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Tiger Rags – The Fabric of Hull City AFC

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Photo: Chris Skelton

Could you imagine the city of Hull without Hull City AFC? We certainly couldn’t, for the Tigers are quite simply, part of the fabric of the city.

That fact has not gone unnoticed by the organisers of Hull 2017: The first week of the City of Culture year was heralded by a spectacular light show that used the facades of the City Hall, the Maritime Museum and Ferens Art Gallery as video screens depicting key moments from the city’s last century.

Included among the projected retellings of wartime bombing raids, the feats of airwoman Amy Johnson, trawler tragedies, the construction of the Humber Bridge and the sights and sounds of Hull Fair, were newspaper clippings of Hull City being put up for sale in the early 1980s, and footage of Deano’s unforgettable volleyed goal at Wembley that clinched promotion to the Premier League in 2008.

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There’s more to the club’s story than those two events of course. Though the history of the Tigers is, for the most part, inglorious, it is worth celebrating nonetheless, and what better time than when the city of Hull is getting some belated national and international attention?

With the club seemingly uninterested in taking part in the City of Culture year’s festivities, we at Hull City Kits felt compelled to make sure the Tigers had some representation beyond video clips in the first week. So an idea was born…

“The club is part of the fabric of the city, so let’s celebrate the literal fabric of the club.”  

The result is a three month long exhibition at the Streetlife Museum of Transport. It will feature a modest display of Hull City match shirts and a recounting of tales from the Tigers’ kit history: from the amber and black striped shirts worn in the founding year 1904, to the infamous tiger print shirts of the early 1990s, and coming right up to date with the controversial ‘cactus purple’ third shirts from 2016/17.

A collaboration between several memorabilia collectors and the Supporter’s Trust (HCST), the modest display of player worn or match issued shirts  will have two distinct phases…

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The first two months will focus on kit design. Do you prefer the Tigers to wear black and amber striped shirts or to don jerseys that are largely just amber? Examples of both styles will be on display, as will shirts from the 1980s when red became part of the club’s palette, and some of the varied styles of change shirts will be considered.

Fans of old-skool adidas sportswear will love the trefoil adorned 1980-82 home shirt, whereas fans of animal print clothing can marvel at the lurid all over print shirts worn between 1992 and 1995.  Commemorative game detail on a shirt is a rarity, we’ll show examples from 2008, 2014 and 2016 when the Tigers reached Wembley finals, as well as a UEFA rule compliant shirt from City’s brief but memorable escapade into European competition.

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As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, migrant labour is a hot political topic. The second phase acknowledges the part played by foreign footballers during Hull City’s rise from the basement division to the Premier League with a display of shirts worn by players from around the globe who have come to Hull to play for the Tigers.

StreetlifeWhen and where?
Tiger Rags – The Fabric of Hull City will run from July 3rd to October 2nd in the community space of the Streetlife Museum of Transport on High Street. Entry is free.

For updates check back here on hullcitykits.co.uk, we plan to record kit podcasts that will further explore aspects of City’s kit history and an audio file with descriptions of the items on display will be downloadable.

Further content will be available on our social media accounts, where we’ll encourage kit discussion banded together under the hashtag #TigersRags

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hullcitykits/
Twitter: @HullCityKits
Instagram: hullcitykits   

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Get Our Kits Out #6: 2014/15 Europa League home shirt #27 Ahmed Elmohamady

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In anticipation of playing in the Europa League proper, City had supplier Umbro knock up a batch of UEFA compliant home shirts after the Tigers advanced from the Qualifying Second Round by beating FK AS Trenčin of Slovakia 2-1 on aggregate. UEFA kit rules insist that teams playing in striped shirts have a single colour panel on the back so that player names and numbers are more readily distinguishable.

Umbro went with solid amber back panels, upon which black names and numbers were applied in a unique letterset specially created for City’s European adventure. The font resembles the stenciled letters seen on cargo crates, appropriate for a team from a port city on its continental travels.

