a clash with their visitors' colours so I think this may be the earliest reference to Aston Villa wearing a change kit.

Queen's Park Rangers Update

I'm grateful to Michael Gluck for providing details of three missing QPR kits from 1980-82. This was during the period when Adidas were supplying their kit but could not settle on a standard design so every season the placement and width spurs v qpr 1902-03of the hoops changed.

Although we associate QPR with hooped shirts (which were originally green and white) there were two seasons at the beginning of the 20th century when they played in vertical stripes. The photograph on the left shows them playing at Tottenham Hotspur in 1902-03 and if you look closely you can make out their unusual striped collars.

qpr 1925-26The photograph on the right was taken in 1925-26 and my first reaction was that the players are wearing their change strip. There is, however, a gap in the record for this season which is very frustrating. The previous season Rangers had worn green and white hoops and in the following season they appeared in blue and white. Can anyone confirm what the team wore in this missing season? Was this in fact their first choice and if so, what colour are the shirts?

28 November

I apologise for the lack of activity over the last fortnight. A technical issue prevented me from accessing our server and I was unable to post any updates onto the website. This problem has now been resolved and normal service can be resumed.

I've posted the three new Adidas strips launched in the final round of Euro 2020 qualifiers for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. I have to say that the first two are very disappointing but the Welsh outfit is well tidy.

3retro black fridayOur retail partner 3Retro is offering a 20% discount on all purchases on Black Friday (29 November). This will be deducted automatically at the checkout. 3Retro have recently added several new replica shirts to their range that including Arsenal, Aberdeen, Brighton, Burnley and Crystal Palace, which I have now tagged. You can view their entire rnge by clicking on the link on the left or use the deep links throught this website to see specific items.

14 November - Scottish Questions

aberdeen fc march 1964Recently I was sent a couple of photographs that I was was not able to place in the club timelines. The first is of the Aberdeen team in an unrecorded strip sometime in the mid 1960s. I've now established this was worn at Motherwell in March 1964.

caley thistle unknown shirtMore problematic is this photograph of a Caledonian Thistle shirt recently published on the club's Facebook page. It is almost identical to the 1995-96 shirt supplied by Le Coq Sportif but it is branded with the Matchwinner logo (Matchwinner made their 1994-95 kit) and has a different shirt sponsor. Xerox is listed as a sponsor in 1996 on the club's Wikipedia page but no source is offered. I have not been able to find any evidence to suggest this top was ever worn by the team in competitive matches so would welcome any information that might resolve this mystery.

5 November 2019-20 Update

Premier League: Norwich City (charity kit added), Brighton & Hove Albion (1st missing trim added), Tottenham Hotspur (3rd colour adjusted), Aston Villa (3rd detailing confirmed).

4 November - Santos Shorts Madness

santos alternative shorts 1996We have become used to teams wearing alternative shorts and socks with their regular tops because of the inconsistently applied regulations on colour clashes but when similar rules were introduced in Brazil in 1996, Santos came up with a novel solution. By tradition, the team play in all-white with a change strip of black and white striped shirts teamed with black shorts. Wearing their alternative black shorts with their iconic white tops, however, would be unthinkable as these are the colours of their arch-rivals, Corinthians. To get round the problem the club commissioned three spectacularly novel sets of shorts all of which appeared in matches.

Over the following seasons, the team would wear their change strip rather than disfigure their traditional appearance in much the same way that Liverpool refuse to change any elements of their all-red strip.

santos v flamengo 2019In September of this year, for the first time in 23 years, they took to the field against Flamengo wearing white shirts and black shorts. To avoid the comparision with Corinthians, black socks were worn.

My thanks to regular contributor Gabriel Vogas for this material. You can read more (in Brazilian Portuguese) and see photographs of the 1996 bobby-dazzlers on Gabriel's blog, Uniformes Cultura FC.

30 October - Scottish Club Updates

Rangers (2012-14 1st, 2nd, 3rd detailing tweaked), Brechin City (2013-14 shorts & sock trim corrected), Forfar Athletic (2012-14 shirt trim added), Airdrieonians (August 2013 added), East Fife (2013-14 missing shorts trim added), Dundee (2013-14 cuffs removed), Stranraer (2012-13, 2013-14 trim adjusted), Peterhead (2012-13 missing trim added), Falkirk (2012-13 crest corrected), East Stirlingshire (2012-13 socks corrected), Inverness Caledonian Thistle (2012-13 shirt trim added), Clyde (2012-13 3rd added).

