Welsh Premier League
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13 June - 2017-18 Update
Championship: Sunderland (1st), Sheffield United (1st), Barnsley (1st).
League One: Bradford City (1st), Walsall (1st, 2nd), Portsmouth (2nd, 3rd).
Scottish Premiership: Celtic (2nd).
Right - I'm off to Poland for a week so no updates for a while but do keep your contributions coming in.
7 June - Champions League Final
I've added details of the Champions League final played in Cardiff last Saturday.
Premier League: Liverpool (limited edition).
Championship: Birmingham City (2nd).
League Two: Forest Green Rovers (1st*, 2nd*), Crewe Alexandra (1st, 2nd).
3 June - 2017-18 Update
Premier League: Liverpool (2nd).
Championship: Middlesbrough (1st).
League Two: Luton Town (1st*, 2nd, 3rd), Yeovil Town (1st), Cambridge United (1st).
2 June - 2017-18 Update
Congratulations to Forest Green Rovers on their promotion to the English Football League - their kit history section is now available. I must confess I have been dreading working on this because there is almost no information on the interweb about the team's strips throughout its long history. While casting about, however, I stumbled across Tim Barnard's history of the club (Something to Shout About: The History of Forest Green Rovers AFC - Tempus Publishing Ltd 2005) and ordered a copy. The book is a genuine treasure trove, lavishly illustrated, deeply-researched, well written and full of personal reminiscences. Thanks to this and research into match programmes over the last 12 years, I have been able to piece together what I believe is a near-complete kit history stretching back to 1899.
There is, however, no excuse for wearing lime green.
(Celebration photograph courtesy of The Daisy Cutter.)
1 June - 2017-18 Update
Premier League: Southampton (1st), Manchester City (1st).
League One: AFC Wimbledon (1st*, 2nd*), Rotherham United (2nd).
Scottish Championship: Greenock Morton (1st*).
31 May - 2017-18 Update
Ipswich Town (2nd) added.
30 May 2017-18 Season Galleries Now Open!
With the last of the promotion play-offs completed over the bank holiday week-end, the English and Scottish Season Galleries are now OPEN. All contributions welcome but please remember, I do not publish leaked images that cannot be confirmed from official sources.
Saturday's FA Cup final kits have now been added.
19 May 2017-18 Update
Leicester City added.
18 May - 2017-18 Update
16 May - 2017-18 Update
It has been confirmed that Premier League clubs will be allowed to sell advertising space on the left sleeve of players' shirts during the coming season, replacing one of the competition patches. At least two clubs have exclusivity clauses in their current sponsorship contracts and will be unable to take advantage of this opportunity. Stoke City are the first to release details of their sleeve sponsor. Eight clubs are reported to have negotiated an aggregated deal with Sporting Group International.
2 May - 2017-18 Update
The first of next season's strips are starting to appear and I will start posting the new first choice outfits as they appear. Change strips are logged and will be posted, as usual, on the new season galleries which will be launched once the promotion play-offs are completed. Added today Liverpool, Oxford United, Chesterfield, Queen of the South, Celtic.
I've added the special 90th aniversary kit worn by Coleraine in the Irish Cup as well as the bespoke strip to be worn in the Irish Cup Final this weekend.
Over the last few months some visitors have reported that a few kit graphics have gone missing. The odd thing about this is that the problem is only apparent in some Windows-based browsers. As we are all children of the Mac here at HFK Towers we have not been able to reproduce the problem. While I can't claim to have found the cause, I have found a work around that seems to resolve the issue. If you find any more missing graphics please let me know so I can restore the offending item.
On Sunday LA Galaxy met Seattle Sounders and both teams wore their new Parley third kits. This follows the launch of Parley limited edition shirts by Real Madrid and Bayern Munich (right) last November and marks the start of a collaboration between MLS, Adidas and Parley for the Oceans. The shirts are manufactured using fibres upcycled from marine plastic pollution and the partnership is intended to raise awareness and promote practical action to reduce the amount of plastic polluting the world's oceans.
Following on from the item on the Netherlands' kits in the 1934 and 1938 World Cups, I thought you might like to see Frank Wels' shirt from a match against Belgium in the 1930s. (Photograph from oldfootballshirts.com and submitted by André Conceição e Silva.)
