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Latest News & Updates

24 November

exeter city fc 1904-05I was recently contacted by Paul Farley, a Director of Exeter City FC, on behalf of The Grecian Archive. This comprehensive site, set up by Exeter University and the Exeter City FC History Group, contains an enormous collection of memorabilia, photohgraphs, programmes etc and brings together material from various personal collections, the Supporters' Trust and club archives. Thanks to the large library of team photographs I have been able to complete a comprehensive update of the Exeter City section with many gaps now filled. The featured photograph is of the first Grecians team from 1904-05, when the team wore green and white.

23 November

hamilton academical je suis paris kit 2015Hamilton Academical wore the French national team's change strip at Aberdeen over the weekend as a tribute to the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, a fine gesture that has been greeted by widespread approval. The shirts are now on their way to French Ligue 1 clubs to be auctioned off in support of their favoured charities.

Hartlepool United's latest FA Cup strip has been added.

Scotland's new kits have also been added.

20 November

Let me introduce you to what will be known to posterity as Moor's Law. This states that when two possibilities are equally likely, the one I choose will be wrong. It goes on to state that if, being aware of this, I change my mind and choose the other possibility, my first choice will have been the correct one. And so on.

yugoslavia v france 1954 world cupTo illustrate, when Yugoslavia met France in the 1954 World Cup, one team had to change. I assumed, in the absence of any other evidence, it was France.


This colourised photograph, submitted by José Luis press cutting yugoslavia v france 1954 world cupCarbonell suggests that the Yugoslav team switched to red shirts. Now I don't normally trust colourised images but José thoughtfully submitted several contemporary press reports which, once translated by our resident elves, corroborate the image.

Incidentally, this cutting from a French newspaper complains that the teams were impossible to tell apart on the primitive TVs of the time and suggests that in future, when both stoke city 1968 team groupteams wear white shorts one should change into black ones, following the example set in the United States. FIFA eventually heeded stoke city enamel kiln badge 1968this advice in 1962 and has since taken this idea to ludicrous limits with its insistence on high levels of contrast.

Almost a year ago I published this photograph of the Stoke City team in December 1968 wearing what was described as a "kiln badge" designed by David Herd. Details of this crest appeared to have been lost but now Keith MacKenzie-Ingle has submitted this enamel badge from the period from which I have been able to reconstruct the original.

18 November

arsenal 1959-60 team groupNew kits: Northern Ireland (change), Brighton & Hove Albion (special), York City (3rd).

Thanks to Dick Waite I have been able to revise the Arsenal section 1957-60 and add some unrecorded change kits for the same period. This is the 1959-60 squad.

george best at bournemouth 1983Late in the 1982-83 season George Best joined AFC Bournemouth at the age of 37. Rutger Karssing spotted that the crest worn at the time was missing from HFK, an omission now put right.

Southampton (1965-66 warm weather kit added): Leeds United (2014-15 3rd kit revised): Huddersfield Town (1989-91 manufacturer corrected).

14 November

paris 13 November 2015


Liberté, égalité, fraternité



13 November

port glasgow athletic 1909 team groupThis is a rare colourised photograph of Port Glasgow Athletic from 1909 discovered by Brian McColl. Sources differ about the colour of the team's knickers but the most convincing evidence, derived from SFA and SFL records, gives them as white and navy so I believe the colours added to this image are incorrect. Incidentally, the HFK family was once based on Port Glasgow a few hundred metres from Devol Farm, where the team, then known as Broadfield, played in their first ever season.

Tottenham Hotspur (2006-07 European kit added).

11 November - International Updates

Wales wore red and blue "quartered" shirts against England in 1894 and Scotland in 1895. Their new change kit has been added.

Republic of Ireland kit v Northern Ireland in 1978 tweaked.

1982 World Cup: Honduras wore a variant of their usual Adidas shirts against Yugoslavia.

Historical Club Updates

western daily press 22 sept 1902An important find by Daniel Gellatly in the Western Daily Press (22 Sept 1902) reveals that Manchester United wore green and white when they visited Bristol City at the start of the 1902-03 season. I think it likely that these were old Newton Heath tops drafted in before their new blue and white alternative shirts arrived.

Clyde (1978-79 centenary kit added).

10 November

Latest third kits: Brentford, Dunfermline Athletic.

Euro 16: The first new strips for next year's bloated European Championship are being released, including new outfits for Northern Ireland and Wales. HFK will be launching our new Euro 16 section after the draw for the finals is made next month.

