Hull City in hooped socks – a potted history

hoopnew

Here at Hull City Kits, we’ve long been vocal proponents of a return to hooped socks, so we whooped with delight when the club teased us all yesterday with a photo showing part of the new City home kit, revealing that hoopy hose will be part of the ensemble. It was as if our entreaties to the kit god Polyesteus had finally been answered!

Hooped socks look great, and the amber hoops brighten up a kit with striped shirts that can look rather dark when paired with black shorts and socks, which is the norm. That has led to using alternate socks with the home kit, such as at Manchester United, Tottenham and Portsmouth in 2008/09 and when we used the previous season’s amber home socks away to Ipswich in 2006/07. Hooped socks remove the need for using alts in games where the opponents have dark stockings.

City have had hooped hose before, most recently in the early 80s when red was part of City’s palette at the behest of much loved former chairman Don Robinson. Most recently that is if you don’t include the socks of the 2009/10 home kit, which visually connected the stockings to the jerseys by replicating the pinstripes of the shirt, though from our point of view that makes them pinhoops, and not proper hoops, although we did like them.

So let’s have a look at when City have used hooped socks…

1935/36

hoop35

The first use of true hooped socks by City came in 1935/36, when The Tigers wore a rather untigerish kit that was ultramarine blue and white. Ultramarine dye was made locally by Reckitts so it was easy to source, but the reasons for this one season change have eluded us when we’ve researched past kits. The blue shirts used after the resumption of league operations have been explained, certain dyes were prohibitively expensive and rationed by the Board of Trade so we wore light blue in 1946/47, returning to amber and black the season after. But why we wore a deeper blue in 1935/36 is for now unclear.

It surely cannot be a coincidence however that the blue jerseys used in 1935/36 were the first to be adorned with a crest over the heart. It wasn’t a tiger head emblem though, that didn’t appear on City shirts till 1946, rather it was the civic crest of three stacked coronets within a shield. The crest of the city of Hull is coloured Azure and Or, or blue and gold. Azure has many shades, including azzurrum ultramarine (literally, blue from beyond the sea.) Was this kit a respectful nod to the city of Hull? Using the city’s crest and main colour (achieved with a locally produced dye) would suggest that is the case, though we cannot say that definitively.

Anyway, the socks of this unfamiliar but nonetheless striking kit were blue and white hoops. 1935/36 was a disastrous campaign for City, it ended in ignominious relegation. Blue was ditched and amber and black returned, but some players didn’t get the memo it seems, the 1936/37 team photo shows several players wearing hoopy socks with black and amber shirts and shorts.

1947/46

hoopcarter

City spent the first year at Boothferry Park wearing light blue shirts, but went back to amber and black the following campaign, only The Tigers had lost their stripes. Harold Needler favoured solid colour shirts so City turned out in jerseys that were all-amber aside from a black turnover collar and a tiger head picked out in black stitching on a sewn on amber square.

Fans not old enough to have seen City play in this kit are nonetheless familiar with it as whenever a photo of the legendary Raich Carter is used it is in this kit. Usually he is pictured in plain amber socks, but for one season this kit was used with fetching hooped stockings.

This looked great, but superficially very similar to Wolves, who also wore solid colour shirts, black shirts and hooped socks. If we’d stuck with striped jerseys then such comparisons could not be made, but we’d abandoned our highly distinct look so the hooped socks had to go. Bah!

1960/61

hoop61

The next shirt used by City, from 1955 to 1961, was similarly paired with hooped socks for just one season and is usually pictured with largely amber socks with black turnover bands. Whereas the 1947-55 shirts were initially paired with hoopy hose that were then dropped, the solid amber jerseys with V shaped collars in black ended their run with horizontal stripe stockings used for the 1960/61 campaign.

1962/63

hoop62

Hooped socks were used with striped shirts for the first time in 1962/63, as City continued to tinker with their look in the early Sixties. These shirts, with thin alternating black and amber stripes of equal width, were used for just one season, in 1963/64 City wore another striped design, this time using thin black stripes over wider amber bands.

1964/65

hoopsbands

For the only time in club history, The Tigers used amber shorts as part of a primary home kit in 1964/65. The look wasn’t popular and was disparagingly nicknamed the ‘banana kit’. The shirts were rather lovely, featuring two black bands on the chest, but with no black shorts to give the kit contrast and make the amber pop, the whole outfit looked rather washed out. Like the shirts, the socks featured two black hoops, and could have been part of a classic kit had only black shorts been used. As it happened, the ‘banana kit’ never had chance to ripen, dispensed with after just one season. The socks did make a brief reappearance in 1970 however when player-manager Terry Neill wore them for a photocall.