In the mid 1960s Arsenal wore a bewildering number of variants on both their first choice and change kits. Recently Simon "Shakey" Shakeshaft commissioned Daniel Gellatley to illustrate these and I am grateful to both for permission to reproduce these on HFK.
Crest history updates
Jon Jones has provided an explanation for the blue United States shirt featured yesterday. This photograph shows the team walking out for their qualifying match against Mexico on May 24, 1934. The match was played in Rome in front of a capacity crowd that included Mussolini and the American ambassador, Breckenridge Long. The US team won 4-2 and the Mexicans went home. If we compare the two images using the orthographic colour charts, it is clear that in the qualifier, the American team are wearing blue shirts.
(Footnote: @dax_6721 has since confirmed from a contemporary report in La Stampa that the Americans wore red shirts against Italy.)
My conclusion that the United States team wore red shirts against Italy in 1934, based on the photograph published on 4 April has been challenged by several contributors. David Kilpatrick submitted this image, for example. Unfortunately there is no evidence that this shirt comes from the same match. It would also have clashed with Italy's tops.
In similar vein, Adam Adamczyk sent me this colourised image from the Italy-France match in the 1938 World Cup and suggested that the French wore light blue. The artist has, however, been deceived by the tones of the original monochrome image when selecting his inks. This is due to a phenomenon that we discovered in 2012 about the effects of orthographic film stock and I thought this would be a good moment to revisit the issue.
Orthographic film stock was widely used before modern panchromatic emulsions became available. Orthographic film was sensitive to reds and yellows, which appeared very dark. Blues, on the other hand, appear pale because the film was less sensitive to these frequencies. This can be seen on the colour comparison chart on the left. Panchromatic film, on the other hand, produces images that are more logical to the human eye.
This brings me to another anomaly that can now be resolved. The Netherlands have always been known as Het Oranje (The Orange) so I have been puzzled by the dark appearance of their shirts. Against Switzerland (1934 tournament) I had assumed that the team wore an all-navy strip but this image shows a clear contrast between shirts and shorts. If we refer to the colour chart we see that orange (second down in the first column) comes out as very dark grey. So what do we make of the pale socks? Checking on the colour chart we can see that pale grey corresponds to the blue end of the spectrum.
The second image shows the team lining up against Czechoslovakia in the 1938 competition. The Czechs have changed into white tops so we can be confident that the Dutch are in orange. This does rather beg the question of why neither the Swiss nor the Dutch changed in 1934 but four years later the Czechs switched from red tops to white. Perhaps FIFA belatedly realised that orange and red do rather clash.
4 April - International Updates
1934 World Cup: This photograph shows the United States team taking the field for their match against Italy and includes a telling detail. Note that the (red) stripes on the flag are visibly darker than the (blue) rectangle where the stars appear. In fact the stripes are the same shade as the players' shirts, indicating that the picture was taken with orthographic film stock and the US team were in red.
This is the Scotland team lining up in Belgrade for a friendly with Yugoslavia wearing their new change strip with V necks and short sleeves in May 1955. I believe that the old collared shirts were worn until April of that year and then the latest "continental" style was adopted. (Submitted by Keir Husband, William Mackie & David Stuart). I've also added the strip worn by the Scottish team in a 1983 friendly against Canada in Edmonton.
Republic of Ireland: Eddie O'Mahony has provided proof that Ireland wore two versions of their change strip in 1985.
Northern Ireland: Two styles of Adidas socks have been worn with the current first choice kit; variant worn against Croatia added.
If you are interested in the history of the World Cup I commend Shahan Petrossian's comprehensive histories of the 1930 and 1934 competitions, which include full details of the qualifying competitions and a wealth of rare photographs.
Here are a couple of interesting Tottenham Hotspur strips submitted by Tony Sealey. the first shows a previously unrecorded change strip worn against Preston North End in November 1911 at White Hart Lane. The home team changed when there was a clash at the time.
On the right are Alan Mullery and Brian Godfrey (Aston Villa) shaking hands before the 1971 League Cup final. Spurs appear to be wearing shorts in a richer shade of dark blue than their usual navy sets and have needlessly switched to their change socks.
This picture shows Crystal Palace playing Wolverhampton Wanderers at Selhurst Park on 13 May 1967. The problem is that Palace dropped their white strip the previous season in favour of light blue tops with claret candy stripes and there seems to be no reason for them to change against a team wearing all-gold. Explanations anyone?
