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Latest News & Updates

6 March

mls logo 2015MLS kicks off in North America this weekend with a new logo and two new teams. This has been "MLS Jersey Week" during which all the new kits have been launched with the exception of NewYork City and Orlando City, who revealed their new shirts some time ago. So, ladies and gentlemen, you are now welcome to visit our new MLS 2015 section.

Thankyou vermurch.

5 March - More Crest History Updates

Fulham, Blackpool, Aston Villa, Hull City.

We have Oleg Baranov to thank once again for the research into crests published over the last week.

3 March - More Crest History Updates

West Ham United, Gretna, Aberdeen, St Johnstone, AFC Bournemouth.

Coming soon - MLS 2015.

27 February

frickley museum unkown teamThe good people at Frickley Museum have sent us this photograph to see if we can identify the team, which probably played in West Yorkshire. The style of clothing worn by the officials and the length of the players' knickers place this firmly in the period 1900-1914. The team strip of white shirts and dark knickers was very common and is no help but the crest is intriguing as very few teams wore one at the time. Anyone?

Crest History Updates

Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea.

25 February

billy jennings bolton wanderers 1923 fa cup final shirtThis is the shirt worn by Billy Jennings for Bolton Wanderers in the famous "White Horse FA Cup final" in 1923. Judging by the rust stains, this has spent many years alan morton rangers 1922stored improperly but it has at least survived. Had it been in better condition it would no doubt have fetched more than the £6,000 it was sold for last year. The crest details have allowed me to improve the Bolton graphics 1921-1953.

On the right is Alan Morton of Rangers pictured in March 1922. The point of interest is that he is wearing the iconic black socks with red turnovers which were introduced that season. However, he is also wearing the older style of shirt with a buttoned crew neck. Collared shirts were introduced the following season and remained in use for 40 years.

18 February International Updates

Northern Ireland: new change strip added.

Embossed crest added to 2009-2011 England shorts. Scotland's aertex kits for World Cup 1986 revised.

World Cup

cuba 1938 world cup1934: Brazil, Spain collars corrected.

1938: Cuba socks revised (left).

1954: Austria, Hungary crests improved, Mexico shirt buttons added, Czechoslovakia socks amended.

1958: Austria crest improved. Updated Hungary crest applied.

1962: Hungary crest updated.

1966: Hungary crest updated.

1970: Brazil sock turnovers amended.

1974: Brazil sock turnovers amended.

1978: Hungary crest updated.

1986: Detailing added to Spain's shorts, Scotland kit revised.

1990: Korea Republic shirt trim corrected, texture added to Spain shirts.

2010: Missing shorts numbers added to Portugal v Korea DPR, Uruguay collars amended.

11 February

john mckenna liverpool fc 1904If you think that the current convention of visiting teams changing elements of their strip when there is the slightest suggestion of a clash with those of the home side and that FIFA's football league agm 1904regulations about high levels of contrast are ridiculous, these press cuttings reveal how things might have been. At the 1904 Football League AGM, Liverpool's secretary, John McKenna (left), tabled a motion that would require all teams to play in red shirts or jerseys at home while visitors would wear white tops and dark knickers. The motion was seconded by Sunderland but rejected after some discussion. You might think that McKenna's proposal was tongue in cheek but in football league agm 19061906 he put the motion again with support from Manchester United. Thanks to George Chilvers and Kjell Hanssen for uncovering these dumbarton harp fc 1918-19invaluable cuttings - click on the images to view large versions.

This is a rare photograph of Dumbarton Harp, one of many clubs that sprung from the Irish Catholic community in the late 19th century in Scotland. Taken in 1918-19, Harp were members of the Western League at the time. In 1923 this competition forfar athletic team 1936was incorporated into the Scottish League as the new Third Division but in January 1925 Harp resigned and were disbanded due to financial problems. The Third Division itself was abandoned the following season.

I've reviewed and updated the Forfar Athletic section and added a crest history. On the left is the Forfar team from 1936 wearing their distinctive light and dark blue shirts.

Liverpool's latest charity kit has been added.

Another Chelsea alternate kit has come to light from Feb 1973. Burton Albion (1971-72 modified): Gretna (crest history added).

10 February

billy mccracken 1911 newcastle united fa cup final shirtWest Ham United's new shirt sponsor has been added.

Keith Ellis has found this cigarette card showing Billy McCracken of Newcastle United and Ireland wearing a Newcastle shirt with a crest that looks distinctly different to the one worn in FA Cup finals from 1911 on. It is in fact the old city coat of arms and was worn in the 1910 FA Cup final against Barnsley. It can be glimpsed in this YouTube clip.

