Historical Football Kits


The Definitive English and Scottish Football Kit Archive

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Latest News & Updates


6 April - Alloa Athletic Update

alloa afc 1929Officially Alloa Athletic's colours are gold and black although they have also been registered as orange and black in their formative years and between the wars. There seem to have quite a few variations over the last 50 years and since 1998, an attractive shade of deep amber has been preferred. I have revised the entire Alloa section to better reflect these colour variations and added some previously unrecorded crests. The photograph is of the 1929 team.

(Photograph The Alloa Advertiser.)

2 April - Scottish Update

hibs v hearts september 1972In the 1972-73 season Heart of Midlothian broke with tradition and adopted white shirts with a broad maroon stripe in the style of Ajax. This created a problem when Hearts visited Hibernian in September 1972 because the sleeves clashed. At the time it was the home team that changed when colours clashed in the Scottish League so Hibs wore a one-off shirt in plain green with white facings. For the return match Hearts played in familiar maroon shirts and Hibs in their usual green and white tops.

2015-16 detailing changes: Rangers (2nd, 3rd), Peterhead (2nd), St Mirren (1st, 2nd), Livingston (1st), Falkirk (1st, 2nd), Kilmarnock (1st, 2nd), Dundee (2nd), Hibernian (2nd), Ayr United (1st, 2nd), Airdrieonians (1st), Queen of the South (1st), Dumbarton (1st, 2nd), Greenock Morton (1st, 2nd). Information provided by Ian McConnel.

Raith Rovers (1971-72), East Stirlingshire (1965-66 corrected, 1974-75 added), Alloa Athletic (1974-75).

31 March - Future Plans

I've received several enquiries about whether I am going to upate the MLS and NIFL sections for the current season and thought I should explain the position. As modern kits become ever more complex, more and more of my time is being consumed keeping them updated. While a kit from the pre-1990s eras might take just a few minutes to draw, some recent designs have consumed two hours or more of my time, which is clearly not sustainable, particularly as I'm not getting any younger and I do have other things to do. I've therefore decided to prioritise HFK's central purpose which is to document historical kits. As a result some sections that record modern kits will no longer be updated.

Because of the postponement of the UEFA European Football Championship and the uncertainty surrounding arrangements to complete the current season I have yet to make a decision about updating the Euros section and future club Season Galleries but I will make an anouncement in due course.

More Historical Stuff

jj sexton millwall fc 1885Manchester United (change strip worn at Sheffield United March 1910 added), Middlesbrough (3 variant kits added for 1972-73). I've tidied up Millwall's early kithistory, removing a couple of strips I now believe to have been change kits and correcting the date the club changed their name from Rovers to Athletic. The photograph on the left is of Jasper John Sexton, the club's first secretary. His father ran a beer shop in Tooke Street where the team would change before matches.

My thanks to Richard Essen for sending me detailed confirmation of the team's early kit history

(Photograph Millwall FC: Images of Sport 1999)

30 March

portsmouth fc 1957-58On March 16 I published a photograph of Portsmouth wearing black socks with white turnovers against Arsenal. This prompted Senior HFK Elf Tony Sealey to search his family collection and establish that the team wore their regular red socks (shown left) until at least February 1957, which suggest the black stockings were adopted for the last part of the season. Tony has also provided more details on when and why Pompey adopted red socks in te first place and corrected the 1962-63 alternate kit.

(Photograph taddyclown.co.uk)

hull city v crystal palace december 1966I came across this oddity while trawling through the Senior Tigers Club website. It's from a match between Hull City and Crystal Palace. The south London team are wearing conventional 2" stripes rather than the candy stripes they adopted at the beginning of the season. This might be a one-off but perhaps our Palace Elves can shed light on this mystery.

gillingham v charlton august 1974Last week I reported that I had removed the striped 1974-75 striped kit from the Gillingham section because I thought it was a change strip. Simon Hart has now uncovered evidence that the Gills did indeed wear stripes in at least five home matches between August and October 1974. The photographs shows them playing Aldershot in September. To confuse matters further, they also wore their new blue shirts with white flappy collars in a home match against Charlton Athletic on 31 August. These seem to have been reintroduced in October.