Domestic style shirts with white Premier League numbers (but not names) were used in the two games against Trenčin, but the Euro style shirts were first used in the second leg of the Qualifying Play-Off Round tie with KSC Lokeren of Belgium. They were paired with amber alternate shorts so that Lokeren could wear black shorts with white shirts, after they had agreed to wear black away shirts at home to allow City to wear their white and blue third kit for the first time.

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The first leg, at Lokeren’s Daknamstadion, ended in defeat for City. A blunder from ‘keeper Allan McGregor proved costly as it gifted the East Flanders side the only goal of the game. The Tigers hoped to overcome the deficit at home, and did indeed win the second leg, 2-1, with Robbie Brady scoring twice, once from the penalty spot, but it wasn’t enough as City, down to ten men after Yannick Sagbo’s red card, were eliminated on the Away Goals Rule. This shirt was worn by Ahmed Elmohamady (scorer of City’s first ever goal in UEFA sanctioned competition, at home to Trenčin) who played every minute of the game, and came to us unwashed. It is a size S(mall).

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With their European adventure over prematurely, the Tigers redesignated the amber back-paneled shirts (which didn’t carry the Umbro wordmark on each sleeve, as did the domestic shirts) part of a ‘Cup kit’, using them (and the Euro font) in the League Cup at West Brom and the FA Cup at Arsenal.

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Get Our Kits Out #5: 2005/06 home shirt #6 Jon Parkin

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This 2005/06 home shirt, used numerous times by forward John Parkin, stands as evidence of the foul means employed by defenders in order to thwart the advances of a player that fans nicknamed ‘The Beast’, in a year in which City acclimatized to the newly rebranded second tier.

The shirt was worn in a ‘Coca Cola Championship’ meeting with Coventry City at the KC Stadium in January 2006, a game that ended 2-1 to the visitors. During the game, Coentry’s Welsh defender and Phantom Of The Opera mask wearer Robert  Page got away with a flagrant foul in the box that was missed by ref Andy Woolmer, but not by club photographers who captured the entire sequence,

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In the goalmouth melee, Page grabbed Parkin by the scruff of his (shirt) neck and dragged the burly striker to the floor, not leaving go even with both players grounded. The grab and pull move tore the white collar hem clean off, and ripped Parkin’s name in two on the back!

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After the game, the shirt (which featured the Football League’s new font set for names and numbers and updated competition patches on the sleeves) was sold by the club on Ebay, unwashed and signed, and it fetched £160. The buyer listed it on Ebay 7 years later which is how we picked it up.

Get Our Kits Out #4: 2013/14 home shirt #6 Curtis Davies

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This short sleeved 2013/14 home shirt was issued to and worn by City captain and player of the year elect Curtis Davies. The sleeves carry the updated Premier League competition patches (designated ‘Pro-S’) and on the back are the new numbers and letters (called ‘PS-pro’). The old ‘SensCilia’ appliqués, used between 2007-2013, had a felt-like feel, but the shinier and plastic feeling replacements are lighter and the graphics look sharper.

DaviesFrontThis shirt was likely used in several games, but was last worn in the 1-0 home win over West Ham in September 2013 and has not been washed so is stained with KC Stadium turf in several places. Davies played the full game.

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Tommy Coyle represents!

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There was some tidy cross-promotion work done last week when local boxer Tommy Coyle promoted his fight with Derry Mathews at Craven Park by visiting the KC Stadium for a new City home shirt. The 2013/14 Tigers kit went on sale Saturday, the same day that ‘Boom Boom’ fought mouthy Scouser Mathews on the same card as Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell making his pro-boxing debut.

Even better than the shirt holding photo-op was Coyle sporting the new home kit’s brilliant hooped socks for the fight, pairing them with black and amber boxing shorts. Coyle bossed the fight, with Mathews later admitting that the Hull fighter “bullied” him in each round, but our lad succumbed to a superb left hook in the tenth round that took Coyle down.

Aesthetically speaking at least, Tommy Coyle is our champion, wearing City socks for a pro-boxing fight makes him somewhat of a legend in our eyes.

