Kit Converter part 2: Simpson sponsorless for Stiffs

A week after Matt Fryatt lost his Cash Converters patch against Brighton, there has been another sponsor malfunction in a City match. This time it affected Jay Simpson, who started up front for the reserves in their game against Hartlepool’s second string at North Ferriby’s Church Road (Calling it the Rapid Solicitors Stadium feels very, very wrong) on Wednesday. We asked if Simpson was wearing Fryatt’s shirt, figuring it could have been ‘recycled’ and used for reserve games, but kitman John Eyre tells us this was an all new sponsor malfunction. We wonder if any Tiger Nationals have been tempted to boil wash their replica home shirts in a bid to possess a patch free, though partially shiny fronted shirt like Fryatt and Simpson.

Sock horror! Ricketts’ ripped hose

Does how you wear your socks characterise how you play? In the 70s and 80s, socks worn around the ankles became a metaphor for ‘maverick’ players who eschewed rigid formations and defensive responsibilities, instead playing with carefree flair and swagger until FIFA’s policy wonks literally had them pull their socks up.

In recent years it has gone the other way, socks worn way above the knee became associated with graceful, gazelle-like forward play when Thierry Henry pioneered the tights of a Tokyo schoolgirl look, at least it did until Peter Halmosi and a swathe of others copied the look.

So, what of a player who tears holes in his socks? What style of play does that symbolise? For City fans it means high octane, enterprising wing back play, for Sam Ricketts, the Welsh international full back who played for the Tigers between 2006-2009, has a habit of ripping holes in his legwear.

At least he has had since the start of the 2007/08 season, as we can find no photographic evidence of him intentionally tearing the Diadora socks worn during the 2006/07 season, Rickett’s first year with the Tigers (though he did do this rolling down of the turnover band thing midway through the Leicester home game that made it look like he had different socks to everyone else).

The first camera captured instance we can find of Ricketts’ sock ripping is in the sixth Championship game of 2007/08, away to Wolves, though he could have started this earlier (though not against Norwich, he was suspended after being sent off at Coventry, and he didn’t feature against Wigan in the League Cup or at Blackpool in the league.)

This continued throughout the 2007/08 campaign, here’s Sam at West Brom in the January (taking on Robert Koren) and against Southampton in the March. Sometimes the tears were just to the top of the foldover band and there was no hole further down, such as here at Sheffield United. It isn’t easy to tell if there is a tear at all on some pictures, it could be on the side opposite the photographer, but it’s clear that he faffs with his socks no end during games, take the Sheffield Wednesday away game where sometimes the sock is pulled up to normal height and other times pulled over the knee.

Rickett’s played every minute of the Play-Off final at Wembley with holey socks.

Though the right-back doesn’t appear to have torn or cut holes in his socks for the first game of 2008/09 against Fulham, Ricketts resumed the idiosyncrasy for most of City’s inaugural Premier League campaign, from small holes against Manchester City and Stoke,  to gaping gashes at Everton and Wigan.

Sam didn’t get on the field for the Earth axis shifting win at Arsenal, he was an unused substitute. However while partially dressed to play at the Emirates Stadium, his socks were rolled down, creating the same effect seen against Leicester two years earlier.

We wondered why Ricketts would choose to have holes in his socks, so we asked him on Twitter, his reply? Tight socks made his legs feel tired.

Fascinated by the reply, we tried on the Diadora 2006/07 and Umbro 2007/08 socks for comparison, and you know what? Umbro’s socks are definitely much tighter.

Sam Rickett’s joined Bolton in the summer of 2009 for £2,000,000 and as a ‘Trotter’ faced City early in the 2009/10 season wearing socks made by Reebok. Did he tear holes in them? Yep, he sure did.

Sponsor Malfunction: Koren’s shorts v. Crystal Palace (April 2011)

One of our Twitter followers, @hullrico, told us of a sponsor malfuntion on Robert Koren’s shorts last season. We had a look through some images from 2010/11 and he was dead right. Over the course of several games, the heat bonded logo of SLS on Koren’s shorts degraded, as evidenced by the photo of the Slovenian playing against Crystal Palace late last season. 2010/11 is the only season we’ve had short sponsors, for 2011/12, SLS ‘upgraded’ their financial backing to become back of shirt sponsors.

Sponsor Malfunction: Damien Delaney v. WBA (Feb 2007)

Matty Fryatt’s shirt losing its Cash Converters patch during the Brighton game this week had us wondering about other shirt sponsor malfunctions, so we had a check through the photo archives. The last instance we could find was in the 2006/07 Championship match between City and West Brom at the KC Stadium. In that game, a 1-0 defeat, the letters B, O and N from the BONUS ELECTRICAL appliqué on Damien Delaney’s shirt began to peel away.  Let us know if you’re aware of other instances of sponsor malfunction.

Kit Converter: Fryatt loses sponsor patch v. Brighton

Matt Fryatt’s kit looked great for much of the goalless draw with Brighton at the KC Stadium tonight, as a sponsor patch malfunction aesthetically improved his shirt no end. He took to the pitch sans-Cash Converters logo for the second half, the shirt-blighting black patch had completely detached, leaving only a shiny band where the appliqué had been heat bonded on. If the club put this shirt on Ebay, we’re bidding for it!