30 October - To the people of Birmingham and Wolverhampton, an apology

wolves v birmingham november 1905I've been taken to task by Alan Watton for describing Birmingham and Wolverhampton Wanderers as "Black Country Rivals" (see item 26 August). Alan writes, " Birmingham is not part of the Black Country and never has been. This error is a grave insult to both parties and animosity felt between Birmingham and its "Yam Yam" neighbours was even more intense in the period of your photo."

I apologise unreservedly to the good citizens of both cities. The unfortunate intern responsible for this slur is undergoing a period of intensive retraining following which he will deliver personal apologies to every household affected. And I leave you with this:

Brummie walks into a tailors shop...

"Alroit mate, I'd like a 70s suit please."

The tailor says, "Certainly sir and would you like a kipper tie?"

"Thanks mate, two sugars please."

28 October - More Third Kits

Millwall, Crawley Town, Cambridge United, Tottenham Hotspur (Europa liverpool v arsenal august 1967League kit).

We have more on the gold and black kit (left) worn by Liverpool at Arsenal in August 1967 (see 15 October entry). The Reds lost the match 2-0 with Tony Hateley scoring an own goal. According to Graham Brack, Liverpool's legendary manager, Bill Shankly, blamed the novel gold shirts for the team's bad luck and had them burned. It would be 11 years before they would be seen in yellow once again.

International Updates

Euro 84: Romania's yellow strip was trimmed in blue brazil v poland 1938 world cupand not red/yellow/blue.

World Cup 1934: Czechoslovakia probably wore dark red shorts rather than black against Romania.

World Cup 1938: Brazil's training shirts worn against Poland had short sleeves (right).



26 October - New Third Kits

Hull City, Carlisle United.

22 October

After reading the items on Stoke City's candy stripe shirt, historian Tony Sealey looked out the programme for the Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City match mentioned yesterday and found this:

Stoke expect to play in their new and somewhat unfamiliar light-weight strip this evening. This consists of a predominantly red shirt with a thin white stripe, which retains the clubs traditional colours yet makes marked contrast with the wider stoke city v man city 12 11 66red and white stripes identified with Stoke teams for so many years. The old strip has not been discarded. In cold weather of mid-winter the thicker and more familiar looking broad striped shirt is likely to be introduced.

Tony confirms that the novel tops were worn in the return match a week later. I have found two photographs that man city v stoke 12 4 1967appear to confirm this story: above left Stoke are playing Manchester City on 12 November 1966 in their normal strips while in the return, played at Maine Road on 12 April 1967, the Potters are in their alternative tops.

stoke fc 1877-78Tony goes on to tell us that the shirt illustrated on 15October was sent to a young fan by Stoke's manager, Tony Waddington. It had no number on the reverse so was not match worn.

Before I leave this topic, I thought you would enjoy a look at this Stoke team photograph from 1877-78, when the team wore light blue and black hoops of varying widths.

International Updates

jason mcateer ireland april 1997This is Jason McAteer of the Republic of Ireland failing to understand why the referee has invited him to leave the pitch against Macedonia in April 1997. The answer to this puzzle is here. (Warning - contains gratuitous kung fu.)

Scotland 1882 crest confirmed.

World Cup 1934: Switzerland (collar corrected).

World Cup 1938: Hungary and the Dutch East Indies wore long, not short sleeved shirts as shown previously, while Germany's team wore short sleeves.

Euro 1980: Spain (collars corrected).

World Cup 1982: Czechoslovakia wore pinstriped shirts against France.

World Cup 1994: Greece (collar detailing added), Argentina (crest and shorts modified), Norway (shorts detailing modified).

World Cup 2010: Switzerland (1st kit collar corrected), Paraguay (detailing added to socks).

21 October

The first game that David Cohen attended at the tender age of ten was Tottenham Hotspur against Stoke City in August 1966 and he vividly remembers the visitors wore the candy striped shirts featured below. This suggests I was wrong to identify this as a cold weather shirt and a bit of further digging turned up the same tops being worn at Manchester City later in the season so I now believe this was used when Stoke visited teams wearing pale shirts.

New Third Strips

Mansfield Town, Rochdale, Newport County.

Historical Updates

St Johnstone, Ross County, Dundee, Motherwell, (2001-02 detailing modified): Airdrie (March-August 2013 added): Chelsea (several first kit graphics 1945-46, 1959-68, 1984-86 tweaked; 1945-46 change added): Bristol Rovers (2005-06 modified).

