Welsh Premier League
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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 MConnel 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).
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.
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).
I normally do not set much store by old cigarette cards (or "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.
Going 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 undertand 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
Once 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 confirms 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 gameagainst Notts County is not terribly helpful 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.
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
Anyone 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
Some 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.
I 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 faded 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.
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
Our 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.
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
Let'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 yellow 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 discovering).
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.)
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
This 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 and 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.