Which football clubs have manufactured their own kits?

Guardian sport on 26 September 2018

“Random kit manufacturing question,” begins Michael Pilcher. “Since Paul Scally took over Gillingham in 1995, aside from a stint when Uhlsport/Vandanel made them from 2005-2014, our shirts have been made in-house by ‘Gills Leisure’/‘GFC’/‘GFC Leisure’. Are Gillingham the only club that manufacture their own kits in the EFL? How far down do you have to go before you find another club that designs and makes their kits under an ‘own brand’? Even our Kent non-league neighbours Maidstone and Dover use established kit brands (Dover were Nike last season).

The short answer is: lots. We’ll let our readers offer a more thorough response, starting with a couple of current ones, Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday, with the clubs’ respective owners, Steve Lansdown and Dejphon Chansiri, influential. “Bristol Sport have been the supplier of Bristol City’s kit since the 2014-15 season,” writes Nick Hanling. “Both are part of a group of companies that also includes Bristol City Women, Bristol Bears, Bristol Ladies Rugby, Bristol Flyers, Bristol Jets and Bristol Sport Racing. Guess who supplies the kit for most of them. Is there another example of an in-house football kit supplier who also supplies kit for teams in other sports? City also had Nibor as a kit supplier for a few years in the 90s. As Nibor is Robin spelt backwards, this could have been an in-house brand. Either way, they introduced the glorious purple and lime green away kit as immortalised by Brian Tinnion at Anfield and me at my Thursday night football.”

As for Wednesday, Ryan Sandrey offers: “They have manufactured their own kits for two seasons now under the ‘Elev8’ brand owned by Wednesday chairman Chansiri. Chansiri is also the only sponsor on the shirts, with last season’s away shirt amusingly being sponsored by Elev8 energy drink, with the same branding as the manufacturer. This attempt to input more money into the club to ensure compliance with FFP didn’t work out so well for us, as we had an embargo over the summer that didn’t lift until a week before the end of the loan window.”

Rowing back a few years, Elliot Rawstrone tells us how Preston sculpted their own strip between 1996-2000, while Jamie Varley brings news of Luton Town. “We had kits made in the late-1990s (definitely 1999-2000 season) with the shirt manufacturer logo OS,” he muses. “I’m pretty sure this stood for Official Supporters. There was also one in 1994 that had “Hatters” (our nickname) as the shirt manufacturer logo.” Not so long ago Southampton stuck two fingers up to Adidas and wore their own-brand kit for 2014-15, as Derek McGee reminds us. “Adidas terminated their kit deal with Saints after only one season. As it turns out, it wasn’t the first time either. When their deal with Pony came to an end in 1999, Southampton produced own brand kits until a deal was agreed with Umbro in 2008.”

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Two wrongs don’t make a Wright

“Which players have scored in consecutive games past the same goalkeeper for club then country or country then club?” tweets Daniel Storey.

“I’d like to offer former Ipswich Town and England keeper Richard Wright,” declares Jonathan Cullen, “who holds the illustrious record of scoring and conceding past himself for club and country in consecutive games at the same ground.

“Wright played in the play-off final for Ipswich Town against Barnsley at Wembley on 29 May 2000, when he was unfortunate enough to score an own goal in the sixth minute, the ball rebounding off the post and in off his shoulder. Ipswich went on to win 4-2 and Wright was called up by England for a friendly against Malta, again at Wembley, just four days later. He went on to repeat the trick, conceding a penalty in the 20th minute, which resulted in the ball again rebounding off the post and in, this time off his head.”

You can watch Wright’s woes below:

Beckham’s Blackburn record?

“Arsenal have scored 10 goals so far this season, all from 10 different scorers (including one own goal),” notes Alex Hanrahan. “What’s the highest number of different scorers recorded from the start of a season?”

Blackburn Rovers can lay a claim to this, according to Scott Sumner. “At the start of the 2001-02 season, Rovers had 13 different goalscorers for their first 13 goals of the season: Nathan Blake, David Beckham (own goal), Keith Gillespie, Alan Mahon, Damien Duff, Matt Jansen, Lucas Neill, Corrado Grabbi, Garry Flitcroft, David Dunn, Damien Johnson, Grant McCann (own goal) and Tugay. This is certainly a Premier League record – and it must have a strong claim for being an all-time record.”

Corrado Grabbi scores in the 1-0 win over Everton in September 2001, an eighth different scorer during their 13-goal run.
Corrado Grabbi scores in the 1-0 win over Everton in September 2001, an eighth different scorer during their 13-goal run. Photograph: Michael Steele/Allsport

Knowledge archive

“I was recently watching the third Test between India and West Indies,” wrote Manas Phadke in July 2011. “I was quite surprised to see umpire Billy Doctrove sitting in a stand named after him, wearing a Liverpool jersey and kissing the badge for the cameras. Are there any other umpires in international cricket (present or past) who have publicly pledged their allegiance to a football club?”

Roy Proctor was on hand with a few answers. “The most obvious cricket umpire to have a publicly acknowledged football affiliation is the incomparable Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird, who in an article for the Guardian in 2008 proclaimed: ‘I’ve supported Barnsley for 70 years so there’s no way I will miss this afternoon.’ The afternoon in question was an FA Cup quarter-final between the Tykes and Chelsea, a match Barnsley won. Another, more current, umpire is Ian Gould, a wicketkeeper who played in goal for Slough Town and Arsenal’s youth team, earning him the nickname ‘Gunner’. In July 2009, Gould became chairman of Burnham FC of the Southern Football League. And although I’m not sure which team he supports, the legendary West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor, like Gould, was a goalkeeper, playing for Jamaica at schoolboy level. He went on to be a referee and took charge of a World Cup qualifier.”

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Can you help?

“Has there been, or is there, a professional player with more umlauts in their surname than Leicester City’s Caglar Söyüncü?” wonders Ben Fisher.

“During the Champions League final earlier this year, there was a point when four, or maybe five, Liverpool players were all caught offside at once,” mails Oliver Rowe. “Is this a record?”

“In the summer Paul Hurst took over as Ipswich manager, with John Askey replacing him as Shrewsbury boss and Mark Yates, in turn, filling the vacancy Askey left at Macclesfield,” writes Andy Boyd. “So far this season they have managed one league win between them. Is this potentially the worst ever instance of a managerial chain?”

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