(Photograph Gillingham FC Scrapbook)

southend united 1965For some time I have suspected that Southend United adopted navy and white rather earlier in the Sixties than my records have shown. The evidence was sketchy, however: some photographs of their candy striped shirts (1961-65) seem very dark while I have a memory of watching them play Southport in 1966 wearing rather scruffy, faded dark blue tops but memory can play tricks. The black & white photographs I have seen from this period are equally ambiguous. This team group, kindly submitted by Peter Stevenson, appears to confirm that the Shrimpers did indeed wear navy and white during 1964-65 and almost certainly as far back as 1961.

25 March

port vale february 1962Photographic evidence submitted by Peter Stevenson confirms that Port Vale changed from black to amber shorts in January 1962. This team group was taken on 15 February, two days before Vale met Fulham in the FA Cup 5th Round two days later. Leyton Orient (February-May 1965 corrected), Halifax Town (1964-65).

I've removed the striped 1974-75 strip from the Gillingham section as I now have evidence that this was a change strip.

24 March - More from the Senior Tigers Club

Northampton Town (sequence of changes to socks between 1964 and 1967 now accurately dated), Cardiff City (1966-67), Millwall (1966-67), Bolton Wanderers (1966-67), Sheffield United (1968-69), Huddersfield Town (1969-70 shirt without crest added), Leicester City (1969-70 late).

20 March - More from the Sixties

Exeter City (1965-66), Bristol Rovers (1965-66 stripes adjusted), Shrewsbury Town (1965-66 shorts detailing added), Brentford (1965-66 facings & socks corrected), Peterborough United (1964-65, 1965-66 amended).

19 March

hull city afc 1921-22Thanks to the large collection of team photographs on the Senior Tigers Club website I've completed a substantial revision of the Hull City section between 1904 and 1964. In the process I think I have disproved a contemporary report in the Derby Daily Telegraph stating that the team had been granted permission to wear black and white in 1921-22. I have examined several team photographs from that season and found no evidence to support this but the team did switch from black to white knickers (see photo) so perhaps the writer had misunderstood his source.

Bristol City (1963-64), Barnsley (1964-65), Lincoln City (1964-65 corrected), Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic (1964-65), Gillingham (1964-65 corrected), Bristol Rovers (1964-65 detailing tweaked).

18 March

Plymouth Argyle (1958-59), Swindon Town (1958-60 V neck adjusted), Reading 1957-1958, 1958-1962 hoops redrawn), Stockport County (1956-59 socks revised), Doncaster Rovers (1958-59, 1959-60 socks corrected), Southend United (1957-59 V neck corrected), Colchester United (March 1959), Tranmere Rovers (1957-62 socks corrected), Rochdale (1958-59 V neck corrected), Cardiff City (1959-60 socks corrected), Huddersfield Town (1959-61 V neck corrected), Bristol Rovers (1959-62), Brighton & Hove Albion (1959-60 socks corrected).

17 March

hull city v carlisle 1962First feature today is of Hull City playing Carlisle United at Boothferry Park in August 1962. The visitors are wearing hooped shirts, a short-lived break with tradition that lasted just two seasons.

Southend United (1961-62, 1962-63 x2, 1963-64 added), Bristol Rovers (18 August 1962 - the team wore four different shirts that season), Crystal Palace (September 1962 - yet another variation of a classic), Workington (1962-63 added), Halifax Town (1962-63 added), Queen's Park Rangers (1962-63 corrected).

Today's photograph and much of the material posted today here comes from seniortigers.org.uk, a site dedicated to the history of Hull City AFC with some excellent galleries of team and action photographs, particularly from the early 1960s.

16 March - Bits & Bobs

arsenal v portsmouth march 1958This photograph, submitted by Dick Waite, shows Portsmouth playing Arsenal at Fratton Park in March 1958. The point of interest is that Pompey are wearing black socks with white turnovers rather than the plain red ones adopted in 1947. I haven't been able to find any other action photographs to corroborate this but we do know that a month later the team wore hooped socks when they played at Luton Town, which would make sense if the change was made to avoid a clash with the home team's socks.

Newcastle United (1975-76 change socks corrected), Dunfermline Athletic (1971-72 crest corrected), East Fife (1963-70 re-ordered), St Mirren (1966-68 reordered as warm and cold weather kits, 1968-69 added),

11 March

chelsea v chesterfield town 1905Chesterfield Town (1903-05 knickers & socks confirmed). The photograph shows the team playing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in October 1905 after Chesterfield had reverted to plain white shirts. (Photograph Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News 28 October 1905).

