Southend United Home Kit 1985-86

Posted by John Devlin

southend-h-85-86At first glance this kit may seem nothing out of the ordinary but there is an interesting story behind it.

In the mid-80s (the height of the British football downturn) Southend were facing an uncertain future. The side had spent the previous season sponsorless after a lack of interest from local firms. Another campaign in Division 4 without the valuable income a shirt sponsor brings was a real crisis for the club. In stepped local construction firm Laing and a deal was put together. The only problem was that Laing’s corporate colour was yellow and it was requested that this branding be somehow incorporated into the Southend kit.

Desperate times cause for desperate measures and despite the club’s 80-year history of various combinations of blue and white kits they switched to blue and yellow to allow the deal with Laing to be sealed and bring vital revenue into the club coffers. Interestingly the club badge and logo of kit manufacturers Elite were placed on either side of the Laing logo on the yellow horizontal band – presumably to indicate the unity between club and its commercial partners.

Yellow remained a crucial part of Southend’s home kit for another 10 years before the blue and white colour scheme so engrained in the club’s past returned.

Worn in: A cracking 5–1 win over (relatively) local rivals Orient and consecutive 3–1 victories over Mansfield and Hereford.
Worn by: Steve Phillips, Glenn Pennyfather and Roy McDonough.


4 Responses to “Southend United Home Kit 1985-86”

  1. Philip Marriott Says:

    That’s an interesting kit John! The design looks quite fashionable for the 80’s. I suppose such a change in colours is a kit version of naming stadiums today. The sponsor idea might represent unity but it might also mean that the sponsor is clearer than the other badges. The two badges either side simply help the club sponsor logo stand out.

  2. tony Says:

    the blue and yellow was much more distinctive than the recent Nike catalogue kits they been wearing .Only Wimbledon used blue and yellow as their colours .

  3. John Devlin Says:

    Hello Philip – SUFC’s previous kit was also odd as it featured a proper old-fashioned button up collar. As far as I can make out it was the only kit in the league at that time to feature one – everywhere else it was V-necks and crew-necks.

    Hello Tony, you have got a point there actually but as someone that grew up watching SUFC in blue, white (and a smidgen of red!) the yellow took a while to get used to.

  4. john devlin Says:

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