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Get Our Kits Out #3: 2000/01 Away shirt #3 Andy Holt

We acquired this shirt from a former club employee, so have no doubts regarding its authenticity, even though there is a slight anomoly with the letters used on the back. The Football League adopted squad numbers and player names on shirts in 1999 and standardised the font used by its 72 member clubs. The letters used came in two sizes, 73mm for match prepared shirts, 62mm for replicas sold in the club shop.

This long sleeved shirt (only short sleeved replicas were on sale in Tiger Leisure) has Holt’s surname applied in the smaller sized letters. Perhaps City had run out of some of the full size letters by the time he arrived on loan from Oldham, A low quality photograph from the Torquay away game (a 1-1 draw in which Holt scored) seems to back up that assumption, his shirt letters appear to be smaller than those on the Gulls’ keeper he’s contesting the ball with.

The letters making up sponsor IBC’s wordmark are applied in vinyl, another oddity, as most player shirts that season used raised felt. Photos from the Torquay game show both felt and vinyl letters in use, vinyl was used on the shirts of players who arrived during the season, such as loanee Mark Atkins who like Holt played between March and May 2001. Holt though, became a permanent signing, joining for £150,000 from Oldham.

The polyurethane Nationwide League competition patches straddle the maroon sleeve stripe and yellow piping, they have cracked after washing.

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Get Our Kits Out #2: 1986/87 Home shirt #2 Charlie Palmer

Whether it was declaring Hull City would be the first team to play on the Moon or riding around Boothferry Park on a horse dressed as a cowboy ahead of a friendly game with American outfit Tampa Bay Rowdies, Don Robinson, City’s chairman for most of the 80s, sure knew how to generate publicity.

He must have been in his element then when the club signed a sponsorship deal with Twydale Turkeys of Driffield. The announcement of the one year link up was accompanied by preposterous scenes such as Robinson and boss Brian Horton hanging around with a pair of turkeys and Garreth Roberts having a kickabout with a giant City scarf wearing turkey. Bonkers.

Twydale’s name appeared on new shirts produced by Admiral, kit manufacturer for City since 1982. Robinson’s arrival in the same year coincided with the addition of red into the club’s colour scheme, this shirt had red shoulder panels, collar and cuff trim and sewn on numbers. The ‘amber’ body was split by a black chest band on the front of the shirt that contained the sponsor’s wordmark. The tone of amber used barely justifies the term, this was a yellow shirt, and yellow, black and red shirts say ‘Watford’ rather than Hull City.

The number 2 shirt was shared by four players in 1986/87, when squad numbers were the preserve of internationals playing in major tournaments. Richard Jobson began the campaign wearing 2, later wearing 4 as Neil Williams and Steve Brentano briefly shared it. When Charlie Palmer arrived from Derby in February 1987, he made the 2 shirt his own for the rest of the season.

Replicas of this shirt didn’t carry sponsor text, had the Admiral logo in white or red and were not available in long sleeved versions. For those reasons we are content to believe this is a genuine matchworn shirt, but have yet to source photos of any of the four men who wore number 2 in 1986/87 in long sleeved shirts. Steve Brentano wore short sleeves in an FA Cup tie at Swansea, in which the shirt was paired with red shorts and socks.

Hull City shirts and hip-hop? Greatest music video ever!

 

If you love Hull City shirts, then you can’t fail to love a music video that features a glut of them. There hasn’t been many tiger rags in videos, the last we can recall is the Matchwinner made 1990-92 home shirt (with the Bonus wordmark crossed out with black tape) worn by Myles Howell of Kingmaker in the video to ‘Really scrape the sky’.

In Vinny & The Stars quite amazing ‘I’m not from America… I’m from Hull’, City’s colours and Dean Windass both get namechecked, and the following shirts are worn…2009/10 Home shirt, 2009/10 Away shirt, 2007/08 Home shirt, 2005-07 Away shirt, 2004/05 Home shirt, 2003/04 Away shirt, 2001/02 Home shirt, 1998/99 Home shirt, 1998/99 Away shirt.

Huzzah!