1984-86

hooproberts

The 2013/14 home socks will end a 27 year hoopy hiatus. The last time City wore stripy stockings was back when The Tigers had red in their palette, during the tenure of the slightly bonkers but beloved chairman Don Robinson. The former wrestler and Scarborough based entrepreneur was said to have stated the red represented the blood players were willing to spill for the cause, which sounds very much like a Robbo quote (he once said City would be the first team to play on the Moon). The amber, black and red hooped socks had white feet and were paired with two distinct shirts made by Admiral, who like hair and mobile phones, were massive in the Eighties.

City’s shirts for 1984/85 were updated versions of those used between 1982-84 (which were paired with solid red socks), featuring alternating matte and shiny stripes separated by red pinstripes. The stripy socks used with that shirt for two seasons were retained when Admiral produced a rather yellow set of shirts for the 1986/87 season that featured black chest bands and red sleeve rings and bore the name of sponsor Twydale, a local turkey purveyor. City changed the socks for 1987/88 however, going with largely amber hose.

City have had quasi-hoops since then; Pelada supplied socks with two thin black bands and black tops in 1993/94 when they slapped their logo over that of Matchwinner on the famed tiger stripe kits after City had a dispute with the Scottish firm and asked Pelada to come up with a new tigerskin kit. When they did, it wasn’t pretty.

Olympic’s 1998/99 home kit had black socks with a fairly thick amber stripe on the turnover band as well as another at shin level which created a hoopy look depending how far a player turned the tops over, and we’ve already mentioned the ‘pinhooped’ socks of the 2009/10 home kit, but none of these were truly hooped socks.

The 2013/14 set are however, which makes us very, very happy. Hip hoops hurray!

hoopprog

The liked and loathed list 2012

What did you like about City kits in 2012?

JGHull: The black away kit is far and away the best kit adidas have come up with for City and whilst accepting that all our kits have been templates, this is the one which most looks designed for us. I’m also a fan of the FA rule change which has stopped excessive white tape or ridiculous length white ankle socks being used. Whilst coloured tape being used is hardly earth shattering, I’m pretty certain no kit designer ever expected to see their kits worn with white golf socks. Glad it’s been stopped.

SombreEthyl: I think the black away kit is tremendous, and winning at Leeds wearing it puts it on the path to being an iconic City away kit like the 2003/04 all black affair. I’m pleased we’ve used last years away kit as a 3rd kit this year too, the Argentina blue shirts are quite classy. Considering my oft stated disdain for Cash Converters association with the club, I actually found the Tash Converters appliques at Bristol City good fun. I also appreciate adidas producing undershirts that are nearer to amber than last season’s yellow efforts.

What did you loathe about City kits in 2012?

JGHull: It’s become a bit too easy to bash the sponsor but, well, it’s Cash Converters. It’s not a great look really is it? Aside from that, we’re still waiting for the auctioning of the Poppy shirts. Come on City, I’ve some cash that I wish to chuck your way.

SombreEthyl: First time round, the Tash Converters things was fresh and novel, but the second time? I wasn’t keen at all. I thought Cash Converters had seen the light about big patches after needlessly ruining a good home shirt last season, but they did it again, needing an ‘amber’ patch to cover their normal logo on the home shirt, only it wasn’t the same amber as the shirt and looked naff.

What other kits have you liked in 2012?

SombreEthyl: Green shirts did it for me this year, Germany away is my favourite kit of 2012 and it was a travesty that it didn’t get an airing at Euro 2012. I also adore Northern Ireland’s green with white pinstripes shirts. Domestically, Umbro continue to do a great job for Manchester City, the ‘zinfandel’ away kit is truly beautiful, that Nike have mugged Umbro and taken the Manchester City and England accounts off them is criminal. Sashes always look good, and Fulham’s third shirt is brilliant, kudos to the sponsor for being content with a smaller wordmark to not impact design integrity.

JGHull: It’s been a decent year for kits. I’m a fan of the new Spanish shirt which will be worn in the Confederations Cup. The V neck styling without a v neck just works really well and whilst the FIFA patch is a bit big, it doesn’t really stop the shirt looking smart. I too was a fan of the Germany away kit and would also have liked to see it worn at the Euros. Other lookers – Rangers home, Bolton home, Chelsea 3rd and AC Milan away.

