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Today we have some more Scottish club updates courtesy of Ian McConnel. Raith Rovers (August 1958 added), Ayr United (August-October added, November 1958-59 corrected), Airdrieonians (1958-59 socks corrected and dates adjusted, 1959-60 added), Motherwell (1958-59 added and dates adjusted), Falkirk (1958-59 cold weather kit added), Aberdeen (1958-59 cold weather kit added), Queen of the South (1958-59 cold weather kit), Rangers (1958-59 added), St Mirren (1958-59 two kits added, 1959-60 added), Cowdenbeath (1959-60 added), Third Lanark (1959-60 cold weather kit added), Alloa Athletic (1959-60 added - above).
Further to yesterday's post about Watford, Greger Lindberg has found a report in the Northampton Chronicle & Echo (27 June 1927) which states that the team had changed from their old black and white strip to "turquoise shirts with white collar and cuffs, white knickers."
In the early 60s East Stirlingshire dropped their traditional narrow hoops in favour of black jerseys. The 1962-63 version shown here featured a very unusual collar.
Rochdale (1979-80 socks corrected), Lincoln City (1993-94 corrected), Greenock Morton (1977-78 Umbro trim added to shirt; the rarely worn Adidas shirts from 1983-84 were matched with their regular Umbro shorts), Grimsby Town (crest history revised), West Ham United (1991-92, 1992-93 shorts trim corrected),(). Exeter City (1909-10, 1960-61 added).
I was under the firm impression that Jimmy Hill was responsible for introducing the first single colour strip (other than all-white) when he had his Coventry City team kitted out in all sky-blue in 1962-63. This has now been thrown into doubt by this picture of Exeter City wearing matching red shirts and shorts in 1960-61.
Although it is thought that Watford played in turquoise jerseys in the 1930s, the evidence is scanty, all club records for the period having been destroyed. Recently, however, I was sent a scan of a programme from a match between Queen's Park Rangers and Watford which confirms the visitors' unusual colours. Unfortunately my correspondent did not provide the date for the game. As I looked into this I came across two photographs that may show the jerseys in question worn in 1928-29 (above left) and 1935-36. In the course of my digging I came across this rather fine colourised image of the team wearing their splendid red, green and yellow jerseys in 1906-07.
(Photo credit: The Watford Observer)
I was contacted last month by Nick Walters who curates the Wolves Shirt Museum blog concerning the team group on the left, which he had colourised based on my graphic. This has always been a puzzling image that doesn't seem to fit with what is known about Wolverhampton Wanderers' kit history from contemporary sources. The photograph appeared in The Wolves: The First Eighty Years" (Percy Young 1959) without a date attributed although in his updated 1976 history, it is described as "circa 1890." We know that the club registered their colours for the 1891-92 season as "blue and orange" (Burnley Express 11 July 1891) but on the eve of the new season this was changed to "old-gold and black shirts, quartered," (Preston Herald 16 September 1891).
My theory is that the photograph shows the original blue and orange jerseys. However, the players all seem very young. Furthermore none of them nor the officials present in the circa 1890 photograph appear in the 1892-93 team (right). This raises the possibility that Percy Young was mistaken and the older picture is not of a Wolves team at all. Another possibility is that the blue and orange shirts were assigned to the reserves or an affiliated youth team. This remains an open question and I am very keen to hear from any Elves who can shed light on the subject.
One thing that is clear is that my interpretation of the photograph was incorrect (dark blue still appears dark when photographed with orthographic film) and I have reversed the colours in my graphic.
In the course of our correspondence, Nick directed me to this picture of a shirt dating from 1899, the oldest Wolves shirt to have survived. The property of Brad Gwilliam, it was worn in the 1899-1900 season by his great-grandfather, RE Gwilliam, who played for the team 1899-1902.
(Credits: The Wolves: The First Eighty Years" (Percy Young 1959), Brad Gwiliam/Wolves Shirt Museum.)
Notts County (1963-64 socks corrected - see left), Accrington Stanley (1952-53 added), Accrington Stanley modern club, (2001-02, 2002-03 detailing updated), East Fife (1970-71 added), Wimbledon (1962-66 entries tidied up and 1963 FA Amateur Cup final strip added), Newcastle United (red shirts worn against Leeds United in the FA Cup, January 1931, added), Cheltenham Town (1995-96 & 1996-97 now presented in the correct order, August 1997 added),
Lee Hermitage wrote to me recently enclosing this photograph of a Stoke City player warming up before an away game in 1980. "I stumbled across this variation of Stoke City's Umbro shirt with a deep, white V-neck, rather than the standard wing collar....I've never seen this version of the Stoke shirt of that era. Maybe it was only brought out at venues where Stoke needed to change from white shorts/socks?"
