Historical Football Kits


News & Updates 2019

21 May

I've added the 2019 FA Cup final kit graphics.

2019-20 Scottish Update: Ayr United, Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen added.

16 May

chelsea chronicle 2 april 1915The HFK Elves have been busy delving into the mystery of the 1915 FA Cup semi-final featured a couple of days ago. Steve Flanagan, our Everton expert, has found match reports in the Liverpool Evening Express and the local Football Pink which both state that Everton wore black and white stripes while Chelsea played in white. Steve suggests chelsea 1915 fa cup semi finalEverton's change shirts may have been in the laundry with their blue tops and the colours had run prompting the editor of the Chelsea Chronicle to describe them as "a dirty looking mixture of dark blue and light blue." Judging by this photo of the Chelsea side in what look like distinctly dingy jerseys, he was being less than even-handed.

Incidentally, Chelsea also changed into blue stockings for this match and these were also worn in the final.

arsenal v huddersfield 1930 fa cup finalBarry Weekley was in touch a little while ago questioning whether my graphic for Arsenal's kit in the 1930 FA Cup final was correct. He argued that the team wore red socks rather than black. His point is well illustrated by this photograph of the captains leading the teams out at Wembley. This prompted me to examine the photographic record and I found that Arsenal switched from black to red socks at the beginning of the 1929-30 season and retained these until March 1933 when the famous red shirts with white sleeves were introduced. This set, of course, featured navy and white socks.

Burnley (1996-98 amended).

14 May - Historical Material

everton v chelsea fa cup semi-final 1915This grainy image from the Sunday Pictorial (March 29 1915) was submitted a while ago by Tony Sealey and Nik Yeomans. It's a rare photograph of the FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Everton and it raises some awkward questions. As it's the FA Cup and colours clashed, both teams were expected to change but according to contemporary programme notes (April 2 1915), Everton wanted to apply the rules of the Football League which would have allowed them, as the senior side, to play in blue. The FA, however, ordered that both teams change and they did, but not into their regular alternative strips (which would have been perfectly adequate). Chelsea wore white while Everton turned out in "a dirty looking mixture of dark blue and light blue."

wimbledon fc 1974-75Tony Sealey has been kind enough to send me a detailed account of the strips worn by the original Wimbledon club between 1974 and 1977, a period that brought three Southern League titles on the trot, an epic FA Cup run and election to the Football League. The club switched from all-blue to yellow and blue in April 1974 (see right). The following year, a local sports shop owner donated two sets of new kit for their FA Cup matches against Burnley and Leeds United which were adopted as lucky strips for league matches. An all-white outfit appeared in an FA Cup match in December 1976 and was then worn in their final Southern League fixtures.

7 May - 2019 Women's World Cup Update

2019 Women's World Cup Update: I've added the new Cameroon kits and tweaked detailing on the kits of Chile, China, Jamaica, Nigeria and the USA. There is till no news on Argentina or Japan.

2019-20 Club Updates

As the first 2019-20 kits are now being released I shall start adding these to the archive. As usual the Season Galleries for 2019-20 will be opened once the last of the promotion and relegation issues have been settled.

First off the blocks are Liverpool, and Plymouth Argyle.

30 April

lost teams of the south 2019Today I am going to review Mike Bradbury's recently published Lost Teams of the South, the third in a trilogy that has previously covered the Midlands and North of England. In my view, this is the best of the bunch, charting as it does how the game evolved among the privileged aristocrats with time and money on their hands.

In a well written (if poorly proof-read) introduction, Bradbury explores the personalities who brought the game in its various forms from their public schools into the public arena. We learn how fluidly the game was organised with teams appearing and disappearing all the time, often leading a semi-nomadic existence and playing under different codes (frequently in the same match). Gentlemen, unconcerned by the need to earn a living, might turn out for several sides in the course of a week and more than one team scratched from the FA Cup because their best players had been picked for the opposition.

The bulk of the book offers detailed accounts of more than fifty defunct teams, some famous such as The Wanderers, Barnes and The Casuals and some gloriously obscure like No Names Kilburn, Gitanos and Minerva. Even when very little is recorded, Bradbury's impeccable and dogged research uncovers lost details of each club's career, where they played, press reports and in most cases, who their most prominent players were.

Highly recommended by HFK, Lost Teams of the South is available direct from the author for £16.99 + £3 P&P at mbradbury42@yahoo.co.uk.

Using this book as a reference I have added fourteen new images to the Eminent Victorians section and updated a number of existing entries.

29 April

wales 1887Leigh Roose of the Welsh Football Data Archive has turned up some more colours in the bewildering sequence worn by the Wales team in the Victorian period. In April 1889 they wore light blue against Scotland and green/white against Ireland. He also confirms that the team wore green and white halves in 1900 against England. The photograph is from March 1887 when the team wore red although one player spurs turkish tour 1981seems to be in the older cardinal and white top worn in 1885.