What other kits have you loathed in 2012?

SombreEthyl: I don’t know what has gotten into Nike the last year but some of their current stuff is horrific. Barcelona’s orange gradating into yellow away kit is near vomit inducing, and Arsenal’s purple, black and red hooped away kit? Blimey, that’s not a good look. Nor for that matter is Manchester United’s gingham check home shirt, it’s an interesting concept that shouldn’t have left the drawing board. They seem so poorly made too, I saw some kits up close in a Niketown store and they were pulled and frayed before anyone had taken them home to wear. All this made from recycled bottles stuff, who wants to wear Panda Pops bottles?

JGHull: Barcelona home and away are hideous. How can such an esteemed club let their supplier get away with such nonsense? I’m bored with the Nike 3 inch cuffs and plain shirt look too – Everton, Brazil, Arsenal etc etc. Yawn. To say both of those kits are Nike, you wonder what their process is. From wild and wacky (which doesn’t work) to plain, understated and well, a bit boring. On another note, was the Millwall away kit worn at the KC this year the worst kit to ever play on the turf of The Circle?

Hopes for 2013?

JGHull: Stripes for our home kit please with no faffing. I’d be more than happy with the current WBA kit delivered in our colours. I’d also like Nike to forget they ever did a deal for the England kit and let Umbro carry on…

SombreEthyl: I’d like stripes too, but what I really want is hooped socks. We’ve had them before and they look great. Hopefully the Cash Converters deal won’t be renewed, and we’ll be in the Premier League so can drop back of shirt ads, which don’t look good.

The 2012/13 home kit : Some early thoughts

The 2012/13 adidas home kit was revealed at 6am this morning, and HCK’s JGHull and SombreEthyl forwent another hour in bed and battled eye-blear to offer their initial thoughts…

JGHull

I’m finding it hard to get overly excited by the new kit as it follows a template, the adidas Autheno 12 design.

I probably feel that way fundamentally because I’m a stripes man and this is a plain shirt, but also because this kit’s template exists on sportswear sites for Sunday League teams (such as here for example, thankfully it isn’t available in  amber and black) means it feels a bit less special somehow.

I’m pleased the sponsor is ‘cut out’ and whilst I wish we had a different sponsor,  it looks as good as it can do with the same ‘cut out’ applied to last year’s away shirt (eventually). The sponsors patch is bigger this year but the lack of patch means the new size probably won’t be noticed by most. The collar on the kit is a V which is better than any flappy collar or round neck but it might just be a bit too chunky. Whilst not as pronounced as the Liverpool kits of the mid 1990s (also made by adidas), it looks quite “fat”. Hopefully it’s one of those things that look better in the flesh.

The shorts don’t appear to be massively different although I suspect they are subtly somehow to ensure supporters want to update to the latest ones. I wonder if we’ve got any amber change shorts this time out?

One highlight for me is the amber socks – they simply look better than black! In saying that, I suspect with the away kit being black, we’ll match away socks with home shirt at some point in the season. I’m really looking forward to seeing the away kit.

Will I be buying one? I’ll not be at the front of the queue but suspect I’ll pick one up at some point – I’m a kit geek and *need* one – but at the moment, I’m not sure this shirt will ever be properly loved.


SombreEthyl

Typical, I bemoan us using the same template as Stoke two years in a row, then when we don’t, Stoke unveil a gorgeous design I’d be happy to see reproduced in amber and black.

I would have preferred stripes again but given that 6 out of the last 8 home shirts have been striped maybe it is time for plain shirt proponents to get their way this time.

When I first saw it I thought it looked like the Starfleet uniform Worf, Data and Geordi wore in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s a design I’m warming to though, even if I find the sponsor too unpalatable to wear myself. Maybe I could boil wash the sponsor wordmark off, it certainly looks easier to remove than the monstrous patch on last years home shirt and I’m thankful we’ve not made the same mistake twice.

I’m not as sniffy as some about templates because I think most kits have followed templates to some extent, Wolves and City wore pretty much the same kits in the late 50s, the 60s and 70s. Most adidas 80s kits we consider classics now were the same basic kits in different colours or with different team specific detail. France ’84? Ipswich just added a sponsor and a horse. Holland ’88? The Soviets wore the same shirt in red and later West Germany wore a green version, template use is far from a modern phenomenon. I don’t like City consecutively using the same template as another side but does it bother me that Middlesbrough use this design for their away kit? Not in the slightest.

