Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Thu 28 September 2006

Obscure Kits From British Football History #1

Yes, it's back, back, back! Following the undoubted success of the 'Obscure Kits' series during this summer's World Cup (well, sort of), we bring you the footy strips that time forgot 'British-stylee'.

And where better a place to start than with the all-time number 1 cult kit from the annals of history. The reason for its notoriety can be summed up in one word - brown. Yes folks, we give you THAT Coventry Kit from the mid-to-late-1970's.

So who was to blame for this fashion 'faux pas'? It was Admiral, one of the most well-known kit manufacturers in Britain at that time. They shot to fame in 1974 when the FA chose the Leicester-based company to produce a new England strip that would appeal to the growing commercial market. The result was the first England strip to feature stripes on the sleeves, shorts and socks, a move that prompted Jimmy Greaves to refer to them as 'pyjamas'.

The signs were obviously there from the start, but undaunted, Admiral continued to find clubs and countries from far and wide that were willing to wear their apparel, and one of them was Coventry City.

Admiral created a new range of kits in the the mid-70's which featured an alarming triple stripe that curved in from the sides of the shirt and ran all the way down to the bottom of the shorts. You may recall Wales wearing a colourful version of it in red, yellow, and green, but for Coventry it was only ever going to be the tasteful hues of sky blue, white and navy blue.

But then came that fateful day when the chairman, director and manager all sat round the table to choose a new design for the away kit. God only knows what must have been going through their minds. Perhaps they'd been out for an extra-long lunch at the pub or something. Who knows, but the result of their temporary lapse of reasoning was that Coventry City would for the next couple of years visit many of their opponents bedecked in brown, white and black. I think you'll agree, it was an absolute vision of loveliness. [IRONY.]


Ian Wallace (Coventry City, circa 1976) and Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham, 2006).

The odd thing is that just before the start of this season (2005/06), Tottenham resurrected the brown kit ploy thanks to their new manufacturers, Puma. With a splash of gold here or there, it looks rather more acceptable than the old Coventry strip ever did, but that colour's still rather alarming. Will we have to wait another 30 years before we see brown come back to the world of football kit design? Maybe not, if it's designed in the right way, but then that'll depend largely on whether Admiral are involved.

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