Middlesbough (1996-97 socks corrected).

This oddity, found by Tony Sealey, shows Tottenham Hotspur in unfamilar sponsored shirts which were worn on a brief tour of Turkey in June 1981 which was sponsored by Sultan Hali, who manufacture carpets. Tony has also contributed an alternative change strip worn 1930-34. I have revised the sequence of strips worn 1883-1885 in line with the findings published in The Spurs Shirt (Shakeshaft, Burney, Evans 2018) which Tony helped research. Other additions include two special kits for floodlit matches, a white one from 1955 and a gold version from 1958.

25 April

Elgin City (1992-93 added), St Johnstone (1979-80 corrected), Caledonian (1992-93, 1993-94 added).

24 April - Historical Updates

rangers v valletta september 1983In September 1983 Rangers travelled to Malta to play Valletta in the European Cup Winners' Cup and wore these shirts which lacked the pinstripes worn in domestic competition at the time. Lindsay Stewart has suggested they may have been made of Aertex cotton which will not take printing. stan anderson, sunderalnd afcPhotograph submitted by William Kay.

Berwick Rangers (1978-79 sponsor added, 1991-92 revised), Stranraer (1991-92 added), Stockport County (1985-86 sponsorship corrected), Huddersfield Town (1979-80 crest added).

On the right is Stan Anderson, who made over 400 appearances for Sunderland between 1952 and 1963, wearing the special "satin" shirt worn in floodlit friendlies in 1955-56. (Photograph courtesy of Stan Anderson: Captain of the North - M Metcalf 2010 submitted by Graham Brack).

Nik Yeomans has found a match programme that indicates that Chelsea first wore royal blue shirts against Lincoln City on 13 October 1906. Prior to this they played in Eton Blue.

23 April - FIFA Women's World Cup

fifa women's world cup trophyFour years ago I posted a kit record of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada and promised to create a full record but somehow I never got round to adding the previous tournaments. As the 2019 edition is nearly upon us I have been locked in one of the underground offices here at HFK Towers to put this right. Sustained by hourly espressos and generous portions of steak slice provided by our local butcher, Dai the Pie, I am pleased to announce that we now have on the site a complete record of the Women's World Cup from 1991 to 2019.

There are some gaps in the records for 1991 and 1995 and I hope the HFK elves will help me to fill these and alert me when the few missing kits for 2019 are released.

My thanks to everyone who has submitted updates over the last five weeks. I'll start working on these this week.

13 March - MLS 2019

mls logoI've added the MLS 2019 section to the site today. This offers a good idea about the direction Adidas' designers are going in for the Women's World Cup (which I plan to cover) and the 2019-20 club season.

4 March - 2018-19 Update

york city fc 2019 special kitThis summer, York City will be leaving Bootham Crescent, their home since 1922, to move into a brand new Community Stadium. To mark the occasion the club has commissioned a special, one-off strip that will be worn in their last home game of the season against AFC Telford on 27 April. Replicas went on sale on Saturday and were sold out in just three hours. More stock is on order.

(Photograph courtesy of York City FC).

St Johnstone (socks changed), Doncaster Rovers (3rd shorts/socks confirmed).

23 February - International Updates

Wales 1884. In an interview (date unknown) Joe Wiliams (Oswestry Town) recalled being given a white shirt with a crest featuring a Welsh dragon surrounded by the words FA of Wales Cymru am Byth before the match against England. England are thought to have worn their usual white shirts so it is a mystery how anyone told the teams apart. This had occurred earlier in the decade and Wales resorted to draping a red scarf over their tops but in 1883 they had adopted cardinal and red halves to, presumably, avoid clashes. Quite why they went back to white shirts is perplexing.

Other Historical Material

middlesbrough fc 1884-85Tucked away in this photograph of Middlesbrough from 1884-85 submitted by Jonathon Auty are two nuggets of purest gold. While most of the team are wearing plain white shirts, two players have natty collars and cuffs with polka dots. This is the first photographic evidence we have for this unique outfit. We can also see that there is a crest which, bury ffc 1920-21according to a newspaper report from 1886 is the town coat of arms.

After the First World War Bury spent three seasons in red and white hoops before returning to more familiar plain white tops and navy knickers. This is the first photographic evidence I've seen of this rare outfit and was submitted by Simon Monks. Remarkably, although it was taken at the start of the 1920-21 season the committee have not seen fit to provide the players with new kit so they are here lining up in navy knicks that are completely washed out. Poor lambs.

Jonathon has also provided photographic evidence that confirms Middlesbrough Ironopolis wore dark knickers with their maroon and green tops.

Portsmouth (1993-95 shorts trim added): Cardiff City (1945-46 added): Clapton Orient (1930-31 shirt detailing corrected), Crewe Alexandra (1948-49 added, 1955-56 collar & cuffs corrected), Coventry City (1925-27, 1930-31 added, 1932-33, 1934-36 modified, Walsall (1900-01 added, 1888-89 knickers confirmed).