24 October - 2019-20 Update

Championship: Fulham (3rd), Leeds United (3rd, special).

League One: Bolton Wanderers (2nd).

Scottish Premiership: Ross County (special).

21 October - Scottish Club Updates

Rangers (2011-12 1st, 2014-15 3rd detailing added), Aberdeen (2011-12 missing shirt trim added), Dunfermline Athletic (2011-12 Puma logos recoloured), St Johnstone (2011-12 detailing corrected), Motherwell (2011-12 shirt trim corrected, 2014-15 detailing updated), St Mirren (socks corrected), Kilmarnock (2011-12 detailing amended), Falkirk (2014-15 trim amended), Livingston (2014-15 shorts trim adjusted), Queen's Park (2014-15 shorts trim adjusted), Greenock Morton (1989-91, 1993-95 detailing added to shorts).

18 October - More Historical Miscellany

luton town 1973-74Our old chum Tony Sealey has solved a long-standing riddle concerning Luton Town. When the club adopted orange shirts in 1973, it was unclear whether the trim on the shirt was black or navy. Photographs at the time suggested black but Tony has found a match programme from 1973-74 that confirms once and for all that it was navy blue. The shirts had appeared in February 1973 as a new change kit at Newcastle United and these were indeed trimmed with black and white. The club crest appeared in the pre-season team photograph and in some early games as shown here before it was dropped.

Accrington Stanley (1982-84 added), Barnet (1983-84 sponsorship corrected), Forest Green Rovers (1983-84 added), Macclesfield Town (1982-83, 1983-84 added), Wycombe Wanderers (1982-83 sock trim added).

16 October - Historical Miscellany

clapton orient 1945-46 shirtsFor many years I had thought that when Clapton Orient changed their name to Leyton Orient in 1946 they adopted shirts with blue chevrons, a reference to an older style in the new club colours. This was informed by the photograph on the left taken before the 1947-48 season. Now our old friend Alick Milne has uncovered this report in the Nottingham Evening News (10 April 1945). Clapton Orient have obtained permission from the League to revert to their former colours of white shirts with red V's, which they wore in their Second Division days. For many years they have been wearing red and white hooped shirts. Orient players will appear in the new shirts as soon as they are procurable. This may be before the end of the season. This suggests that the shirts in the photograph, which are showing their age, are from 1945-46 and were retained for training.

(Photograph: Leyton Orient Images of Sport NN Kaufmann 2001.)

maidstone utd 1922-23Alick has also supplied details of three missing Cove Rangers strips (1975-76, 1985-86, 1987-90).

Maidstone United (1962-63 added, 1970-72 crest added, 1985-86 sponsorship confirmed). On the right is the Stones' team from 1922-23.

15 October - 2019-20 Update

International: The strip worn by England last night in Bulgaria has been added.

League One: Coventry City (3rd), Accrington Stanley (3rd).

Historical Miscellany

Tottenham Hotspur (1986-88 2nd colours adjusted), Leicester City (August 1965 added), Motherwell (1983-84 added and all graphics 1978-2013 have been reviewed to add missing detailing and correct main colour).

11 October - 2019-20 Update

Premier League: Wolverhampton Wanderers (European 2nd).

Championship: Birmingham City (3rd), Brentford (special).

League One: Lincoln City (3rd), Bolton Wanderers (1st).

4 October - Scottish Updates

scotland line up 1960sAs soon as I published this mystery photograph of the Scotland team, the HFK Elves rushed into action. It turns out to be the team due to play England at Hampden Park in February 1968. (Alan Gilzean, who is in the photograph, was replaced by John Hughes for the match itself.) The photo was taken a few days earlier at a training ground with the players kitted out in plain shirts just for the occasion. They may have been unused tops held over from 1966. My thanks to Alick Milne, John Reid and Greger Lindberg.

aberdeen v falkirk october 1938alexander sharp falkirk fc 1936-38This image from the Aberdeen Press & Journal (22 10 38) is the first photographic corroboration I've seen of Falkirk wearing navy shirts with red sleeves and places this strip a season earlier than previously thought, which means a slight reshuffle of dates. In the process i had another look at this picture of Alexander Sharp who played for the Bairns between 1937 and 1938. As well as showing the unofficial town crest, there is an odd contrast at the collar and the socks are also visibly darker than the shirt. If we assume that our old friend, orthographic film stock was used, then we can resolve the colours as navy with red placquet and socks.