 

Get Our Kits Out #1: Match worn 2008/09 Garcia home shirt

Aussie international Richard Garcia routinely changed shirts at half time during his time with the Tigers, which makes verifying the games his shirts were worn in a bit tricky. We managed it with this shirt though, discovering it was worn in at least two Premier League games before we got our mitts on it.

It was the shirt on Garcia’s back for parts of the highly creditable 0-0 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the 2-1 defeat to Spurs at our place. In the latter game it got blathered in KC Stadium mud and having not been washed since, matching the distinctive mud pattern on the back to photographs taken during that game has allowed us to verify it as a genuine match worn shirt.

Being a player specification shirt, it has full size Premier League appliqués: the numbers are 258mm (compared to 230mm on replicas), the letters are 53mm tall (as opposed to the 47mm letters for replicas) and the Premier League sleeve patches are larger than those readily available to the public.

Most of the shirts worn by Garcia in 2008/09 had the number 4 applied with the right side of the vertical bar flush to a black stripe, such as the shirt he wore in the first half against Tottenham…

In the second half though, he wore the shirt we now possess, and there is a slightly tapering gap between the right side of the 4’s vertical bar and the third full black stripe. To the right of the 4’s horizontal bar is the tell-tale mud mark…

Looking for more pictures showing a shirt with the amber gap, we found this shot of the squeaky voiced Antipodean being booked at Chelsea…

As well as having mud from the KC on it, the shirt is daubed with Garcia’s signature, he has autographed it on the 4 of his then squad number of 14. A great piece.

Get Your Kits Out #3: Deano boots + (Nike) RED match ball

Though our primary interest is playing kits, there is plenty of room in our hearts for equipment;  boots, keeper gloves, sock ties, that sort of stuff, and not forgetting the most important item in any game, match balls.

We yelped with glee then when Leigh Palmer responded to our regular Twitter pleas for people with cool City stuff to show it off here on HCK, as his items are doozies.

Leigh owns the left boot of the pair of Pumas that Dean Windass wore, and scored in, for the Championship Play Off Final at Wembley in May 2008. He also owns one of the special edition matchballs that was used against Arsenal in March 2010, a quite fateful match for Phil Brown, it was his last in charge of City. Let’s look at the swag…

First up is Deano’s left boot, a Puma v1.06 in white, which matched his then dyed blonde hair. Windass wore this in both of the play off semi final legs against Watford as well as at Wembley, and this boot was planted into the turf stabilising Deano as his right foot volleyed the ball into the net, and City into the Premier League on that most glorious of days.

Leigh was a lucky recipient when Deano hoyed the boots into the crowd, his 5th row seat meant that he was perfectly placed to catch the size 9. “The boot is signed on the front, he [Deano] got my lad and me into the ceremony at City Hall and the lad was sat with him on stage while he was signing autographs. He’s a top man.” says Leigh.

As for the ball, well this isn’t your usual official 2009/10 ‘T90 Ascente’ Premier League matchball. Nike produced a set of red accented balls for use by La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy and the Premier League in England to show support for Bono’s (Product) RED charity initiative.

The RED branding is licenced to partner companies, in this case Nike, who produce items that when sold, raise money that goes to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Nike’s contribution to the campaign was red laces (‘Lace up, save lives‘ was their slogan) and the design on the balls is intended to resemble the laces tied up.

The (Nike) RED balls were used during all Premier League games played on the 13th/14th March 2010, for City that meant against Arsenal who visited the KC Stadium.

Lucky Leigh once again found himself in the right place at the right time. “Samir Nasri kicked the ball into the crowd just as the ref blew for full time, I was sat on the front row of the East Stand, I managed to catch it, get it up my top and slip away.”

Phil Brown wasn’t quite so lucky. City looked on the verge of picking up a highly creditable and useful point when Nicklas Bendtner scored deep into added time to give Arsenal a 2-1 win. The defeat compounded a dreadful run for City, and Brown paid the price, he was put on gardening leave and would not manage City again.

These are unique items from a momentous period in City’s history. Leigh, we’re just a little bit jealous, thanks for sharing.