15 October

stoke city 1966-67n alternative shirtI'm grateful to long-time contributor, William Kay, who found several images of Stoke City's cold weather kit from 1966-67, which substituted fashionable candy stripes for the traditional style. Willie has also alerted me to the fact that Airdrieonians have finally taken delivery of their new Macron strips.

wolces 1921 fa cuop final shirtThis is the shirt worn by Tancy Lea for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 1921 FA Cup final, sold at Sotheby's in May for £6700. These were made specially for the final but became plastered in mud because of the state of the pitch so the Wolves team changed for the second half into their regular shirts, which had broader stripes and no crest. (Submitted by Tony Sealey.)

liverpool v anderlecht  november 1964This grainy photograph is from November 1964 and shows Liverpool in action against Anderlecht. This was the first time that Liverpool turned out in all-red. It was Bill Shankly's idea to wear red shorts rather than their usual white ones and according to Ian St John's autobiography, he (St John) suggested adding all-red socks as well. In fact these were not adopted until March 1965. Liverpool won the FA Cup two months later in all-red and have never looked back. Read the full story here in the Liverpool Echo. (Submitted by Tony Sealey.)

Still with Liverpool, the team wore an unfamiliar yellow and black strip at Highbury in August 1967.

Simon Knifton has confirmed that the white strip worn by Wimbledon (the original club) in 1976-77 was used only in cup games. They wore the all-yellow kit trimmed with blue adopted in 1975 in the Southern League. Of course, when they were elected to the Football League in 1977, they wore all-white in their inaugural season.

13 October

andrew gara ireland shirt 1902Our good friend Tim Ashmore has been working at the National Football Museum over the last 12 months and has ireland team 1914uncovered this shirt worn by Andrew Gara who played for Ireland in the 1902 Home Championship. (Photograph courtesy of The National Football Museum.) The significant point here is that this confirms that the shade of "St Patrick's Blue" worn by the Irish team was a deep shade and not the pale blue I previously believed. This misinterpretation was due once again to the peculiarities of the orthographic film stock widely used at the time. This photograph (right) from 1914, illustrates how early Irish teams appear when photographed with film that was insensitive to blue light.

cardiff city v arsenal fa cup final 1927

You can also see the effect quite clearly on this photograph of the 1927 FA Cup final, in which Hughie Ferguson's Cardiff City shirt appears cardiff city 1927 fa cup final shirt len daviesto be a good deal lighter than those of Arsenal. In fact they were a standard royal blue as can be seen in this photograph of Len Davies' shirt from the same match, which was sold at Sotheby's in May.

(Photographs courtesy of WalesOnline.)

9 October - Latest Commemorative & Special Kits Added

Premier League: Southampton, Liverpool.

Championship: Huddersfield Town, Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield Wednesday (3rd).

SPFL Premier League: Celtic, Dundee.

MLS: Seattle Sounders (3rd kit new sponsor).

Ciaran McNulty has produced a video to illustrate the changing look of Liverpool derbies using HFK graphics which might amuse you. View it here on YouTube.

23 September - More Historical Scottish Updates

Ian McConnel has been through his collection of SPL programmes and provided information that allows me to correct some fine details on graphics from the 2001-02 season: Dundee United, Dunfermline Athletic, Heart of Midlothian, Aberdeen, Rangers (change).

22 September

I was very pleased to hear from Alick Milne once again. Alick made a major contribution to the Scottish club section when this was under construction. He has now resumed his research in the Scottish National Library and has shared his latest findings with us.

Stranraer (1985-87, 1987-88), Brechin City (1985-88), Ayr United (1987-88), Dumbarton (1985-86, 1986-87), Meadowbank Thistle (1985-86, 1986-87) have all been revised to the Umbro Roma design from 1985.

Annan Athletic (1970-72 added and the missing kits between 1998 and 2004 has now been documented): Gretna (2000-01, 2001-02 added; 1998-99, 2002-03, 2003-04 amended).

21 September - 2015-16 Update

Premier League: Manchester City (3rd added).

Championship: Ipswich Town (3rd revised), Cardiff City (3rd added), Nottingham Forest (shirt sponsor added), Derby County (3rd added).

League One: Colchester United (3rd added).

League Two: Stevenage (1st socks updated), Northampton Town (3rd updated).

SPFL Premier League: Heart of Midlothian (3rd added).