(Photographs: Aberdeen Press & Journal, Football Cartophilic Info Exchange.)

Annan Athletic (circa 1946*, 1952-53), Aberdeen (1936-37, 1937-38, 1938-39 shirts revised), Inverness Thistle (1920-21 added),

brechin city fc 1907-08*Date to be confirmed

I have substantially revised the Brechin City section (1906-1905) with new material supplied by Alick Milne. On the right is a very rare team photograph from 1907-08 that helps resolve one outstanding issue. City's early colours were registered with the Scottish FA as "light blue" but, as we can see from the image, this is misleading. In fact "light blue" was often used in Scotland to distinguish sides that wore mid- or royal blue such as Rangers (and Brechin) from the far greater number of yeams that wore dark, navy blue, which was referred to simply as "blue."

(Photograph: Alex Wood Brechin City: the Early Years.)

1 October - International Update

norway 1991 womwns world cup

1938 World Cup: Germany (collar revised).

1954 World Cup: Yugoslavia wore red socks against France.

1978 World Cup: Brazil (socks worn with blue change shirt corrected).

1991 Women's World Cup Group A: Norway (socks corrected and detailing amended). Kits now confirmed for Norway v Denmark match.

1991 Women's World Cup Group B: Brazil wore blue socks against Japan.

1995 Women's World Cup: Brazil (detailing and jacqaurd print corrected).

scotland line up 1960sThis photograph of the Scotland team was sent in by Bill Wilson and presents us with a bit of a problem. As far as I know the team only wore plain navy shirts without contrasting crew necks once in the 1960s, against Wales in 1966. However, the goalkeeper in this line-up is Ronnie Simpson who did not make his debut until the match with England in April 1967. In fact Bill has not been able to identify any match in which this group of players were selected. Help please.

(Photograph Norway 1991: FIFA.com)

30 September - 2019-20 Update

Premier League: Aston Villa (3rd updated), Wolverhampton Wanderers (special).

Championship: Millwall (3rd).

League One: Bristol Rovers (3rd).

League Two: Exeter City (3rd), Leyton Orient (3rd).

Scottish League One: Stranraer (3rd).

13 September - 2019-20 Update

Championship: Swansea City (3rd).

League One: Shrewsbury Town (3rd).

League Two: Scunthorpe United (3rd).

barnet 1945-46Immediately after the Second World War several clubs were unable to source playing kit in their traditional colours so played in unfamilar strips. A good example is Barnet, pictured here in 1945-46. They reverted to broad amber and black hoops, worn since 1928, the following season. This style was eventually dropped in 1958 and has yet to be revived.

I've reviewed Torquay United's strip 1986-2001 and made several colour corrections and detailing changes.

12 September - Historical Miscellany

Some odds and ends from my Pending Folder.

aston villa 1956-57This is Aston Villa in 1956-57, the season they finally dropped the heavy woollen sweaters they had worn since the Victorian era.

Arsenal (1962-63 added): Bristol City (1954-55 collar corrected): Everton (1932-32 socks corrected): Gillingham (1969-71 shorts updated).

Brechin City (1989-90, 1997-99 colour corrections): Forfar Athletic (1977-80 detailing corrected): Greenock Morton (1968-69 crest amended).

11 September

jd cymru premier logoAs the first stage in the restructuring of the Welsh pyramid, the Welsh Premier League has been rebranded as the Cymru Premier and the 2019-20 section is now available.

Stoke - The Early Years

Following on from my recent review of Stoke City's kits 1968-83, I've received some fascinating material from Jonathon Russell. His research into newspaper charterhouse first XI 1872reports between 1868 and 1872 casts doubt on the official version of the club's formation, provides additional information on the connection with Charterhouse School and raises some interesting questions about the link between Stoke Ramblers and Stoke FC which I have now explored on the club page.

The most intriguing find is this photograph of members of the 1872 Charterhouse football team wearing crimson and blue jerseys. It is thought that Stoke Ramblers wore the same colours when they were founded in 1868 by Henry Almond, an Old Carthusian who had played for the Charterhouse First XI in his final year at the public school, 1867-68. In the absence of any other evidence, I think this raises the possibility that Almond provided a set of old school tops for the club he founded before he went off to build railways in Costa Rica and Venezuela.

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