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Pelada Schmelada – Reimagining the 1993-95 kits

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Denis Hurley, of the estimable Museum of Jerseys blog, has a pleasing wont for wondering what teams of the past might have looked like if they had gone with a different kit supplier, and then rendering it as an illustration.  Recent Fantasy Kit Friday posts on the MOJ Twitter feed have shown us how Manchester United could have looked in Umbro templates in the mid 1980s and what Arsenal might have been given this season had they stayed with Nike.

This got us thinking about the Pelada deal struck in 1993, after the relationship between Hull City and Matchwinner deteriorated quickly, and to such an extent that City had little option but to start the 1993/94 campaign in Matchwinner kit but with the Scottish brand’s logo patched over until a new supplier, Pelada, could knock up two sets  of kits. Pelada did a pretty good job with the away kit, which featured a shirt that was jade with thin white stripes, but the home kit was a monstrosity, and that’s on the club for tasking the supplier with creating a non-copyright violating approximation of the tiger stripe shirt instead of just saying ‘give us an amber and black shirt.’

So we asked Denis if he’d help us envisage an alternate kit history, to right the wrongs of reality. This being FANTASY Kit Friday we didn’t think there was much fun to be had using other Pelada templates (such as this West Brom jobbie), so we asked for adidas kits of the era, and Denis heroically obliged…

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 *Swoon*

Look at that! The home shirt riffs on a template used by Ireland at the USA ’94 World Cup,  although the shorts are pretty much what Liverpool used on their away kit in 1993/94. Hooped socks always get our hearts racing, marry those to a shirt with quasi-stripes and lots of amber as well as shorts with three stripe trim, and we utterly adore this kit. Damn you Martin Fish, why did you call Pelada?

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Denis also rendered an era appropriate away kit too, based on a template worn by Spain at USA ’94 that features 3 stripes made out of interconnected diamonds (I bet Umbro loved that!) It looks fabulous in City’s traditional change tone of all white with black and amber trim.

Thanks for indulging us Denis!

The proposed 1946/47 home kit (which prompts empathy with Cardiff fans)

The following piece was written for the matchday programme as part of a series of articles about past Hull City kits, but will now not be featured as the tone is mildly critical of Vincent Tan’s forced rebranding of Cardiff and any planned tinkering with Hull City’s identity.

Cardiff’s switch from blue to red at the behest of Malaysian owner Tan has understandably upset many supporters of that club who cherish the ‘Bluebirds’ identity that has been swept aside. This article was initially planned to show Tigers fans that City faced a similar rebranding after World War Two, so we could empathise with Cardiff fans who were upset about the change to their club’s identity.

However when we found out that the company that owns Hull City had changed name and saw the club crest sans AFC and THE on the official website, making us Hull City Tigers, the tone of the article changed; we are opposed to any change, no matter how minor, to the club name and felt compelled to say so. If football is only about money and investment and is reduced to a product that can change name like Jif to Cif, why should fans remain loyal?

We can understand the club not printing the piece, but feel it still should be available to read… 

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City’s next opponents Cardiff have had a heady 15 months; last season they played at Wembley wearing blue, taking Liverpool to extra time and penalties in the Carling Cup final. This year clad in red they are Football League Champions, which poses some interesting questions; What is a club’s identity and history worth? Should it be traded away for the promise of financial investment?
 
Cardiff fans are celebrating promotion this season, but it has meant accepting a totally rewritten visual identity. Changing identity on the whims of one man, regardless of how much capital he has put into the club, risks alienating a fanbase that has a long standing emotional attachment to the rich history of a club.
 
The switch to red and the traditional bluebird emblem being displaced by a dragon is not about Cardiff better representing their local community, just the opposite, it is about appealing to people thousands of miles away in Asia, people who have no natural affinity with the club. This is a football team being commodified and marketed like cola or washpowder, with the opinions of generations of loyal consumers who kept the ‘brand’ going for over a century being disregarded.
 
Tiger Nationals can sympathise, as Hull City AFC came close to no longer existing in that guise when World War Two ended. As League operations resumed, local construction magnate Harold Needler revived the club from wartime hibernation. Needler had planned to call a club Kingston upon Hull AFC and have the new club play in orange jerseys, white shorts and blue stockings.
 
Thankfully, those changes did not come to pass. The reasons for the unwieldy moniker being dropped are unclear, but the abandonment of orange shirts was down to the board of trade refusing to release the dyes needed. Blue dye, produced locally by Reckitts, was in abundant supply so the club played its first season at the gleaming new Boothferry Park ground in light blue shirts, though the programmes from 1946/47 bore an illustration of City playing in Needler’s favoured orange jerseys.  
 
An amber and black palette, the source of the club nickname and a scheme that screams Hull City, was restored in 1947 and has been in place ever since. It is hard to envisage the club not playing in our famed colours, or for that matter not being called Hull City AFC as they have been since inception 109 years ago. A football club is not just a business or one man’s toy, it is a beloved civic entity with an identity that matters to many.

Stranger than fiction: Exito design concepts

In the 1950s, Princeton University student Hugh Everett submitted a PhD thesis entitled The Theory of the Universal Wave Function. The upshot of his ideas, which were later seized upon by science fiction writers, is that there is a large, possibly infinite, number of universes, and everything that could possibly have happened in the past has happened in some other universe.

If Everett is correct, and we hope not, there exists an alternate reality in which Hull City have worn kits made by Exito.

We know this because we recently came into possession of concept artwork that Cheshire based Exito, the cricket and rugby apparel maker, sent to City in the hope of getting them to join their list of clients that  includes Hull FC, Castleford Tigers and Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Usually the benefit of having a smaller company design your kit is that their wares will be unique, specifically tailored for the club they’re making for, whereas if you go with a sportswear behemoth such as adidas, Nike or Umbro, you’ll just get a template shared by many clubs with the only variation being the colours. The smaller firm tailored approach hardly appears to be the case looking at these Exito designs…

Not only are the designs remarkably drab, they also carry the badge of Castleford Tigers, which makes you wonder if Exito just sent City artwork of kits originally designed for but ultimately unused by the Wessie rugby club. Would have really have troubled them to put City’s crest on the renderings? No wonder our club said no.

In addition to the kit designs, Exito sent examples of a proposed leisurewear range…

The windcheater designs in the last image look somewhat familiar, as in we think they’ve actually been on sale in Tiger Leisure, though with our correct suffix of AFC rather than FC, and with our tiger crest rather than Castleford’s. It seems reasonable to assume that Exito did at some point make some leisurewear for City, but it didn’t carry the brand’s wordmark.

Only in an alternate reality then, have City players ever worn Exito branded gear, and since multiple worlds only interact in episodes of Star Trek, we’ll never have the misfortune of witnessing such a deeply unsettling sight.