11 September

burton swifts silk c1888I normally do not set much store by old cigarette cards (or burton swifts accounts 1888-89"silks" as they were known in the Victorian period) but this image of Burton Swifts' colours is corroborated by the document on the right, published in 1888-89. This provides the first evidence of what the team (perversely known as "The Swallows") wore before they were elected to the Football League in 1892. Both items can be found on the greyhoundderby.com website.

forest fc october 1863Going even further back in time, I recently came across this rare image of Forest FC (later The Wanderers) from October 1863, which makes this one of the earliest ever team photographs. There were no kits as we understand the term at this time: most games were organised within the club and players wore whatever they had to hand. Most of the gentlemen players here are wearing what appear to be cricket whites which is hardly surprising as they would certainly have played the summer game, organising the football team to keep fit and socialise during the close season. Three of the players, however, are wearing shirts with very narrow vertical stripes: these are associated with Harrow School where several of the founders, including the Alcock brothers, finished their education.

1 September - Hull City 1904-05

hull city 1904-05 white shirtsOnce again I'm pleased to present some more clever detective work, this time by Nicholas Turner. It has long been believed that Hull City started out wearing white shirts, an assertion based on two contemporary team photographs. Nicholas has proved that one of these is from a benefit game that did not involve the Tigers at all and established that the second image, shown on the left was taken before a match with Bradford City. A press report hull city 1904-05 team groupconfirms that "City turned out in white shirts the Bradford shirts being very similar in (sic) those of the home team."

In fact, the Hull Daily Mail, announcing the formation of the team (24 August 1904) reported, "The Hull City team, we are informed, have decided to play in amber and black vertically striped shirts." A team photograph (right) taken before their first ever game against Notts County is not terribly hull city v notts county 1904helpful but a wonderful clip from the British Film Institute shows clearly that the Citizens (as they were then known) did indeed wear stripes. We should not be surprised that the team photograph fails to reveal this detail given what we now know about some of the film stock in use at the time (see item on Wolves 26 August below).

You can read the full article on the Hull City Kits website.

More Historical Updates

A rare team 1896-97 photograph of Liverpool published on the Unofficial Liverpool FC Museum's Facebook page shows the team wearing black knickers but press reports on their first match of that season state they wore white "pants." The kit looks pristine in the photograph so presumably it was taken pre-season and the knickers subsequently changed from black to white.

Newcastle United (1930-31 socks confirmed): Northampton Town (1991-92 crest modified, 1997-98 centenary crest added): Sheffield Wednesday (1977-84 detailing updated).

28 August - 2015-16 Update

Premier League: Manchester United (3rd).

Championship: Blackburn Rovers (2nd shirt sponsorship updated), Brighton & Hove Albion (1st 2nd 3rd detailing corrected).

League Two: Exeter City (2nd socks updated), Yeovil Town (1st socks updated).

SPFL Championship: St Mirren (2nd). This completes the SPFL section.

27 August - Luton Town Early Years

luton town 1892Anyone with an interest in Luton Town will enjoy Brian Webb's The Straw Plaiters website. Brian has done extensive research into the club minute books and local press reports covering the period from their formation in 1885 through to 1894 and the results make absorbing reading. In particular Brian has uncovered very detailed evidence of Luton's earliest colours. His latest post is an interesting discussion of the possible meaning behind the unusual eight-pointed star worn on the team's shirts between 1892 and 1896 (left).

With information provided by Matthew Reynolds I have also updated Luton's recent crest history.

26 August - Wolves in White

wolves v birmingham november 1905Some time ago Stuart Davies sent me this rare action photograph of Wolves playing Birmingham on November 18 1905. Wolves are in the white shirts and although it was the rule that the home team changed when colours clashed at the time, there seems no reason for a change here as the visitors are in their normal mid-blue shirts and white knickers. A fellow club historian thought that the team did play in white around this time but could not confirm this.

wolves 1908-09 team groupI had a look at Geoff Allman's volume in the Images of Sport series where there are several team photographs taken between 1896 and 1911 all with the team in white. However, the Football League handbooks of this period consistently record Wolves' colours as old gold and black and there is plenty of phorographic evidence to support this. Furthermore the caption on this 1908-09 photograph states the team's colours are old gold and black (click thumbnail right to see the whole image).

We know that Wolves' shade of old gold was dark, almost brown, and furthermore that much of the film stock used at the time was insensitive to yellow light. I suspect that the photographers had the players wear white because their normal kit would not show up against the dark background. This still leaves the question of why the team wore white against their Black Country rivals in 1905. All I can think of is that as the light barnet 1931-32 team groupfaded on a late November afternoon, Wolves' normal kit disappeared into the murk so they may on occasion have worn white so the players could still be seen towards the end of the match.

