The
WALTER
PILKINGTON
COLUMN

WEAR
YOUR
COLOURS

 

There are hundreds of stories in this Premiership of ours and this is just one. Tottenham had worn many different colour combinations before deciding to copy the kit of the most successful team of the time - Preston North End. There can be no greater tribute than to assume the same colours of a side that had already done the Double in the early days of the League.

The famous Arsenal team chose their colours by wearing the shirts which were donated to them by Nottingham Forest. So they are to blame for Tottenham fans being allergic to anything red and white !! Leeds were originally an all blue wearing team, but were desperate for success, so took the colours of the great Real Madrid team of the 1950’s and 60’s. It did work to some extent for them too.

But where did other clubs come up with their club colours ?? It set my mind to thinking what might have happened in those far off days at the start of football as we know it ....Many clubs located by the coast will be found playing in blue, because of their proximity to the sea (e.g. Portsmouth, Cardiff City, Hartlepool, etc.), however, Chelsea were a long way from any water, but decided to play in blue rather than the red of the Chelsea Pensioners coats. Liverpool were preordained to adopt the colours of the body organ of their name and Everton were blue because of the colour of the wrappers of Everton toffees, sold around the area at the time of their formation.

Red and white stripes are a favourite choice of many clubs and this is due to the influence of barber shops on the game. When the members of the teams were having their hair cut, they looked up at the old red and white barbers pole and were struck by the way the colours would look on their shirts. There are far fewer teams in blue and white stripes as these colours were displayed on the pole outside the old chiropodists premises.

Some teams ended up with the same colour combination despite being miles apart. For example, West Ham, Aston Villa, Scunthorpe United and Burnley all came to their kit colours through the desire to mix the light blue of the sky and the rich red of fire-scorched brick from the industry around their respective areas. Coventry on the other hand couldn’t decide what colours to sport, so their founder just looked to the heavens one day for inspiration and was so struck by the sky above he plumped for the light blue strip that they are so well known for.

Torquay’s ensemble must have been taken from their location on the English Riviera and reflects the blue sea and the yellow of the sandy beaches on the Devon coast. Whereas their county rivals Plymouth Argyle have gone all historical and go back to the days of Sir Francis Drake’s game of bowls before he left to fight the Spanish Armada. Playing lawn bowls, the green has translated to the shirts of the Pilgrims of today. The colours of Norwich was determined by their old ground name of the nest and they became the Canaries, so could only be clad in green and yellow. Grimsby went along with their name and bore black and white stripes to reflect how grim it is up north, while Notts. County had a similar strip but for very different reasons. Being one of the first clubs around, they did not even think about colour television being invented in the future, so decided to go for the monochrome look to stand them in good stead for many years to come.

Hull City’s black and amber stripes are taken from their Tigers nickname. Bradford City’s interesting mixture of claret and mustard comes from the culinary cupboard, where a mix of the wine and savoury add to a special old Yorkshire chicken dish and this was eaten with relish in the city by Bantams fans and thus led to their team adopting the colours for their shirts. For some sides they were only able to take in the effect of colours when it was too late. For example, the purple and white stripes of Northampton Town, but then that’s what happens when you slop red wine down your nice new all white kit. Those difficult stains just won’t come out you know !!!

Back to homepage