Stoke are indeed wearing their alternative black shorts but this is not the reason for the unusual shirt. In 1980 the TV companies were refusing to televise matches in which teams wore sponsored shirts. To avoid being blacklisted, clubs ordered at least one set of shirts without sponsorship. No doubt it was easier and cheaper to get Umbro to supply these with their standard broad V neck rather than the bespoke flappy collar that featured on their regular set.
(Photo Credit: Aston Villa official match programme December 1980.)
I have given the original Airdrieonians section an early spring clean, mainly to render their iconic diamond more accurately. The photograph is of the 1959-60 team.
Wrexham (1984-85 European kit added, Sept 2001-02 branding changed).
In the course of their research, HFK elves Tony Sealey and Richard Essen discovered that when Tottenham Hotspur played Swansea Town at Vetch Field on 10 November, 1928, the visitors wore red tops in the first half, blue in the second. Spurs change strip at the time (pictured right) would have been perfectly alright for the game so it appears that they either packed the wrong kit or the hamper went astray on the journey. Swansea's change shirts at the time were maroon but all reports refer to Spurs wearing red in the first half so it is likely these were sourced from somewhere else. Changing shirts at half-time was not unusual (it rained heavily that day) but why they changed into blue tops is a mystery. If anyone can shed light on all this, please let me know.
I have often been puzzled by the number of variations on Coventry City's sky blue kit that appeared in the late 1960s. Jim Brown has now confirmed that most of these were worn in the latter part of the 1967-68 season. The variant on the left was adopted in March 1968 and worn until the end of the season. The familiar version with blue and white rings at collar and cuff was reinstated at the start of 1968-69.
My apologies for the apparent lack of activity over the last three weeks. I've been working on a major project which I hope to publish by the end of the month. However, today I'm taking a break to catch up with some of the material in the HFK inbox beginning with some more Scottish updates from Ian McConnel.
In April 1958 Rangers wore "silk" tops in their match against Hibernian, shown here. They also seem to have adopted a warm weather top that season which featured a contrasting V neck and short sleeves for the first time.
Clyde (1955 Scottish Cup final socks corrected, 1956-57 & 1957-58 socks detailing modified), Dunfermline Athletic (1955-57 cold weather kit modified, 1955-58 kits tidied up), East Fife (1956-57 socks corrected, 1957-59 detailing amended), Dundee (1956-57 added, 1957-58 crest amended), Airdrieonians (1956-57 two strips added, 1957-58 cold weather strip added), Stirling Albion (1956-57 added), Kilmarnock (1957-58, 1959-61 added), Queen's Park (1957-58 added), Falkirk (1957-59 shorts trim added), Raith Rovers (Jan-May 1958 detailing adjusted), St Mirren (1957-58, 1958-59 stripes adjusted), Dundee United (1957-58 shorts & socks corrected), Inverness Caledonian (1957-58 added).
As an added bonus, Ian has found some photographs of the floodlit match between Newcastle United and Heart of Midlothian played on 20 November 1957. This allows us to finally confirm all the details of Toon's elusive floodlights kit. Hearts wore their own floodlights shirts with white sleeves.
(Photo Credit: Ian McConnel)
15 January - Huddersfield Town (Again)
In the course of my update of the Huddersfield Town section earlier this week, I dropped the April 1912 graphic because I was unable to find the source. After consulting with Roger Pashby, I found the email (which dates from ten years ago!) in which he sent me the photographs shown here. The tops are clearly the team's change strip and the fact that they are worn in home matches is not in itself significant. At the time the "senior" club retained their first choice strip when colours clashed and it was not until 1921 that the Football League introduced the rule requiring visiting teams to change.
What is significant is that the image on the right is from the match against Hull City on 9 April 1912. There is no reason for Huddersfield to change out of their normal white shirts for this game but it came over the Easter period at the end of a sequence of four matches in five days. In fact the teams had met the previous day at Anlaby Road and it seems likely that there was no time to get their white shirts washed and dry in time after they returned to Huddersfield.
(Credit: Leeds Road: Home of my Dream (Ian Thomas 1994) retrieved from The Huddersfield Town Collection).
Jim Brown has sent me evidence that Coventry City adopted the white strips with contrasting blue sleeves in November 1961. The photograph shows them wearing this unusual outfit at Notts County in January 1962. It is well documented that they also had an all-white strip with V necks and short sleeves in 1961-62 which I believe was worn in the warmer months.
Rotherham United (1949-51, 1951-52 detailing updated).
