Welsh Premier League
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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.
16 December - Huddersfield Town
Sometime during the 1970s manufacturers started to supply both long and short sleeved shirts and these are evident in photographs from this and later decades. (Our graphics generally show long sleeved versions.) Research Associate, Roger Pashby, has told me that when Mick Buxton was in charge at Huddersfield Town between 1978 and 1986 he insisted that the players all wear short sleeved shirts, a quirky fact that I thought was worth recording. I've taken the opportunity to refresh the graphics from 1987 to 2001 with more accurate renderings of the club crest and other tweaks to the detailing.
This is the 1979-80 side with the Fourth Division trophy.
Silly Kits Dept
On the left we have a shirt with a mind-bending pattern that was donated to Newport (Isle of Wight) FC of the Wessex League by their sponsor, Saunders Sports for use as a third kit. And in the blue corner we have a stealth design worn by FC Järfälla, currently playing in the sixth tier of the Swedish pyramid. I can imagine that on a foggy afternoon this would render the team invisible.
My thanks go to Chris Berezai for submitting these. More soon.
15 December - Current Season Update
Airdrieonians sold out of replica shirts within 35 minutes after the club's supporters trust launched their sponsorship of their own team's shirts. The shirts are printed with an image of supporter Mark Allison who died of pancreatic cancer last June having raised over £70,000 for cancer research charities. Airdrie usually sell 100-150 replica shirts each season but the entire stock was sold out immediately. The club has ordered additional stock and even through these will not arrive until March, 200 orders have already been taken. Profits will go to the charities that Allison supported.
This scruffy image is the first evidence I have seen for a strip that I believed existed but had only a vague memory of an entry in the Playfair Football Annual from 1959-60 to go on. It shows a match between Northampton Town and Barrow, with the visitors wearing striped shirts. This marked a transition: the team had previously worn predominantly blue shirts with white shorts and in 1960 they swapped these around. White shirts and blue shorts remain the the preferred scheme to this day.