Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hibernian shirt history

Hibernian at the moment seem intent on bringing out even more shirts than Borussia Dortmund, so it seemed like a good idea to have a look at their history of their shirts.
Recently they brought out a shirt to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their Scottish League Cup Final victory over Dunfermiline.

The shirt appears to be pretty accurate, despite being made by a different manufacturer and the original can be seen below, as worn by Keith Wright scoring in the 2-0 victory over the Pars.

That said it all seems like a bit of a con for the Hi-Bees faithful with them also having a new home and away kit and a third kit. What they need to have a third kit for is anybody's guess, but they have brought out the lilac effort below that was worn in a home game a couple of weeks ago agianst Motherwell. They lost and Motherwell also wore their away kit.

The lilac kit has been advertised by the manufacturers as a homage to yesteryear, but Hibs, who were formed in 1875 first wore a white shirt with a white harp and white and green trousers. The players were responsible for providing their own kit and a cap too.

The team of 1875 grew up in the Cowgate area of Edinburgh, which due to its high number of Irish immigrants in the area, hence the harp on the shirt and the club motto of 'Erin Go Bach' (Ireland forever). The first manager of the club was a Father Hannan of the local St.Patrick's church and it was soon decided that any profits from the club would be drilled back into the local, impoverished community. However, the club were banned from having any contact at all with members of the Scottish FA, but Heart of Midlothian broke the embargo by playing them on Christmas Day 1875.

In 1876 Hibs had adopted a green and white hooped shirt and were allowed into the Scottish FA. Hears perhaps regreted their friendly gesture though, as one year later Hibs knocked them out of the Scottish FA Cup and the first of many punch-ups between the clubs broke out.

In 1879 Hibs adopted an all green shirt that would form the basis of the kit until the 1930s although they regular changed the colour of the shorts mainly alternating between white and blue ones.

By 1887 Hibernian were considered one of the elite clubs in Scotland and in that year they won the Scottish FA Cup. This formed the catalyst for 'Hibernian' clubs to be set up by Irish communities across the country. One notable Hibernian club of the period being the Glasgow one, which became Celtic, who were formed by a Father Walfrid. Celtic as they were to become though actually served a few blows to their Edinburgh brothers, as despite being founded on the same altruistic ideology Celtic even then were much more commercial. By the following year Celtic had 'stolen' Hibernian's best players and the Edinburgh club was in meltdown.

In 1891 the lease ran out on their ground so as well as losing players they also lost their ground at the start of the year. In May their manager Father Hannon died and the club wound up. In 1892 the club was back up and running though and in February 1893 the club played their first game at Drum Park, which is on the same site as their Easter Road Ground, a makeshift team losing 3-2 to Clyde. In 1902 they won the Scottish FA Cup and in 1903 they won the League.

Just before the outbreak of World War II the Hi-bees introduced the white sleeves to their green shirts in honour of the Arsenal team of the period.

It seemed to do the trick as the post-war period was the most successful in the history of the club. They won the league in 1948, 51 and 52 and in 1955 became the first British club to take part in the European Champions Cup.

The next piece of silverware after these heady days came in 1972 when they won the league cup wearing this kit.

The 1980s were a lean spell for the Edinburgh club, but after bouncing back Hibs managed to win the League Cup in 1991, were runners up in 1993 and finished 3rd in 1994. In 1998 Hibs were relegated but in 2001 they reached the SFA Cup Final with Alex McLeish's Hibs going down 3-0 to Martin O'Neill's Celtic.

Not much good has happened since then unfortunately. This season the team are wearing the kit below, if they aren't wearing a commemorative shirt that is.

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