Tiger Rags – The Fabric of Hull City AFC


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.


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…

TigerRagsFoHCA plurality of polyester
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.

InternationalTigersInternational Tigers
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

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