Wales Kits 1976-1990

Posted by John Devlin

Tracking down international kits history can be extremely difficult – mainly due to the relatively few games that are played on the international arena (until fairly recently) and the sparse photographic evidence that emerges from games.

The Wales kit history is particularly complex with more twists and turns than most. Since True Colours 2 was published several missing Wales outfits have been brought to my attention – primarily thanks to Simon ‘Shakey’ Shakeshaft at the rather excellent www.footballmatchshirts.co.uk. Shakey is a massive collector of Wales match worn shirts and has been able to give me a more complete rundown of Wales’ strips and correct a few mistakes.

Some of these kits have been included in the updates section of my site but I thought it might be good to go through them again here, along with the two classic Admiral kits of the late 70s:

Wales Home Kit 1976-1980Wales Away Kit 1976-1980

Admiral’s kit design revolution extended to the Wales national team in 1976 with a design very familiar to all football kit afficianados. Known affectionately as the ‘tramlines’ the kit featured arched yellow and green strips that extended onto the shorts. The badges was placed centrally with an Admiral logo cunningly placed on each large wing collar ensuring they would appear prominently in every mug shot of a Welsh player – marketing genius! The away version retained the design and simply flipped the colours.

Wales Home Kit 1980-1983Wales Away Kit 1980-1984Wales Third Kit 1982-1984Wales Home Kit 1983-1984

Wales entered the 80s with a smart new set of outfits from adidas. The red shirt now also featured white sleeves accompanied by the trademark adidas three stripe trim. The shorts featured large red panels on each leg. The away kit once again mirrored that of the home. One of the rarest of all Wales shirts was the white third kit that was issued in 1982 (missing from True Colours 2). Never worn, the shirt featured green pinstripes and was paired with green shorts and white socks. In late 1983 the home kit went through a slight modification with shadow pinstripes added to the shirt fabric and the shorts switched to a more standard adidas three stripe pair. This kit was only worn in 2 or 3 games in 1983 and 1984.

Wales Home Kit 1984-1987Wales Away Kit 1984-1987

The second and final set of adidas kits saw the introduction of  home design featuring a sequence of horizontal white pinstripes across the chest. It was a curious design that, as far as I’m aware, was not employed by an other adidas teams of the era. The away shirt for this period was not, as included in True Colours 2, a reversed version of the home, but was in fact a rather plain yellow and green ensemble. It is a common held belief that the away kit of this period was white – a misconception that has its origins with Subbuteo who produced a miniature Welsh side in that very kit.

Wales Home Kit 1987-1990Wales Away Kit 1987-1990Wales Third Kit 1987-1990

The Welsh side ended the decade in this superb set of kits from Danish sportswear giants Hummel. Often criticised at the time, in my view they made classy strips with adventurous designs. The Welsh home was now all red with non-contrasting V-neck and cuffs and white chevron trim and piping. The shirt fabric also featured a shadow chevron design. The away shirt was not yellow and green as I illustrated it in True Colours 2, but in fact strangely yellow and black. Finally, another rare design that slipped through the True Colours net was this white version of the home kit that was worn with the home shorts and unique white socks. This third kit was only worn once, in a 1-0 defeat to Holland in an Italia 90 World Cup qualifier. It was decided that the orange of Holland was just too close to both the Welsh home and away shirts of the time.


31 Responses to “Wales Kits 1976-1990”

  1. Shakey Says:

    Superb John, loving this.
    The Admiral kits are of course the most iconic for all us fortysomethings! The yellow kit was only ever worn twice, away to Czechoslovakia (1977) and suprisingly at home to Malta (1978) and is an extremely rare match worn shirt style.
    The two white Adidas 1982-84 and Hummel shirts were never available as replica’s. Infact the white Adidas, -was believed to have been worn by the Under 18 youth team- when seen for the first time, was like discovering a new species, total joy!
    Would it be appropriate to ask if anybody knows the whereabouts of a example of the white Hummel they could get in touch? Its become a bit of a holy grail now.

  2. Chris O Says:

    Excellent stuff again, John. I don’t know why but that home strip from 1980 to 1983 made a big impression on me as a young lad. I absolutely loved it, and better still, I could use my Arsenal Subbuteo team as Wales for international matches… :)

    That aside, I also really like the 84-87 home shirt, which I always associate with Mark Hughes for some reason. As for the tramline kits, I love them (and all the others based on the same template) because they’re just so nuts!

  3. Jon Says:

    The 84-87 shirt was one of my all-time favourites and brings back a lot of memories of Mark Hughes scoring two famous goals in his home town – the winner against England in 1984 and of course THAT volley against Spain in 1985…. oh and it also reminds me of the heartache of the Scotland game when they had another dodgy penalty to knock us out of World Cup qualifying!

    I never knew that white and green kit in the early 80’s ever existed, haha well I learn something new every day, always thought us Welsh had a curious kit history and it’s proving so!

  4. Shakey Says:

    Sparky’s debut when he headed the winner against England in the last ever Home International match between the two was also the first outing of the 1984-87 shirt….. and then that volley v Spain in ’85!!!

    The white Hummel shirt was the first time Wales Senior team had ever worn a white shirt, the third different choice of away colour used upto that date.

    Oh and John you must not forget the home red Admiral tramlines shirt was also made as an “airtex” version, worn against the likes of Iran, Kuwait, West Germany -in December!!- and the Home International Championship in 1979.

  5. Andrew Rockall Says:

    One of my first footballing memories was Wales gubbing England 4-1 in the Adidas kit at Wrexham, it was just before my 6th birthday.

  6. Jon Says:

    I never knew that pinstriped version of the Arsenal style kit ever existed until now. I guess it was used in the closing stages of our Euro 84 qualifying campaign where we were seconds away from qualification.

    I really like that Admiral kit, such a classic, so much so that you see a lot of Welsh fans wearing the reproduction versions that you can buy these days. And of course it’s synonymous with our one and only win at Wembley!

    I know yellow has been our main away kit colour but didn’t we have a green away kit with a yellow collar in around about 1972? I’m sure I recall seeing old television footage of us wearing such a kit.

  7. Shakey Says:

    You are correct Jon, Wales wore a green with yellow round neck and cuffs made by Umbro in the World Cup Qualifier against Poland in September 1973.

    Again another kit in the Wales away shirt armoury only worn on this one occasion.

  8. John Devlin Says:

    There is NOTHING Shakey doesn’t know about Wales kits!

  9. Jon Says:

    Cheers for confirming that one Shakey, if I recall didn’t Poland give us a comprehensive beating as well that night? No wonder it was a kit which only got used just once!

    I hated it whenever we had a green away kit because I consider it to be unlucky, I think we only won one game whilst wearing green and even that was a home kit due to a kit clash, if my memory serves me correctly.

    Anyway when was the first time we started to wear an all-red kit? Wasn’t it in the mid-to-late 1960’s?

  10. Shakey Says:

    Can’t understand the dislike of the green shirt Jon? I mean we were wearing green and white halfs when the record win was achieved, 11-0 v Ireland in 1888 ;-)

    Seriously since the 3-0 drubbing by Poland, Wales have worn 3 other different styles of green shirts -thats not including green pin stripes, sleeves, Dragons! or other green trimmings that the shirts have included over the years- and actually won two games. I think the home game you are referring to is the 1-0 win over the mighty Moldova?! in that strange Umbro petrol green/grey concoction, the other win in green coming against Malta in a Lotto number during 1998. But two wins and a draw out of seven games wearing green since 1995 is not a great record so maybe future designers should take into consideration your concerns Jon!

    Not sure what you mean about all red kit? Traditionally Wales have since 1905 worn red shirts, white shorts and red stockings (there’s oldfashioned!). The first all red shirt worn without the usual white trim around collar and cuffs was made by Umbro/John Sharpe and worn in 1967, up until the end of 1974 which Bukta continued until end of 1975 (both had white shorts!) and then the marvellous Admiral tramlines arrived, which to my knowledge was the first official choice of red shorts.

  11. Jon Says:

    Sorry about that confusion Shakey, I meant the first time we wore red shirts, red shorts and red socks instead of the traditional red-white-red combination.

  12. john Says:

    i had the admiral tramlines subbuteo team,i’ve also got a ‘espana 82′ jigsaw with the mascot ‘naranjito’ on one side and England v Wales on the other side from that 4-1 game at wrexham,i can even remember the game being live on t.v.
    The design for the Wales 84 kit was the design they used on tracksuits wasnt it?

  13. John Devlin Says:

    Cheers everyone – seems a lot of people have a secret interest in Wales kits! I remember very well the first adidas outfit but also being rather confused by the second one with the horizontal bands across the chest – they seemed so random! The Hummel kits were smart though!

  14. Jon Says:

    I’ve definitely seen Adidas tracksuits used by Spain in 1983 which had an identical design to our 1984 kit.

    I remember Adidas in 1984 had quite a number of unique national team designs – Belgium had some kind of jacquard print on the front which looked more suited to the golf course than a football pitch, and France had a kit which featured a red horizontal band with three thinner white bands underneath. So good was that kit that they had a modernised version for the 1998 World Cup (which they won of course).

    Anyway I’ve found some more info on Wales kits of the past. In late 1966 we wore the red shirt with white collar/cuffs but with red shorts at Wembley in the Home International championship. That’s quite a curious one seeing as we’d worn the same shirt and socks, but with white shorts for much of the 60’s. I’ve also seen the plain red shirt worn with red shorts from the late 60’s early 70’s as well.

    I’ve also seen a picture of a Wales kit with a yellow flappy collar with triangle insert and yellow numbers, think this kit was used between 1972 and 1974 but I’m really not sure. Maybe Shakey can clear that one up!

  15. Jon Says:

    Anyway I had a look at Shakey’s Wales Match Shirts site and found the answer to the my query over the red shirt with yellow flappy collar – it was a one-off used in 1972 made by Bukta rather than usual suppliers Umbro.

    Can you imagine something like that happening today?!

  16. Shakey Says:

    And supplied by a local sports shop in Cardiff who sponsored the kit worn that day!!! Like you say Jon, unbelievable, and due to contractual situations couldn’t possibily happen today….. or could it?
    What if JJB’s who own the franchise for Champion Sports in the UK go bust? The company is in trouble if the rumours are to be believed, so if it goes “Pete Tong” for them The FAW will need to find themselves another kit supplier, whilst a contract exsists with JJB’s. Just a throught?

    On other subjects, Wales first wore red shorts in 1967 and wore an all red kit up until 1972, but on many occasions during this time, white shorts made an appearance. Got to be honest Jon, i’m not particularly interested in the shorts so don’t very often look below the shirt hem ;-) My interest is only really in the shirt designs and styles.

    To my knowledge, Wales were the only club or country to use the Adidas 1984 to 87 style on shirts but Spain did use it as did Wales, on their tracksuits. This has happened on a number of occasions one of the most famous being Manchester United using an Admiral “tramlines” tracksuit top design in the mid 70’s but of course never used a “tramlines” shirt design.

  17. Jon Says:

    The new Wales away shirt is out this week – an all-white kit as was previous rumoured, but the design is different to the existing home and third shirts already on general sale.

    It is yet another strange story in FAW merchandising history that an away shirt gets revealed months after the third shirt was already available to buy, but a new adult-size away shirt will cost £20, brand new – an absolute snip!

    The other shirts have also dropped in price, which does make me feel a bit short-changed having bought the home and third shirts at full price.

    But funny you mention the Pete Tong bit Shakey, I have a strong feeling that the FAW will be changing supplier soon enough. I have read that JJB’s other supplied team Wigan Athletic are set to announce a change of kit supplier and sponsor, and their stadium is set to be renamed, cutting all ties with JJB. It is obviously down to financial reasons, and with Wales shirts being cheap to buy that is one typical sign of a company putting products at a clearance price to drum up sales when the finances are in a state.

    It reminds me of our old deal with Lotto, in 2000 they seemed to disappear from the UK market and we ended up wearing an interim strip from Kappa until the official shirts got released.

  18. Shakey Says:

    Agree with you Jon, i also believe we will see a new kit supplier for the Wales national team sooner rather than later. What about Under Armour? The WRU kit supplier, who after a few teething problems make excellent products. Just a suggestion!!

    On the subject of the new white away kit, my question is why make it the away 2nd shirt?? Traditionally Wales, whether you like the it or not, have always had yellow as their away colour of shirt choice.

    Although they are releasing the white shirt before the two forthcoming World Cup Qualifiers, when and how often is it going to be worn??

    Yes when Lotto disappeared Kappa’s interim home shirt with the central chest national crest and strange white trim on the collar became a very sought after players shirt. The rarest players shirt of modern times.

  19. Jon Says:

    Under Armour make some quality products but from what I’ve seen of their football kits so far, namely the kits they supply for Hannover 96 in the German Bundesliga, they are a bit pedestrian in design.

    It is odd that the new away kit is being released now but I’m wondering if the plan was to stagger the release of away kits like the other home nations do, so that we were getting one new kit per year instead of two? Obviously with JJB in financial difficulty that plan might be shelved with a new supplier coming in. Who knows? Whatever way I can’t even see the kit being used in any of the remaining World Cup qualifying matches and the next two games coming up just happen to be against white-shirted teams in Finland and Germany.

    I’m fully in agreeance with you that yellow is our traditional away colour and it should stay that way. The current yellow kit is perfectly functional as a change kit, so this white one is rather superfluous, unless we play Holland again.

    Still at least its not green!

    Those interim Kappa kits in 2000 were strange, it looked like a training kit, and was strangely paired with white socks!

  20. Jon Says:

    Was talking to a mate yesterday about the new away shirt and he reckoned the design looks like a rip-off of an old Wigan Athletic home shirt from the JJB era. After doing a bit of digging he was spot on – Wigan’s home shirt from the 06/07 season is EXACTLY the same design, obviously with different colours.