Norwich City (1982-83 added).
30 March - Hereford United Mystery Shirt
The mystery of the Hereford United kit featured two days ago has been solved thanks to some nifty detective work by Simon "Sherlock" Shakeshaft, also known as "Shakey" (left). The vital clue came in an email from Arthur Cowburn who recalls watching the Bulls play at Blackburn Rovers in shirts with a large "H" on the front in 1974-75.
A former physiotherapist at Hereford, Shakey has good links with many former players and officials so he called up Peter Isaac whose many roles at the club included physio to the 1972 giant-killing team, trainer and briefly in 1979, caretaker-manager. Now 82, Peter recalled the odd shirts which were made up in gold and black by Umbro specifically for the club as an alternative to be worn when their red change shirts clashed with those of the opposition. As shown here, they were worn with the regular "home" shorts.
The players apparently hated the novel tops, especially Harry Gregory, pictured on the right, so they rarely got an outing but Peter did confirm that they were indeed worn at Blackburn just as Arthur remembered.
You can now view these unique tops in glorious colour in HFK's Iconic Change Kits gallery.
28 March - Historical Updates
York City (2005-06 added): Millwall (1988-89 added): Dundee (1985-87 shorts trim corrected): Queen's Park Rangers (2012-13 shorts trim added): Rangers (1987-1992 graphics updated with more accurate sponsorship).
This oddity was discovered by Chris Worrall and forwarded to me by Simon "Shakey" Shakeshaft. It's from a match between Brighton and Hereford United in 1974-75, with the visitors wearing unfamiliar shirts (which put me in mind of Bavarian lederhosen). Shakey is sure these are not Hereford's change shirts (which were red). My guess is that the team turned up with their normal white tops expecting Brighton to be playing in their usual stripes and were taken by surprise when it turned out the home side had changed to all-white. I think it is probable that Hereford's embarrassed kit manager borrowed a set of yellow and black shirts from a local team and we would love to know if anyone can identify where they came from.
Profound apologies for the lack of activity over the past month. This was due to important alterations needed to HFK Towers that interrupted the work. Now we're back so let's start with...
...the latest England change kit. A considerable improvement on the last effort but still in the bland Vapor template that has aroused so much hostility. Predominantly in two shades of blue (midnight blue and navy), the trim is silver and light blue, which is fair enough. Inexplicably the tape down the side of the body and shorts is black, which is one colour too many for my taste.
Another problem is that England's record wearing blue is hardly inspiring.
The 2017 Major League Soccer section is now open.
8 February - Current Season Update
Replica Kit Special
We're loving this here at HFK Towers. Submitted by Paul Farley, a Director of Exeter City FC and taken from the Grecian Archive - University of Exeter, it shows the Chairman of the club in the 1920s, Michael McGahey with his family. Three of the boys are proudly wearing club tops, almost certainly the earliest example of replica kit that we're likely to find.
7 February - Early Wales' Kits
I was very pleased to spend several hours on the phone with Simon "Shakey" Shakeshaft yesterday. Shakey is a leading authority on match-worn shirts, curator of the National Football Shirt Collection and the owner of an extensive collection of match-worn Welsh international shirts. Shakey has spent many hours searching the National Archive of Wales in Aberystwyth for press reports as well as minute books held by the FA of Wales researching the history of the Welsh national team's kits in the nineteenth century. Reporters at the time rarely thought it worthwhile mentioning team colours but even so, Shakey has confirmed details of Wales' colours for almost 50% of their games from 1876 to 1902, a considerable achievement.
The results are astonishing and reveal no fewer than 19 changes of kit or variations during the period as well several different crests. Here, for example, is the Welsh team that played England on 18 March 1895. The image has been colourised to match a contemporary newspaper report. Five days later Wales played Scotland in Wrexham wearing red and blue shirts.
In the course of our conversation, I learned that when Wales met England for the first time in January 1879, the visitors were able to wear their usual white shirts because the England players wore their club tops. This attracted unfavourable comment in the press, prompting the FA to buy a set of white flannel shirts. There was confusion when both sides emerged in white for the return match which was only resolved after the Welsh players found some red material in their dressing room and fashioned this into belts to be worn round the waist.
27 January - Scottish Clubs
Paul Clare found this curious item. It shows Heart of Midlothian wearing their short-lived Ajax-style shirts (adopted after they spent part of the close season in the Netherlands). The match is the derby at Easter Road and Hibernian are in the unfamilar all-green tops (home teams changed in Scotland at the time). While there was no obvious colour clash, the TV cameras would have been there and in the days when most people still watched in black and white, Hibs' traditional tops were too similar to those of the visitors. In the return fixture, Hibs wore their green and white shirts while Hearts were in more familiar maroon tops with white collars.
I have finally got round to another set of tweaks submitted by Ian McConnel some time ago. These are all from the 2006-07 season. Rangers (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Motherwell, Dunfermline Athletic, Kilmarnock, Dundee United, Heart of Midlothian, Aberdeen, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, St Mirren.
26 January - International Update
Wales: 1882 added, 1883 corrected.
World Cup 1966: Here is photographic evidence that North Korea wore socks in a darker shade of red than their shirts.
World Cup 1982: Algeria's collars corrected.
25 January - Current Season Update
It has long been thought that Hereford United wore all-white until the outbreak of the Second World War but this photograph, submitted by old friend Simon "Shakey" Shakeshaft, suggests this was not the case.
Shakey has also established that Wolverhampton Wanderer's switched from blue and white to red and white in 1883 rather than 1886. The change therefore coincides with the introduction of mass-produced vertically striped shirts and resolves a long-standing mystery.
When Wolves travelled to Sunderland in September 1890 both teams took the pitch in identical shirts. The following season the Football League required all members to wear distinctive colours to avoid similar confusion in the future and Wolves switched to the orange and navy blue tops shown here.
12 January - Current Season Update
Long-term contributor David King has been in touch with some amendments to the detailing of several kits. Morecambe (1st), Colchester United (2nd), Cardiff City (2nd), Rochdale (3rd), Plymouth Argyle (3rd added), Portsmouth (1st), Cheltenham Town (1st), Carlisle United (1st), Grimsby Town (1st), Doncaster Rovers (2nd).
I've updated the Third Lanark section with some information about the successor club which was formed in 2008, 51 years after the original was wound up.
10 January - International Update
A Polish contributor, Rafal, has sent in several photos of this unrecorded Republic of Ireland shirt. O'Neills supplied the FA of Ireland between 1976 and 1985 and it was not unusual for them to provide non-standard shirts. Rafal tells me he received this from a former Polish international player (now deceased) and that it is match-worn. If you can identify the match it comes from please let me know.
Euro 76: Yugoslavia kits corrected.
Northern Ireland: 1983 kit added.
Scotland: Alternate kit worn in West Germany added.
Silly Kits Dept
Here is Tokyngton Manor, wearing diagonal stripes, shaking hands before their match with Kentish Town in the Spartan South Midlands League Division One in 2012. This is certainly the worst kit clash I've ever seen.
Bradford (Park Avenue) had a long history of unconventional strips before they went out of business in 1974. Pictured on the right is Kevin Hector, their greatest ever player making an appearance for the reformed club sometime after its formation in 1987 in a fund-raiser against Leeds United. It's good to see that the reincarnated club kept tradition alive with this bizarre combination of vertical and diagonal stripes.
9 January - Last of the Crest Updates
7 January - More Crests
Reading (1996), Portsmouth (1995), Peterborough United (2003), Swindon Town (1991), Wolverhampton Wanderers (2000), Hull City (2004), Burnley (1914 FA Cup Final [left], 1969, 1983, 1996, 2006), Arsenal (2005), Tottenham Hotspur (1997), West Bromwich Albion (1994, 1995), Partick Thistle (1990).
6 January - Happy New Year!
After an extended break over Christmas and New Year we're back and it's time to make an impression on HFK's bulging mail bag I'm going to try dealing with material that has been waiting the longest so if you have submitted something recently please be patient: I will get round to it in due course.
Crest History Updates
Oleg Baranov specialises in tracking down material to enhance our crest history and back in September he sent me a wealth of material so let's start with that. Darlington (1998), Nottingham Forest (1970), Middlesbrough (1976, 1979), Wycombe Wanderers (1973, 1990, 1999), Huddersfield Town (1966, 2002, 2005).
I have updated the Wycombe Wanderers graphics 1990-2009 with what I hope are more accurate shades of blue.