The announcement that a fan who takes a photo of themselves wearing the new shirt will get a squad number made me roll my eyes. A few years ago Bryan Hughes had his wages doubled but was told months later he’d not even get a squad number, now you can get one by spending £45 and posing for a picture, squad numbers have lost their cachet it seems. It perplexes me that the club don’t use adidas to organise launches more than they do.

Sponsor aside, this is a decent enough kit. I like the use of amber socks to brighten up the overall kit, they had to be really since the away kit is going to be all black and presumably there will be amber alternate shorts again that will be interchangeable with both home and away shirts. For the last two years adidas have done a better job with the away kit than the home and I think that will prove true for a third time when we see the change kit, but this home kit is alright, and I think it’ll grow on me.

The liked and loathed list 2011

 What did you like about City kits in 2011?

JGHull: I *heart* the all amber strip that has been used away this season. My little boy has the white away strip from last year and the full kit looks ace. Under used and under appreciated that strip.

SombreEthyl: I really liked the white away kit from last season too, I think adidas have done a better job with away kits for City than homes overall, I like this years Argentina blue shirt and the navy alternate shorts were a nice surprise. Using amber shorts and socks with a home shirt when away isn’t new, but this years version looks better than all the others, I’d love a pair of those amber shorts.

 What did you loathe about City kits in 2011?

JGHull: Whilst the sponsor was contentious, I think the lack of foresight as to how their logo would appear on the striped home shirt was a bigger issue and being honest, a bit of a clanger. At least the away shirt sponsor was applied properly – in the end.

SombreEthyl: That black sponsor patch on this years home shirt is just awful. I’m not impressed by the calibre of the company sponsoring us, regardless of how much they paid, but even letting that go, they didn’t need to ruin what is a better home shirt than the one it replaced. The yellow undershirts worn with short sleeve jerseys irritate me, I wish players would just wear long sleeved jerseys, and I didn’t like the constant mixing of bits of home and away kit last season.

What other kits have you liked in 2011?

JGHull: Inter Milan away, River Plate away, a splendid kit from Adidas for the Chelsea third strip, the newly released Germany kits (both) for use at Euro 2012 and the away kit Sweden wore at Wembley. As you can see I have a thing for contrast sashes on shirts, although I’d have moved the details of the fixture on the chest into the sash below the double diamond branding.

SombreEthyl: Initially I wasn’t keen on AC Milan’s thin stripes, but now I love that shirt. I agree about Germany’s kits, that green away shirt is gorgeous. Umbro have been consistently good the last few years, the current Peru shirt is delicious, Sweden away rather lovely, and I like the navy England away shirt and respect the brave choice to go away from red. Coventry’s retro kit is lovely, it deserves to be worn by a better side, and Darlington’s Errea home shirt is uncharacteristically good.

What other kits have you loathed in 2011?

JGHull: There are a few in the MLS which make me feel a bit “kit sick”. New York Red Bulls take branding to a whole new, and unacceptable, level and as someone who owns a few LA Galaxy bits of kit, the new kit is ruined by a horizontal yellow pipe across the collarbones. Not quite sure what Adidas were thinking there.

SombreEthyl: Nike have produced a few horrors this year, that Barcelona shirt with the stripes that change width is rank, I don’t like the fuzzy striped Juventus shirt either. My estimation of Puma kits is quite low, but even by their standards they messed up Newcastle’s home shirt, it’s ‘orrible!

Hopes for 2012?

JGHull: I’m looking forward to seeing what Umbro come up with for the Euro 2012 challenge with the England kit hopefully being more than just subtle changes as per the last home kit release. I’d imagine it’ll continue on Umbro’s “retro” theme (see Manchester City) but would be nice for it to be visibly different from the last couple. City to remain in stripes please, coupled with an all white away kit (it’s white’s turn for 2012/13!)

SombreEthyl: That Cash Converters go bust, voiding their deal with City. Failing that, Tiger Leisure releasing an unsponsored batch of replicas would be nice. Using Milan’s template for the 2012/13 home kit shirt be ok with me, as would using the Germany away kit for City’s change duds, we could sing the “who sometimes play in green” bit of ‘Black and amber team’ again.  England need to drop the lighter shade of blue for the shorts, back to navy for the Euro 2012 kit please, and Puma, please, please, don’t make Borussia Dortmund look ridiculous.