It is August 1st and my journey back to the 1983/84 football season is due to begin with the Charity Shield match between reigning champions Liverpool and FA Cup winners Manchester United on 20th August.
In preparation for my time travels, I will be whetting your appetite for this nine-month theme by sharing samples of popular culture from this era – starting with a look at the top flight kits worn in 1983/84.
I am aware that my historical holiday to 1983/84 is a means of escape from my miserable life. I am missing something, but can’t decide what that something is. Subsequently, I will be burying my head in another era, and hoping that something positive comes from it. At least the football will be better than what we have to put up with in the 21st Century.
Another very strong season for kits with some of the design elements that emerged in recent years really finding their feet. Also interesting to see the beginning of a third colour being introduced to some strips (QPR for example).
The big news though of course was that this was the first ever season that every top flight side had a shirt sponsor. The fact that this was the same season that the TV companies relaxed their ban on sponsored shirts was no coincidence, now companies were able to gain the full benefit of paying to see their brand on team kit.
Admiral made a welcome return this year alongside new football apparel company Nike!
The manufacturers tally this season was:
Adidas – 7
Umbro – 7
Le Coq Sportif – 3
Admiral – 2
Patrick – 2
Nike – 1
Arsenal – No change apart from plain red socks (with diamond trim) replacing the previous year’s hoops.
Aston Villa – After two years, a new Le Coq Sportif shirt featuring their favoured pinstripes and, what was to become a trademark of LCS designs at the time, the crew/inset collar – almost resembling a ‘fake’ neck. Mita Copies came on board as sponsors midway through the season.
Birmingham City – No change apart from the addition of Ansells Beer as sponsors and a switch to red socks.
Coventry City – The Sky Blues left the Talbot experiment behind and reverted to Umbro this season with this beautiful kit. Two tones of sky blue were trimmed with navy pinstripes. Stationery company Tallon became new shirt sponsors.
Everton – A real favourite with The Toffees supporters, this classic Le Coq Sportif shirt featured the same crew/inset neck as the Villa jersey but adorned the fabric with pairs of thin shadow stripes. Dual thin hoops also appeared on the socks.
Ipswich Town – No change.
Leicester City – Newly promoted Leicester returned to the Admiral brand who were trying to rebuild under new owners following their bankruptcy of the early 80s. Pairs of thin stripes decorated this fine kit which also included the logo of the Foxes’ first sponsor, Ind Coope.
Liverpool – No change apart from a new single-line version of the Crown Paints brand introduced midway through the campaign.
Luton Town – No change apart from a new design of Bedford Trucks’ logo that was occasionally worn.
Manchester United – No change apart from the removal of the word ‘Electronics’ from the Sharp logo which enabled the main part of the logo to be included at a larger size.
Norwich City – No change apart from the addition of Poll Withey Windows as sponsor in a rather fetching red.
Nottingham Forest – No change.
Notts County – The first new Notts County kit for many years saw the introduction of a mainly white shirt that utilised the same Admiral template as that worn by Leicester. Monarch were the club’s first sponsor.
Queens Park Rangers – New arrivals QPR sported a fine new adidas strip that introduced a fine red pinstripes to the famous hoops. White badge and adidas logos replaced the initial red versions. Iconic sponsors Guinness featured on the shirts.
Southampton – No change apart from Air Florida replacing Rank Xerox as shirt sponsors.
Stoke City – Big new kit from Umbro that ruffled a few feathers of Stoke fans. The familiar red and white stripes were out to be replaced by a white body alongside an array of tightly spaced pinstripes. Red sleeves, shorts and socks completed the outfit that, like Sunderland’s previous strip, attempted to reinvent tradition.
Sunderland – The first appearance in the English game of Nike as football kit suppliers. Traditional stripes returned but were truncated by a white raglan sleeve and shoulders. Curiously the club badge appeared on the right with the Nike logo on the left. This was due to the fact that these were essentially badged up team wear that originally featured the Nike swoosh in prime position.
Tottenham Hotspur – Essentially the same design as previously worn, but now with a new badge design placed centrally (at the request of the club) with the Le Coq Sportif logo on each sleeve. In many ways this placement was a backwards move as both Villa and Everton’s new LCS kits had reverted to the more familiar logo positions.
Watford – No change apart from a new design of shorts that included a club badge and thinner side trim.
West Bromwich Albion – Another curious tweak – essentially the same design as the previous season but now the jersey featured a multi-trimmed v-neck and cuffs that brought the strip bang up to date.
West Ham United – Another great adidas design, with blue sleeves, shoulder three stripe trim and a broad blue chest band trimmed with white piping. Avco (later presented as Avco Trust on the shirts were the club’s first ever sponsor.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – No change from the pinstriped kit introduced the previous season.