One of our senior HFK Elves, Richard Essen, has immersed himself in the archives brentford 1893-94of the Middlesex Independent to investigate Brentford's earliest colours and we now have an almost complete narrative from 1889 to 1903. Most notable is Richard's discovery that the team wore plain red shirts between 1892 and March 1895. These can be seen in the team photograph on the right of the team that won the Middlesex Junior Cup in April 1894.

Richard has also managed to plug the large gap in our Lincoln City records (1912-21) and discover two unrecorded Bradford (Park Avenue) strips (1916-17, 1917-18).

10 March

Aldershot Town (1992-93, 1993-95 revised, early crests updated).

leicester city 1919-20This is the first ever Leicester City team taken at the start of the 1919-20 season. As Leicester Fosse they had adopted striped shirts in 1915 but these were worn with white knickers. (1905-06 collar corrected, 1919-20, 1920-21 & 1922-23 added.)

(Photograph Leicester Mercury)

9 March

Newcastle United wore all-yellow with blue trim at Swansea City in December 1980. This was probably because the match was televised and the BBC would not allow them to wear their regular change strip (which was trimmed in green) with sponsorship. Crystal Palace strips 1973-75 now sorted into cold and warm weather versions. After negotiations with KLM broke down late in the 1994-95 season Brentford wore shirts without sponsorship. The situation continued into the following season before a deal was struck with Ericsson.

2017-18 Scottish Club Detailing Update: Rangers (2nd, 3rd), Hamilton Academical, Dunfermline Athletic.

3 March

2019-20 Update: Queens Park Rangers (new sponsor added), Middlesbrough (3rd added), Wolverhampton Wanderers (Europa League 3rd added), Dundee (3rd added).

2 March - 2016-17 Scottish Club Update

Detailing added to Rangers (2nd, 3rd), Motherwell (1st), St Johnstone (1st), Ross County (1st), Partick Thistle (1st), Dundee (1st). My thanks to Ian McConnel for this material.

International Update

Scotland: 1908 added, 1980 v Portugal added.

FIFA World Cup 1990: Colombia shorts trim corrected.

28 February - More Early Villa Material

We now know that Charles Alcock's Football Annual & the FA Handbook record Aston Villa's colours for 1877-78 as red and blue. I have moved the black and white hooped kit to the Change Kits Section. There are two primary references concerning the black and white tops worn from May 1886. In his book, The Triumphs of the Football Field, Archie Hunter mentions a "piebald uniform" and The Athletic News describes the tops as "black & white stripes." I now believe these would have been horizontal stripes.

In the course of our correspondence about Villa's colours, Bernard Gallagher sent me a quote from the Villa News & Record from January 1920 in which a journalist recalls watching Bolton Wanderers wearing "white jerseys with blobs of scarlet about the size of threepenny-bits all over them." This the first corroboration I have received of the unique tops worn by the Lancashire team around 1884. Regular visitors may recall that my original graphic for the piebald tops included red and white irregular blotches. It is now clear to me that this was due to contributors misinterpreting the 1920 account given here.

unknown victorian football teamI make no apology for presenting this photograph of a scratch team from the 1880s once again. Using clues from The Straw Plaiters website and access to old newspaper archives, Simon Monks believes he has identified the team. According to a report in the Sevenoaks Chronicle & Kent Advertiser a match was played at Goudhurst on 9 April 1885 between a team sevenoaks chronicle kent advertiser april 1885drawn from pupils and masters from Queen Elizabeth's Grammer School (Cranbrook) and a scratch team captained by Mr T de T Croft. It is known that the players standing second from the left is Algernon Haskett-Smith and, according to the report, two of his brothers also appeared in the side. Simon believes the player wearing a Kent FA cap next but one to Algernon is Walter Parry Haskett-Smith, an eminent rock climber who wrote an important book on the subject. Algernon, who appears to be wearing an Oxford University shirt, died in a shooting accident two years after this photograph was taken.

Stockport County (1906-07, 1907-08 added).

27 February

aston villa 1889-90Some more pieces of the complicated jigsaw of Aston Villa's early kit history have fallen into place. Thanks to Bernard Gallagher we finally have details of the unique halved shirts in two shades of green worn at the end of the 1883-84 season. Bernard has asked me not to reproduce the photograph while he tries to track down the owner but you can view it on his new The Claret & Blue Blog. Bernard has also suggested that the "coral and maroon" tops recorded in 1885-86 featured coral blue rather than pink and were forerunners of the familiar claret and blue. The black jerseys recorded for 1883-84 are now confirmed to be a change kit while the photograph above confirms that the "quartered" jerseys recorded for 1889-90 were in fact what we now define as halved.