21 February

liverpool v arsenal 1950 fa cup finalLong-time contributer George Chilvers (@Garswoodlatic) has come across a couple of cuttings in the Liverpool Echo from April 1950 concerning the Kit Liverpool wore in the FA Cup final against Arsenal. As we know the competition rules of the time required both teams to change when colours clashed. Liverpool planned to wear their regular white and black change strip which included their normal red and white hooped socks but the FA insisted that these had to be changed too. Liverpool had planned to wear their cup final strip at Portsmouth a week before the final so when they arrived in the morning, an official was despatched to a sports outfitters to buy a set of blue and white socks. Imagine the uproar today if the team turned out in anything blue! As usual, George has weaved his magic to colourise a southport fc 1928-19contemporary photograph so we can see what the kit looked like in action.

On the right is a photograph of Southport taken between the wars and contributed by Stephen Paramore. Stephen's grandfather, Jack Brunt is second from the right in the front row. Although the image is not dated, Brunt only played twice for the 'Port in October and December 1928 so we can identify the season.

Connah's Quay Nomads have been wearing sponsored shirts since the beginning of November.

The one-off strip worn by Wimbledon in their epic FA Cup matches against Leeds United in 1975 has been reinstated.

4 February

forest football club 1863In December I received a large file from Robin Horton which he had compiled from Charles Alcock's Football Annuals from 1873 to 1881 containing the colours of almost 400 clubs. I've combined this information with material from Mike Bradbury's books, Lost Teams of the Midlands and Lost Teams of the North, photographs on the Welsh Football Data Archive and Brian McColl's enormous Scottish Football Historical Archive to create a new, greatly expanded Eminent Victorians section.

The Football Annuals provided details of early colours for a number of clubs that later joined the Football League and these have been added to the club sections. Accrington (1878-80), Ardwick (1887), Bolton Wanderers (1879-1882), Bootle (1888), Burton Swifts (1880), Chester Rovers (1881), Chesterfield (1881), Doncaster Rovers (1881), Middlesbrough (1879), Newcastle East End (1887), Stoke (1873), Wrexham (1879).

16 January - 2018-19 Updates

Our old chum, David King, has submitted a lot of material that allows me to add some detailing to the EPL/EFL kits for the current season. Walsall (1st, 2nd panels), AFC Wimbledon (3rd socks), Everton (1st socks), Colchester United (3rd shorts), Crewe Alexandra (2nd cuffs), Charlton Athletic (1st side panels), Fleetwood Town (2nd cuffs/shorts), Port Vale (1st, 2nd socks), Stevenage (2nd shorts), Yeovil Town (2nd cuffs), Carlisle United (1st socks), Notts County (1st, 2nd socks), Luton Town (charity strip), Liverpool (1st, 2nd, 3rd side trim), Cardiff City (3rd corrected), Huddersfield Town (3rd socks), Aston Villa (1st, 2nd, 3rd shorts), Hull City (3rd shorts),

15 January

When Newcastle travelled to West Bromwich Albion in January 1938 for an FA Cup Third Round tie, both sides had to change in accordance with the rules of the time. As the Geordie's change kit was identical to that of the home team, they borrowed a set of blue shirts and white knickers for the occasion.

Queen's Park Rangers (1937-38, March 1949 added), Notts County (March 1934. 1952-53, 1954-55, 1956-57 amended), Nelson (1924-27 added), West Bromwich Albion (1884-85 & 1886 FA Cup final kits corrected).

2018-19 Update: Crewe Alexandra (3rd), Sheffield Wednesday (3rd), Tranmere Rovers (2nd, 4th kits updated).

8 January

norwich v portsmouth 2018-19We have become used to teams turning out in all sorts of variants to their registered kit to avoid clashes of shorts and, in particular socks, to make life easier for match officials. This season the trend has gone too far with teams turning out in change and third kits even when there is no clash, as Portsmouth did when visting Norwich City. This is a cynical attempt to promote sales of replica shirts which everyone at HFK Towers thinks is deplorable.

southampton v liverpool 1960-61Visiting teams first began to change shorts and/or socks when these clashed in the 1970s. Prior to that the only concern was that the shirts had to be different, which makes this picture of Southampton playing Liverpool in aston villa 1956-57 change kitAugust 1960 rather unusual as the visitors are wearing their "home" shorts with their white alternative shirts and socks.

On the left is a previously unrecorded Aston Villa change kit from 1956-57 posted on Twitter by @MemorabiliaMal.

Millwall's 1975 crest added, Newport County (1956-57 socks updated), Norwich City socks amended 1965-1969, Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic (1969-70 updated).

6 January - Happy New Year!

The HFK Elves have been busy over the festive period and I think we have now pinned down the date that Chelsea switched from maroon to red change shirts to 1933-34.