13 January - Boston United
I'm grateful to Christian James who has sent me a collection of photographs to improve the Boston United section. (1957-58 socks corrected, 1965-66, 1970-71 added, 1973-77 socks corrected, 1980-81 added, 1981-82 collar corrected, 1978-80 sponsorship added, 1983-84 & 1985-86 added, 1986-87 & 1987-88 sponsor corrected, 1990-91 detailing added, 2000-01 shorts corrected.) Pictured is the 1959-60 team.
12 January - Huddersfield Town Major Update
An enduring puzzle that goes back to the very beginning of HFK has been how to interpret early photographs of Huddersfield Town, such as this example from 1913-14. The stripes appear to be quite pale and initially I thought they must have been light blue although the few contemporary records I was able to find consistently described their colours as "blue and white." Once the role of the orthographic film stock, widely used at the time was understood (it makes blues look pale and reds/yellows dark), I revised my graphics to show conventional mid-blue.
Recently Roger Pashby, who runs the outstanding Huddersfield Town Collection website, sent me a photograph of this 1909-10 fixture card, the season that the club dropped their original red jerseys and it clearly states that the new colours would be "light blue and white."
Armed with this information I have re-examined the photographic record and concluded that the club wore a shade that was intermediate between pale "Cambridge Blue" and conventional mid or royal blue. I believe they switched to mid blue and white shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, although I can't be certain about this.
As a result I have completely overhauled the Huddersfield Town section that includes alterations and additional detailing to graphics up to 1962.
(Credits: Huddersfield Town Collection)
11 January - Scottish Clubs Update
Aberdeen (1954-55 added), East Fife (1953-55 detailing corrected, 1955-56added), Heart of Midlothian (1954-55 alternative kit added), Dundee (1954-55 added, 1955-56 detailing added), Airdrieonians (1954-55 early season kit added), Raith Rovers (1954-55 corrected), Clyde (1954-55 corrected - the kit with a crest was worn only in the Scottish Cup final, 1955-56 warm weather kit added), St Johnstone (1954-55 shorts detailing adjusted), Dunfermline Athletic (1954-55 corrected, 1955-57 kits now designated for warm or cold weather), Rangers (1937-50 change kit corrected), St Mirren (detailing adjusted).
Pictured are the matches between St Mirren and Aidrieonians in 1955-56 (top left) and Dundee v Rangers (lower right) at Dens Park on 30 December 1950. In Scotland it was the home team that changed when colours clashed which is why Dundee are wearing white shirts so it is not clear why the visitors have also changed into their unusual alternative tops.
Euro 1984: Yugoslavia (trim adjusted on all strips).
FIFA World Cup 1998: Yugoslavia (1998 red trim added).
My thanks to Michael Gluck for this photograph, which shows that Bradford City adopted these smart broad striped shirts in 1938-39, earlier than I had previously thought.
The Lancashire Evening Post (16 May 1906) reported that the directors of Grimsby Town had decided to change the team's colours to "white jerseys, with a bright red collar and waistband, black knickers, and black stockings, with red tops." This colourised photograph, taken the following season (1907-08) provides a good view of this curious collar but there is no sign of a waistband. We think this was a misprint for "wristband."
(Credit: British Newspaper Archive retrieved by Dave Wherry)
4 January 2021
In July 2013, drawing on the research of Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly I published the story of how Herbert Chapman first created the iconic Arsenal shirt in 1933 by ordering a set of sleeveless Viyela jumpers to be worn over the top of their white change shirts. You can read the full story on the History of Arsenal Blog.
Last month Tony Sealey alerted me to the fact that in the new edition of The Arsenal Shirt (Simon Shakeshaft & James Elkin 2020) a slightly different narrative emerges. According to reports in the Nottingham Evening Post and the Daily Mirror (4 March 1933) Arsenal were expected to wear the jumper and shirt combination against Liverpool at Highbury that afternoon. The cutting on the right (Nottingham Journal 6 March 1933) confirms the team wore their new colours that afternoon but the photograph (above left) from the Sunday Pictorial (5 March 1933) clearly shows Alex James and David Jack wearing conventional flannel shirts.
According to The Arsenal Story (Tom Whittaker 1957), the jumper and shirt combination proved troublesome in the wash and was rejected in favour of a more conventional solution. The club had been given permission to change their colours on 21 February and I assume the experimental tops were tried out in training and found wanting so conventional red and white flannel shirts were ordered to replace them. I've been able to confirm that in the two matches played after permission for the change was granted, the Gunners wore their plain red tops so we can certain that the new colours were indeed introduced on 4 March.
What remains puzzling, however, is that the Nottingham Evening Post (4 March 1933) reported that Chapman contacted Hollins & Co to place a rush order for the Viyella jumpers the day before the Liverpool game.
(Credits: The British Newspaper Archives)