(Photograph Gottfried Fuchs Blogspot.)

18 February

southend united 1910-11Our very good chum, Alick Milne, has been delving through the newspaper archives and has come up with a surprising find for 1910-11 when Southend United adopted red and gold hoops. Although no photographs are available of this outfit it did appear in a couple of cartoons published in the local press. Alick has also established that their original shirts were trimmed in black rather than navy. In the process I've also reassessed the photographic evidence that suggests the earlest shirts were light blue. Programmes and press reports, however, all burton united 1905-06describe them as "blue" or even "royal blue" so I think the quality of these images is misleading.

Alick's research confirms that the colours worn by the Burton United team in 1905-06 (right) were in fact green with red collars and cuffs. Alick also fills in quite a few gaps in the record of United's predecessor club, Burton Swifts (1886-87, added, 1892-97 knickers corrected).

South Shore (1898-99 added).

17 February

rotherham united 1927-28This faded newspaper cutting from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph (16 January 1928) is the first photographic evidence I have seen that shows Rotherham United in their original amber and black jerseys. It confirms that these were worn with white knickers rather than the black I had previously assumed. There is also evidence that United retained Rotherham Town's old blue and white striped shirts as a change strip. My thanks to Richard Essen who has also found corroboration for Norwich City's white shirts with yellow and green chevrons which places this one season earlier than previously recorded. Sadly no photograph of this unique shirt has so far come to light.

west ham 1924-25This photograph from theyflysohigh.co.uk shows West Ham United wearing unfamiliar tops in 1924-25. According to the Chelmsford Chronicle (29 August 1924) the Hammers reversed their normal jerseys for this season.

Southport (1924-25, 1925-26 socks corrected).

6 February

crystal palace 1977-78Admiral may have revolutionised football kit design in the 1970's and created the market for replica kits but they did have some issues with quality control. This photograph of the 1978-79 Crystal Palace team shows three variants on the basic design and the version with the club badge did not appear until late September.

St Johnstone (1956-57 added), Blackburn Rovers (2003-04 European kit added), Everton (1958-61 change socks corrected), Wolverhampton Wanderers (1979 crest replaced), Birmingham City (1992 crest replaced),

5 February - More Miscellany

Oldham Athletic (1987-89 graphics put into correct order and additional versions added), Kidderminster Harriers (1984-85 socks corrected), Lincoln City (1987-89 corrected), Rushden & Diamonds (2000-02 collar altered), Scarborough (1999-2000 shorts & socks corrected), West Bromwich Albion (1984-86 "No Smoking" sponsor logo replaced), Tranmere Rovers (2005-07 trim colour corrected).

4 February - Historical Miscellany

halifax town 1928-29Halifax Town (1926-29 socks confirmed - see left, newcastle utd 1957 floodlights kit1934-34 & 1943-44 added), Luton Town (1970 crest corrected), Liverpool (1923-24 change strip added), Salford Amateurs (1963-64 added).

This unusual Newcastle United shirt first appeared in my inbox some considerable time ago but we have not been able to place it. In December, however, Phil Marriott spotted it on the club's Advent Calendar Twitter feed along with a long overdue explanation of its origin. It dates from November 1957 and was worn in a series of mid-week friendlies under improvised floodlights.

31 January - 2019-20 Update

Premier League: Chelsea (FA Cup special kit added), Southampton (4th added).

League One: Doncaster Rovers (charity kit added), Lincoln City (3rd shorts/socks confirmed), Portsmouth (2nd shirt trim added).

League Two: Crawley Town (1st socks corrected, 3rd added), Exeter City (2nd shirt detail added), Newport County (1st, 2nd shorts updated) Port Vale (1st, 2nd trim colour adjusted), Stevenage (charity kit added), Swindon Town (1st shorts trim added), Walsall (3rd shirt trim added), Bradford City (3rd shorts/socks trim added).

28 January

Richard Wall from the Suffolk FA has provided confirmation that Ipswich Town switched from dark blue shirts to stripes in 1888 although the team captain refused to wear the new shirts.