Historical Updates

Barnet (1931-36 added - photo left): Barnsley (1997-98 crest positioned correctly): Doncaster Rovers (2014-15 sleeves corrected): Brechin City (1995-96 detailing updated): Montrose (1973-74, 1984-85 detailing corrected; 1997-98 shirt trim corrected; crest history added): Dundee (now established that the team wore black and not dark blue knickers 1896-1901): Yeovil Town (1973-74 added): Sunderland (1988-81, 1994-96 sponsorship modified; 1977 crest corrected): Plymouth Argyle (now confirmed that Argyle dropped their green/black striped shirts for green/white ones in November 1974).

25 August - Romania in the 1930s Follow Up

ss conte verde 1930Our old friend Franc Forjan has been in touch to point out that the Yugoslavian team travelled to Uruguay on the MS Florida from Marseille to Montevideo so the players seated in the photographs must be from somewhere else. I have amended the 22 August entry accordingly.

The SS Conte Verde did stop at Rio de Janeiro to pick up the Brazilian squad but the mystery players are certainly not wearing Brazilian shirts nor do I think the tops belong to any of the clubs that provided players. Any ideas?

Evandro Bettancourt has been in touch in support of our new interpretation of Romania's colours. You may want to visit his blog where he has his own graphic record of the World Cup.

2015-16 Update

Premier League: West Ham United (3rd), Chelsea (3rd).

League One: Fleetwood Town (2nd*), Port Vale (2nd*).

League Two: York City (2nd shirt trim corrected).

SPFL Championship: Raith Rovers (3rd).

22 August - Romania in the 1930s Revisited

romania 1930 world cupLet's start with new evidence on a long-standing puzzle, namely what colours did the Romanian team wear in the 1930s? I had settled on blue shirts and romania v peru 1930 fifa world cupyellow shorts suggested by this photograph (left) before the match with Uruguay in the 1930 World Cup. Greger Lindberg has challenged this, correctly stating that there is no evidence that yellow shorts were available at this time and suggesting that the variations apparent in different matches (right) are due to the peculiarities of the film stock used at the time (something Greger was instrumental in ss conte verde 1930 world cup teamsdiscovering).

Recently Esteban Catalán submitted three photographs taken on board the SS Conte Verde (left) that allows us to compare and contrast the kit worn by the four European sides on the long voyage to Montevideo. From this we can see that Romania's shirts are the same tone as those of Belgium and we know these were red (click the image to see the full group). By way of contrast, the French team's mid blue shirts appear pale, conclusive evidence that Romania wore red tops and not blue. We can explain the variations in the colour of their shorts if we consider that much of the film stock in use at the time was insensitive to blue light (which is why the French shirts seem so light.)

romania v cuba 1938 world cupSeated at the front are ten players evidently romania v cuba 1938 world cup cine clipwearing dark (ie red) tops. Their identity is a mystery.

If we assume that Romania wore red shirts throughout the 1930s, we can explain why Czechoslovakia changed into white shirts when they met in the 1934 competition.

When Romania played Cuba in 1938, photographs (left) suggest they wore pale shorts but cine film from the same match (right) show conclusively that they were in fact mid-blue.


Other Historical Material

ireland team 1893This photograph, submitted by Roy Cathcart, is of the Irish international team that played Wales in April 1893, wearing the pale shade of St Patrick's blue that was their signature colour until the First World War. Note that the players are wearing a mixture of white, navy and black knickers as well as varied socks. Like the (English) FA, the Irish FA supplied the team's shirts but players had to bring their own knickers scotland roseberry shirt circa 1900and socks.

This shirt (right) was sold at auction in 2002 and was worn by Nick Smith (Rangers) for Scotland against Ireland in 1899, 1900 or 1901. Although badly faded, the colours of Lord Roseberry are evident, arranged as vertical stripes rather than the familiar hoops. I have provisionally dated this as being from 1899 in which case it would have been a change shirt. Thanks to William Mackie for this item.

Northern Ireland borrowed a set of socks from Hungary when the teams met in Budapest in October 1988.

AFC Bournemouth (2001-02 added; 1987-88, 1998-99 detailing amended): Coventry City (1883 [left], 1914-15, 1927-28, 1936-37 added; 1907-09, 1996-97 socks corrected):

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