Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Aston Villa in shirts

Aston Villa were formed by the local methodist cricket team of Villa Cross in 1874 under the watchful eye of a Scottish business man who had moved to the city called William McGregor. Mr. McGregor would also go on to come up with the idea of the football league where Villa became one of the powerhouses of the Victorian era.

Villa's first kit was claret and blue hoops. It has been stated that Villa chose these colours in respect to the 2 biggest Scottish teams of the time Rangers and Hearts. However, I don't think that this story hold much weight as Hearts didn't settle on a dark red hue to their shirts until 2 years later. Another rumour is that the colours came from a local pub where the founders of the club used to meet, which seems highly unlikely for a group of wesleyan methodists.

The rampant lion which first appeared in the late 1870s and remains on the crest of the club up until the present day is more clearly a nod to the club's Scottish forefathers.

The first kit of claret with blue sleeves was seen in 1891, and was copied by both Burnley and West Ham in an attempt to eminate, what was at the time, the most successful clubin the country.

Apart from a blip in 1892-3 when Villa appeared in claret and blue halves and an all claret affair during the darkest days of 1969-70 Villa stayed faithful to the claret with blue sleeves until 1983-4 when they released a claret shirt with blue side panels, which incidentally was the first shirt I had.

Since then despite some experiments villa have stayed faithful to the claret with blue sleeves design, although the 'pyjama' shirts modelled on the Danish kit of the time and made famous by David Platt et al was one of the more controversial designs.

This season Villa turned their back on sponsors and went with the logo of a local charity for children called Acorns.

Note on shirts from top to bottom:
Top: The first shirt from 1874
The shirt with the rampant lion from the late 1870s
The first Claret with blue sleeves from 1891-92
The first corruption of the century - the all claret shirt from 1969-70

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