Richard Essen has been scouring the newspapers from the mid-twenties and come up with some little gems. Halifax Town (1926-27), Southend United (1922-23), Ashington (1923-24 socks updated), Aberdare Athletic (1924-27), Exeter City (switch from white to navy knickers confirmed 1924-25).

qpr 1926-27Following on from Richard's email of 2 December I've added the navy and white strip worn in Queen's Park Rangers' opening fixtures of 1926-27, presumably because the new blue and white shirts were not ready in time (see photograph left).

The cuttings also confirm that Sunderland switched from navy to black knickers in 1926-27. There are also two references to West Ham United playing in red, white and blue jerseys instead of red and blue but I want to have this corroborated.

27 January

After an extended mid-winter break I'm back in the saddle and to kick-off I'd like to tie up a few loose ends from the Victorian period. Polytechnic (1893 missing graphic restored), Peterhouse College Cambridge (1886), Swifts (1877 cap unknown victorian football teamadded & crest corrected), Reigate Priory (1892 updated from photograph), Rushden (1893), St Albans (1895), 2nd Scots Guards (1891), Wellingborough Town (1883), Wolverton LNWR (1890), Strathmore (1891), Derby Junction (1890).

This wonderful photograph of an unknown Victorian team has featured before on HFK and it appears to show a scratch side of chums wearing their club or university shirts gathered together in a park somewhere. The player standing third from the left is wearing a Swifts shirt of 1877 vintage.

south shore fc 1893-94I've incorporated two South Shore strips (1879-80, 1893-94) into the Blackpool record. The two clubs merged in December 1899 when The Seasiders were briefly out of the Football League. The combined club was re-elected the following season (1900) and continue to play at South Shore's Bloomfield Road ground to this day. On the right is the 1893-94 South Shore team.

strathmore fc 1891-92On the left is a very rare photograph of Strathmore FC from 1891-92. They merged with Johnstone Wanderers in 1894 and as Dundonians FC they successfully applied for a place in the Scottish Football League. Following objections from Dundee FC they changed their name to Dundee Wanderers before the start of the season. They found the standard too tough and after finishing next to last, they were not re-elected in 1895.

(South Shore and Strathmore photographs courtesy of The Straw Plaiters.)

10 December - Villa's Piebald Shirts: A Mystery Solved?

On 29 November I wrote about the enigmatic "piebald" shirts worn by Aston Villa around 1886. While Bernard Gallagher was the first to mention these to me in 2009, other Villa experts have also found references to them over time. When I looked into this more closely, the term seems to have been first used in Triumphs of the Football Field Narrated by Archie Hunter" first published in 1890. This volume was reprinted in 1997 so I bought a copy and found the relevant passage on page 154.

"I may also mention that this year (1887) the leopards changed their spots - or rather, the Villa changed their colours, which is, perhaps, simpler. In November we decided to put aside the piebald uniform, which was inartistic and never popular and we donned in its place the light blue and cardinal vertically striped jerseys which afterwards became so well known (emphasis added).

archie hunter aston villa fc 1887The significance of this passage is that there is no mention of the old shirts being red and white. As I pointed out last month "piebald" means black and white and we know that the team wore stripes in these colours from at least May 1886. Furthermore I have been harbouring doubts that the looms in use at the time were capable of producing fabric with random blotches of colour, an impression confirmed by a recent visit to the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry. Indeed we now know that looms capable of producing fabric with vertical stripes were a recent invention. My conclusion therefore is that the piebald tops were in fact the black and white striped shirts first reported in The Athletic News of May 1886.

Hunter's book is, by the way, well worth seeking out. First published in The Birmingham Weekly Mercury in 1890, it is in the form of a series of extended interviews which makes for a discursive style full of the sort of conversational flourishes you might expect from a pair of Victorian chaps relaxing over brandy and cigars. Hence, I suppose, Hunter using the word "piebald" rather than the more pedestrian "black and white stripes."

Archie Hunter was a skillful dribbler and prolific scorer who joined Villa in 1878 by accident. A commanding skipper. He was forced to retire after suffering a heart attack in a vampires fc 1893match against Everton in 1890. He died four years later at the age of 35.

Eminent Victorians Southern Section: Dulwich Hamlet, Crouch End, Vampires (photograph left - note the fab badge).

Eminent Victorians Midlands Section: Kettering.

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