Champions League Final

Posted by John Devlin

I see Manchester United will wear all white in the all-Nike Champions League Final tonight. Of course, the last time the club played Barcelona in a major European Final (Cup Winners Cup 1991) they also wore all white – and they won! An omen perhaps?

Bukta today

Posted by John Devlin

bukta-logoOne of the more welcome football kit revivals in recent years has been that of Bukta.

In terms of history, heritage and British origins there are few sportswear companies that can compete with Bukta. In fact the firm are the longest established football kit apparel manufacturers in England, if not the world with some of their first kits adorning the backs of Nottingham Forest in 1884.

In 2005 the brand was relaunched and is beginning to make a real impact in the football kit scene once again. The 09-10 season will see the company supply kits for Millwall, Chesterfield, Dundee, Greenock Morton, Forfar Athletic and Brechin City. I hope to be able to reveal these brand new kits throughout the summer.

One of Bukta’s strong points is that they are providing bespoke kit for professional clubs rather than only having a few template designs to choose from a catalogue.

whitley-bay-homeAs well as supplying professional sides Bukta also signed up with Whitley Bay FC who gave the company their first club at the new Wembley Stadium on Sunday 10th May in the Carlsberg FA Vase Final. Bukta provided the side (who won the game against Glossop North End 2–0) with a bespoke kit for the final with 3,000 replica tops for supporters, turning this order around in three weeks and making the kits in the UK.

bukta-teamwear-logoBukta Teamwear can also supply superb quality kits to amateur sides – click below to visit their site and find out more:


Secondary Sponsorship in the Premier League

Posted by John Devlin

I’ve just been working on some Championship kits for the 08-09 kits page (frantically trying to complete them before the new season!) and was just wondering why the Premier League still does not allow secondary sponsorship on the back of the shirts and shorts. Seems really odd to me considering the Football League have been allowing this for a good few seasons now. I just can’t see the logic behind not permitting them. Does anyone know why?

SPAOTP – Vote for your favourite Arsenal shirt

Posted by John Devlin

The excellent Some People are on the Pitch (SPAOTP) website has another of their popular Shirt Legend polls on the go – this time its the turn of Arsenal and like the previous features on past Liverpool and Scotland kits you have the opportunity to vote for your favourite Gunners shirt from the past:

The site is well worth a visit – I urge you to check out the poll at:

Ich bein ein bluenose – Birmingham City’s German Flag Kit

Posted by John Devlin

Birmingham City Third Kit 72-74

Conversations concerning memorable kits from the past often omit one of the more bizarre outfits worn in recent years: Birmingham City’s third shirt from the 72-73 and 73-74 seasons – the era of Bob Latchford, Trevor Francis and the club’s iconic blue and white ‘Penguin’ home strip.

Thanks to its resplendent amber, red and black thirds, the curiously coloured concoction is fondly remembered as the ‘German flag shirt’. Legend has it that the design originated from a pre-season tour of Germany when a Birmingham board member thought it would be a good idea to dress the team in the country’s colours.

The Umbro-produced jersey was only actually worn a handful of times competitively. It was originally unleashed on an unsuspecting and rather shocked set of travelling Blues fans in the 1972 1st Division 2-2 draw at West Bromwich Albion whose white and navy stripes clashed, not only with Birmingham’s home ‘Penguin’ shirt, but also its red and white away equivalent. Supporters credited the shirt with an assist that evening as depending on which way the Birmingham players were facing, the unique three-panelled jersey rendered them almost invisible under the floodlights, allowing Bob Latchford to pop up undetected to claim Blues’ late equaliser against their local rivals – and his own brother, Peter, in goal.

The kit also appeared twice the following season at Queens Park Rangers (another 2-2 draw followed by a 2-0 FA Cup win for the Hoops), before being consigned to the back of the St Andrews’ kit cupboard.

Despite supporters’ mixed opinions the shirt has entered the club’s folklore and modern day replica versions are still sold today.

Although the ‘Penguin’ was reinstated at St Andrews in 2007 with the return of Umbro, it remains to be seen whether the ‘German flag’ will ever fly once more on the backs of the Blues’ players.

(Despite conversations with two Blues fans – one, the club historian – that confirmed my research, since this article was originally published in issue 6 of Backpass Magazine it has been pointed out that this kit was actually first worn a week earlier then stated in a match against Spurs.)

Almost Weekly Blog 2 May

Posted by John Devlin

The new league kits are starting to appear and I have to say I think we are in for a vintage year of kit design.

chelsea-09-10Chelsea, Newcastles, Wolves and Leeds are among the big name teams who have unveiled their 09-10 designs and for me the Chelsea one is the pick of the bunch. The leaked pictures earlier in the year proved to be genuine and show the famous Chelsea blue in a stunning ‘cycle top’ style shirt.  The shirt features a neat collar with zip up neck and an interesting curved design across the chest (cruelly described by some as a ‘sports-bra’ housing the sponsors’ logo. The adidas three stripe trim has been segmented to leave space for the Premier League patch on each sleeve. Its just so different from anything else around and although it is very different from it, like the Umbro England kit it really shows a new generation of kit design thinking after years of reasonably stale creations.

Newcastle have returned to a more traditional arrangement of their iconic stripes after years of altering them and cutting them up with inserted panels of black or white. Its another good, clean design with just the right amount of detailed that doesn’t detract from the overall effect.

Le Coq Sportif’s new Wolves outfit shows a return of a single primary colour for the club shirt with just the right amount of contrasting trim. I think too many kits lately have been shoe-horning in a second colour in the form of additional side, sleeve or shoulder panels and giving it almost equal prominence to the main colour. Perhaps this is the reason for so many kit clash issues of late? I’m hoping that more kits now will revert to focussing on the club’s colour rather than adding unnecessary amounts of, normally, white.

The Leeds shirt is a bit of a disappoinment. It introduces a large floppy collar and an asymmetrical blue and yellow panel on the left hand side. Somehow for me it doesn’t work as well as some of the other recent simple, elegant Leeds designs. Maybe its trying too hard.

New on the site this week is the conclusion of the popular Melchester Rovers kit section bringing the story up to 2001 – the last time we saw the legendary team in action. There’s still a few away kits missing  though, so if you are a Melchester fan and can help fill in the gaps please contact me.

I’ve also added Reading’s 08-09 kits to the 08-09 kit page – I am hoping I can finish this section before the 09-10 season starts! Illustrating the backs of the shirts with the squad names has proved very time-consuming.

Finally, I discovered an interesting Daily Mail article about football shirts that doesn’t churn out the tired old diatribe of “rip-offs!’. It looks at the recent trend of leaked new designs online. It seems the growing culture of football kit design obsessives is reaching the national press! You can read the article here: