Mystery West Ham Shirt

Posted by John Devlin

I picked up today a second hand copy of a great book published by The National Football Museum entitled ‘The Football Hall of Fame’. It includes pics of numerous matchworn shirts but this one really caught my eye.


Judging by the short sleeves, V-neck and badge it looks like a Bukta-produced 1957-60 home shirt but with a big difference – the sleeves appear to be white and not the usual light blue.

Whether the colour appears much paler due to the photograph (unlikely) or the blue has faded through the years (again unlikely going by the colour of the badge) is up for debate, but to me it looks like it definitely has white sleeves. Could it be a rare third strip perhaps? I’ve not heard of the Hammers donning this particular style in the past, and can’t really imagine a situation where such a strip could be called for. Its a real mystery.

Just wondering if any West Ham experts could cast any light on the subject? I’d be really interested to find out more…

9 Responses to “Mystery West Ham Shirt”

  1. Willie Says:

    Hi John,

    A very odd Hammers top. Maybe it was worn during a late 50’s TV game. Did some teams not occasionally adapt their usual colours for black and white telly?

    It also reminds me of a white sleeved Hearts shirt worn in late 50’s floodlit games. Although this shirt had a button collar.

    I’ve emailed Dave at the Historical Football Kits website, hopefully him or one of his contributors will be able to shed some light on the shirt.


  2. Philip Marriott Says:

    Dare I say it, this kit is very arsenal-esque! Could West Ham have borrowed Arsenal kit as an emergency and had the badge added hastily? After all, emergency swaps did happen in the 50s. Newcastle and Sunderland borrowed each others home kit for the FA cup as an emergency in the 50’s.

  3. Denis Hurley Says:

    Wouldn’t have imagined Arsenal ever had shirts that dark though

  4. Willie Says:

    I’ve asked West Ham historian John Northcutt, hopefully he will be able to explain the shirt.

  5. John Devlin Says:

    Cheers Willie – be good to get to the bottom of this shirt

  6. Willie Says:

    Here is John Northcutt’s reply…

    Hi William,
    This does not look like an original shirt to me, the badge looks wrong.
    It looks similar to the attached shirt that Woosnam is wearing. (see link)
    I would date it as around 1955-56 to 1959-60
    It is probably one that has been sold in a Sports shop.
    Hope this helps

  7. John Devlin Says:

    Thanks Willie – thats really interesting. I wonder if it could be a training top? The shirt is in the National Football Museum and is supposed to have belonged to Bobby Moore so I would have thought it has some authenticity. Probably not a ‘matchworn’ top though.

  8. John Devlin Says:

    UPDATE – Thanks to some sterling work by Willie it seems that it may be that the shirt came from a sports shop that stood opposite the ground that was owned by Bobby Moore – perhaps thats where the connection with him and the shirt came from came from? Still doesn’t explain the white sleeves though!

  9. Andy halford Says:

    i think it was a training top,got a pic of malcolm musgrove as well in similar pose to malcolm alison

    good luck

Leave a Reply

9 + six =