Sportswear Brand Histories – Bukta

Posted by John Devlin

bukta logoFormed in 1879 by Edward R Buck and Sons, Bukta are the longest established football kit apparel manufacturers in England, if not the world. Their first kits were produced way back in 1884 for Nottingham Forest – although of course it was to be nearly 100 years later until sportswear companies’ logos were permitted on football apparel.

The firm produced kits for a consistently high number of clubs throughout the 1900s and in the 60s they supplied more teams than any other brand including that of the England national side.

Newcastle utd home shirt 76-80 bukta kit jerseyBukta’s popularity continued into the 70s with high profile deals with West Ham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle Utd. Later in the decade the brand were given a valuable dose of publicity when George Best joined Scottish side Hibernian who sported shirts featuring a massive Bukta logo as part of a kit supplier/sponsorship package.

west ham utd home shirt bukta 89-91 kit jerseyHowever the 80s saw the firm’s flame fade and despite three logos changes and deals with Crystal Palace (for whom they produced a phenomally large number of different kits in just a few short years), West Ham and Derby the company folded as the 90s took hold. The brand suffered further indignity as several of their designs were worn the season after with a new logo simply stitched over the Bukta marque (see the Watford and Derby kits from the early 90s). Obviously in those days team kits were not as plentiful as they are now.

The Bukta brand, now owned by the Cavden Group is making a welcome comeback in 2007 with a new kit deal with Motherwell – no doubt football kit fans throughout the UK will hope to see more of this famous old company on the shirts of their heroes in the coming years.


27 Responses to “Sportswear Brand Histories – Bukta”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Was wondering if you knew whether a Bukta archive exists, perhpas held by the company? In particular, I had a very cool Hibernian away kit in the late 1970’s (when George Best played briefly for Hibs, dark purple with yellow bukta flash on sleeves, and large Bukta logotype on chest (I believe the first permitted shirt sponsor deal).

  2. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Stephen – thanks for your comment. It seems most sportswear companies don’t keep archives that go back that far which is a real pity. I know of several companies who have been trying to find out more about their heritage in recent years. I know of the Bukta kit you mention though. It certainly was a bizarre effort. I was always under the impression that a purple kit (minus the Bukta) logo was worn sometimes as a home kit when TV cameras were present and the regular sponsored shirt could not be worn. I believe the theory was that the fact that the club were not wearing their standard strip would be a talking point amongst TV commentators meaning that indirectly the club’s sponsors would arise in conversation. Do you know if theres any truth in this story?

  3. jack williams Says:

    hey, does anybody know where i can get retro West Ham tops.
    please reply back

  4. Larry Duncan Says:

    Hi I am the sales director of Bukta Teamwear and we are considering releasing a retro West Ham top later in the year,keep an eye out on our website http://www.buktateamwear.com

  5. Jose Angel Says:

    Hello everybody. I recall a Sevilla FC kit by Bukta in the late 90s. If I’m not wrong, this is the only time that this company has manufactured shirts for a Spanish team. Does anyone know anything about it?

  6. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Jose, I found this shirt on classicfootballshirts.com:

    http://www.truecoloursfootballkits.com/?attachment_id=585

    This must be the era you refer to, 1991-1993 (some good players were at Sevilla at the time, Maradona, Suker Simeone. I must admit I had no idea Bukta made kits for anyone outside of the UK.

  7. Jon Says:

    I remember that Sevilla kit, it was used from 1991 to halfway through the 92/93 season when they changed to a different kit design with red bands on the sleeves, a red foldover collar and more controversially a manufacturers logo in the same style and typeface as the Bukta logo, but with “Front R” on it!

    Sevilla wasn’t the only club in Spain to have kits made by Bukta – Xerez CF (Spanish 2nd division) also wore a Bukta kit in 91/92.

    There’s a strange thing about Bukta’s demise. I remember Crystal Palace halfway through the 92/93 season switch to Ribero, and of course Watford and Derby putting their own logos over the Bukta logo, but I do remember Millwall and Leyton Orient wearing Bukta kits up to the 93/94 season!

  8. John Devlin Says:

    Didn’t realise that about Millwall and Orient Jon, I’ll check that out.

  9. Jon Says:

    More than that, I found out that Orient wore their Bukta kits up to the end of the 94/95 season even though the company had gone bust and other Bukta-supplied teams had rebadged their shirts or changed supplier.

    It’s quite odd that the likes of Palace changed to Ribero and Watford rebadged their kits halfway though the 92/93 season, yet others like West Ham didn’t, and then for the 93/94 season Derby started wearing Bukta after a few years wearing Umbro.

    Very curious indeed!

  10. iain Says:

    Hi all I wondered what you made of this pack of six unopened Bukta football hose from the 1940/50s?
    Any ideas what team they might be for?

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=280334217406

  11. John Devlin Says:

    Looks like that link is not live and more Iain – can you give any more details about the socks?

  12. James Says:

    Bukta made the coolest footy shirts ever. Palace had about ten different versions in a 4/5 year spell and all were absolute belters, especially the ‘Fly Virgin’ efforts!

    I really hope someone at Bukta takes note and starts doing some re-issues from their back catalogue – They’d be onto a mint!

  13. Dan Says:

    Does anyone know anything about 89-90 west ham away kits minus the sponser as i have one and am unsure as to its rarity

  14. wendy Says:

    i was a.. model in 1960 bukta catalogue and woild love to see a copy if one is available

  15. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Wendy – how exciting, what a claim to fame! I will certainly see if I can track down a copy of the catalogue, Have you any memories of the photo shoot?

  16. Ivanchu Says:

    Sevilla F.C. used Bukta from season 1990-1991, until 1993-1994. both inclusive. (In the season 1992-1993 Sevilla F.C. alternated Bukta shirts with Front Runner shirts. (Front Runner belongs to Bukta). In the 1993-1994 Sevilla F.C. used Hot shots shirts (another label made by bukta) That is the period of Sevilla wearing Bukta.
    Visit my site were you can see all shirts used by Sevilla in history
    http://www.galeon.com/anibalgonzalez/

  17. John Devlin Says:

    Thank you Ivanchu for the info – and what an EXCELLENT site you have!! Cheers

  18. alan Says:

    hi. my dad is a massive west ham fan and has a very old bukta top still and loves it to this day. however it has aged and i was hope’n perhaps it would be possible to still purchase them from somewhere. its a long sleeved all claret top exept for the collar its a tall white collar and white v kneck with only two buttons. also the west ham logo on the left breast and Bukta on the right are stiched in blue. any help if possible would be much appricated.

  19. Nick Smith Says:

    Bukta made some wicked shirts for Sheffield Wednesday in the 70’s

    We NEED a re-issue please!!!!!!!

  20. RobG Says:

    Good to see this chat still going. Back to the Hibs link at the top – the (probably dodgy) story at the time was because (as mentioned above) the TV co’s wouldn’t allow BUKTA advertising, Hibs and Bukta agreed to use the worst possible combination of colours in the strip – hence: purple top, yellow/green sleeves, green/blue shorts, purple socks etc. In my late teens/early 20’s at the time, the top sold like hot-cakes.

  21. DavidM Says:

    I would love the authentic Newcastle top shown on this page. Retro suppliers are ok, but I want the bukta symbols on the sleeves and shirt, can you help?

  22. Toffs Says:

    Hi David, we are now manufacturing Newcastle & other teams shirts with the original Bukta trim & logos on. These can be ordered on toffs.com

  23. John Devlin Says:

    Thats a coincidence – I was looking at the Toffs Newcastle Bukta shirt only today – looks great, one of the best retro kits you’ve don IMO.

  24. Nick Says:

    John, Dennis and others – have you seen the question posed here? http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/mar/07/the-knowledge-unused-kits

    You must have a raft of answers to this. Worthy of a new blog post, perhaps? (apologies if I’ve missed it)

  25. Mark Says:

    Reading had some great Bukta kits in the 70’s/ 80’s, is there any plans to make a retro version?

  26. Alan Says:

    try this website it has the purple Hibs kit
    http://www.shopzilla.co.uk/bukta/products/?start=40

  27. Alan Says:

    http://www.shopzilla.co.uk/bukta/products/?start=40

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