    What is it with the FAW and kit suppliers who bring back old designs? Kappa did it a few times, the black John Charles kit, for example, was a similar shirt template to the home shirt used in Euro 2004 qualifying, introduced a full three years previous!

  21. john Says:

    i remember the Man United admiral tracksuit with the tramlines,dont think it lasted long,soon to be replaced by the white one with 3 black stripes…just like the away kits.
    http://yfrog.com/6qadmiraltrackiej

  22. john Says:

    i remember the Man United admiral tracksuit with the tramlines,dont think it lasted long,soon to be replaced by the white one with 3 black stripes…just like the away kits.
    http://img242.imageshack.us/my.php?image=admiraltrackie.jpg

  23. John Devlin Says:

    Thats a fine-looking article of clothing John – never seen it before. I remember the white/3 black stripes one. I always thought United looking really menacing in their Admiral kits – don’t know why though!!

  24. john Says:

    didnt think the link worked!! the admiral red shirt was my first proper ‘replica’ closely followed by the white/3 black stripes shirt.United brought out a special ‘Centenary’ shirt for the 78/79 season,the shirt was basically the same but the badge was different…..as much as i mithered and cried my mum refused to buy me one!!

  25. mark Says:

    can’t believe it, been looking for this tracktop for last 4 years at least!! would love to be able to buy one? obviously copy, but don’t mind, thought they look smart and would love one. if anyone can advise, much appreciated. United till I die, Salford.

  26. john b Says:

    mark,the united track top was on ebay.i always keep my eye out for old United stuff on there.

  27. discodavid26 Says:

    to shakey and others! ??? if yellow is the the welsh 1st choice as away shirt/kit what is their 1st choice of goalies kit? they always seem to go for yellow or green whatever the away kit is not at the time also seen big nev in sky/navy blue against west germany in late 80s

  28. Jon Says:

    I know yellow was used as the first-choice Welsh goalkeeper jersey colour up until the 1980’s, very much like the other home nations at the time. I assume that green was the second-choice at the time, for use alongside the away kit, and when facing teams wearing yellow shirts. I can’t confirm it though as the only pictures I’ve seen have been in black & white.

    In the 70’s there was also an orange shirt, and a blue one, and when Admiral made our kit there was a sky blue shirt worn in tandem with the away kit.

    From 1980 onwards when adidas took over as supplier there wasn’t a particular first-choice keeper kit – several colours were used for 20 years with different kit manufacturers. I certainly remember a Jorge Campos-inspired shocking pink shirt used by one of our goalkeepers in 1996!

    After a few games in 2000 when Kappa now supplied the kit, navy blue seemed to be the regular first-choice keeper kit, with green as second. This was changed in 2002 for black, with a light blue second choice, and then in 2004 a dark grey kit with red trim, with another light blue second choice keeper kit.

    When Wales adopted that 1958-inspired set of home and away kits, the home keeper kit was all-black with white collar, with a purple second kit. Another keeper kit, in yellow, appeared when the white third kit was revealed. For our final Kappa kit in 2007, green and orange kits were used by the goalkeeper.

    And finally to the present kits by Champion – black is the first-choice keeper kit, with yellow or green kits also used.

  29. discodavid26 Says:

    Cheers thank you Jon -love to learn why/what gk colours diffent nations go for year to year and what if any go by tradition i can now claim to be up to speed with the welsh team as well as england germany france and italy no 1s……..

  30. Jon Says:

    If anyone’s interested, here’s a picture of the new Welsh shirt, made by Umbro and will be used for the first time in the friendly match with Luxembourg on 11th August…

    http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/5074/1robertearnshaw.jpg

    It will be the first time we’ll be wearing Umbro in 14 years, after the previous kit deal ended in 1996. The shirt looks very much like the same design used on the away kits of Blackburn and Sunderland, as well as the home kits of Swansea City and Nottingham Forest. The plain red design makes it reminiscent of the Umbro kit from the late 60’s-early 70’s, which was completely red with yellow numbers. I’m unsure what the shorts and socks will be like, but they will probably be plain red.

    Though typically of the FAW there hasn’t been an official kit launch. But then again what else do you expect from a tuppence-ha’penny of a football organisation? :)

    The goalkeeper kit, by the way, will be in the new Umbro goalkeeper kit design in yellow with black sleeves.

    I’m also intrigued as to what the away kit is going to look like. I’ve heard a rumour that it could be white, though personally I really hope it isn’t – because of a certain nation not too far away. I’m hoping it’s yellow and green because they are our “tradional” away colours.

  31. scott howard Says:

    hi’ got both the books of course. managed to purchase the brilliant hummel home shirt the other week in mint condition.size large. note to shakey, no chance of finding the white one.

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