Chelsea (slight amendments to 1959-60, 1981-83, 1990-92, 2000-01, 2001-02 change kits): Southampton (1924-36 shirt pocket added).

4 February

falkirk fc 1880 jersey detailThere is quite a lot more on Falkirk's early strips and crests today, thanks to Andrew Hewlett. I now have a team falkirk fc 1909-10 team groupphotograph from 1881-82 (left) that shows the embroidery was worn only by the team captain who, as was customary, is seated in the centre of the front row with the ball at his feet. In 1909 the team dropped their navy tops in favour of a lighter shade of blue (right) and we can now see the new tops sported a crest as well as a contrasting yoke.

jocky simpson falkirk fc 1910On the left is one of Falkirk's first star players, English international Jocky Simpson, in an undated photograph.This shows the lighter blue shirt with a unique collar. Since we know that Simpson signed for Blackburn Rovers in January 1911, we can now place this shirt as being george anderson falkirk fc 1938-39worn in the 1910-11 season.

Finally, on the right is a photograph of George Anderson wearing a brand new shirt with another hitherto unknown crest dated sometime in the 1930s. After a little research I found his obituary that confirms he played for Falkirk for just one season in 1938-39 before the war interrupted his playing career, which gives us the dates we need rather neatly.

(1906-07, 1909-10, 1910-11, 1938-39 added: 1915-20 collar revised: crest history updated.)

2 February

edinburgh city fc 1935-36 team groupQueen of the South (new crest added): Wolverhampton Wanderers (Nov 1986-88 sponsorship adjusted): Arsenal (1905-06 cuffs corrected).

Among Steven Ardath's collection of Scottish Football Cards is this rare falkirk fc 1880 jersey detailphotograph of Edinburgh City. The distinctive socks place this in the 1935-36 season.

Scottish crest histories added: Edinburgh City, Elgin City, Falkirk. The photograph on the right is from the better meddle website and shows a Falkirk player in a typical 1880s jersey with some intriguing embroidery.

27 January

arthur e kennedyA recurring issue when writing about the early history of football clubs is that all too often inaccurate or self-serving contemporary articles written by club officials are accepted as fact and pass into the authorised histories. A good example of this is the origin of the first Arsenal crest perpetuated by Arthur E Kennedy (left), an early vice-chairman of the club. The work of historians prepared to research primary sources such as Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly rather than rely on repetitious secondary accounts is therefore extremely valuable. On their Arsenal History blog they have conclusively proved that the crest was not adopted in 1888 as official histories state but in fact appeared in an article written by Kennedy for the 1904 Book of Football and never appeared in any club handbook or on their stationary gillingham fc programme 1958-59 with "unicorn" badgeprior to its inclusion in the Official History published in 1986. Kelly and Andrewshave also shared new research that allows me to update the Arsenal Change Kits section.

flag of kentAnother example of misleading information is this drawing from the cover of a Gillingham programme from 1958-59 (sent in by Richard Ralph) which suggests the club crest featured a unicorn. Now I'm convinced this is not the case. Examining team photographs and various versions of the Kentish Horse (such as this one from the county's flag) it is clear that the ears and/or mane are often drawn erect giving the appearance from a distance of a unicorn's horn. We can assume that the artist commissioned to design the programme cover was not local as no Man of Kent would make this mistake.

Manchester City (1974-75 Umbro logo added): Chesterfield (1935-37, 1937-38, 1959-62, 1962-64, 2004-05, 2006-07 detailing revised).

24 January

The photograph of Chelsea's Ajax-style shirt prompted Nik Yeomans to sift through his extensive programme collection where he found conclusive evidence that the team wore their regular third strip with the red/green panel and that the top featured on 20 January is a fake. Nik also found an unrecorded change strip from 1963-64.

Current Season Updates

Bolton Wanderers have a new one-off shirt sponsor for today's FA Cup tie with Liverpool. Middlesbrough (3rd added).

20 January

chelsea 1974-75 alternate kitThanks to everyone who contacted us about the mystery Chelsea strip from 1973-75 with various theories. Nik Yeomans has now found the solution in the club's programme notes from February 1974 where we learn that the change was made because both sides normally wore white socks. (Until the early 70s clashes of this sort were not an issue.) The fashion-conscious management thought wearing all-blue with black socks would look "too dark" so white shorts were worn instead (ignoring the fact that now chelsea kit v man city 1974both teams would be in the same shorts). The result was a pleasing reminder of Chelsea's earlier strips and appeared a few times before blue socks were adopted when socks clashed.

I have reinstated Chelsea's Ajax-style change strip after Rodney George confirmed that it was worn just once at Manchester City. This is Steve Kember's match shirt from Richard Boulert's fulham fc circa 1894 team groupcollection (photo courtesy of oldfootballshirts.com).

Current Season Updates

Port Vale (3rd), Southampton (3rd).

Historical Updates

Coventry City (1993-94 socks corrected): Fulham circa 1894 (photo left). A different version of the old Craven Cottage crest has also been found.

10 January

After a meaningful chat with his mum over Christmas, Vincent Tan has chelsea wearing white shorts 1973-74announced that Cardiff City will revert to playing in blue from today, a decision endorsed by the Football League.

Now here is an oddity. On the left is Charlie Cooke playing for Chelsea at Leeds in 1973-74. The team wore the same strip, which resembles their classic 1950s outfit, at Stoke and West Ham in the League and in two league Cup ties against Stoke City in 1974-75. If you know the story behind this unusual variant strip please contact me.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle (2014-15 3rd kit added).

International Updates

Wales 2015 strip added.

germany v austria 1934 world cupWorld Cup 1934: Austria socks corrected. The Wunderteam borrowed a set of light blue shirts from SC Napoli for their game with Germany because both sides usually wore white shirts (photo right).

World Cup 1962: Czechoslovakia sleeves corrected v Hungary.

Word Cup 1970: Belgium socks corrected v El Salvador.

World Cup 1974: Detailing added to Argentina, East Germany and Brazil kits in final group stage.

World Cup 1990: Missing manufacturers' logos added to Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, United States, Costa Rica kits.

World Cup 1994: Logos added to Saudi Arabia shorts.

World Cup 2010: Texture added to Mexico shirts.

My thanks to André Conceição e Silva for the World Cup updates.

8 January

Sadly, Hereford United became the latest former member of the Football League to be wound up in the High Court on 19 December and their record has now been expunged from the Southern League. A summary of recent events has been added to their club section.

International Updates

wales football shirt 1914Wales: I've had this photograph of an original Wales shirt from 1914 knocking around for a while: note the interesting crest. It is still unclear when Y Ddraig Goch was adopted by the FA of Wales although we do know that the Prince of Wales' feathers adorned the team shirts in their earliest matches.

Scotland: Strip worn against Switzerland in November 1982 added: Euro 96 unused change strip added.

World Cup 1954: England sleeves corrected v Uruguay.

World Cup 1986: Mexico shorts detailing corrected.

World Cup 1990: Spain detailing added to sleeves and shorts: Soviet Union crest corrected on change strip.

World Cup 2010: Mexico sleeves corrected v Uruguay. South Africa shorts trim corrected.

7 January

leeds united 1934-35 team groupWithin hours of posting yesterday's question about the blue/gold halved Leeds United shirt, HFK's elves were at work solving the mystery. Steve Lawrence, Jonathon Auty and Martin Hart identified the player as Bert Sproston who played for Leeds between May 1933 and June 1938, narrowing the possible dates down. Martin then found this team photograph from 1934-35: although the quality is not very good, it is possible wolves 1925-26 team groupto make out that the gold panel is on the left of the shirt. From the following season until this style was dropped in 1948, blue appeared on the left.

Here is another treasure found by Keith Ellis on eBay, a very rare original photograph of Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1925-26. This confirms the unusual single band worn below the collar that was earlier removed from HFK for lack of corroboration. A more elaborate collar was introduced the following season. Note how dark the jerseys appear: the old gold of the period was almost brown but I believe the film stock in use at the time made them appear much darker than they were in fact. (To bid on this item visit HFK's Wolves page and click on the eBay link there.)

Crest updates: Millwall (2014), Birmingham City (1996-97), Swansea City (1979, 1984), Carlisle United (1969), Yeovil Town (1985), Cambridge United 1974, 1983, Newport County (1948), Everton (1920, 1978, 1982 improved, 1985 added), Brighton & Hove Albion (1983 corrected), Chesterfield (1978), Aldershot Town (2014). Thanks to Joe Finnan, Andrew Scott, Chris Worrall, John Taylor and of course Oleg Baranov for their contributions.

6 January 2015

Happy New Year to all our visitors!

blackpool 1931-32 team groupBlackpool 1931-32 now confirmed (left) although we still need details of the socks: Derby County (1973-75 dates leeds united 1930s halved shirtrevised): Cardiff City (Aug-Sept 1994 added): Arsenal (1921 change strip added): Leeds United (1938-39 updated). Leeds adopted gold and blue halved shirts in 1934 and wore them until September 1948. All the images I have been able to corroborate have blue panels on the left so the image on the right is a puzzle. If you can confirm the dates and/or player please contact me.

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