Sunday, December 11, 2011

Coventry City Shirt History

Next Saturday we are off to London Road again, this time Posh are taking on one of my least favourite teams of all time; Coventry City, who were strangely the first team I saw playing against Stoke at the old Victoria Ground in 1983.

Anyway, it's not looking good for the Sky Blues this season, as they currently sit at the bottom of the Championship and all doesn't seem well at the club, it hasn't always been like this though.

Coventry were formed as Singers after the factory that made bicycles in the City in 1883. Their original kit was thought to be pink like the colours of the factory, there is also evidence that the Sky Blues wore sky blue in this period too, but that may have been a change shirt. One of the earliest shirts on record was a number that mixed both blue and pink, which dates back to 1889.

From 1890 to 1891 Singers adopted a black strip with a pink 'S' on the breast to represent the factory.

During the next few years Singers donned a black and red number before settling on dark and light blue halves in 1898 when they changed their name to Coventry City.

They kept this shirt until 1904 and then experimented with kits that mixed dark blue, sky blue and white. In 1919 when the football league was expanded Coventry were admitted and at the time adopted sky blue and white stripes.

The first few years for Coventry were a struggle as they tried to hang on to league survival. However, they were clearly starting to feel like they were representing the city as between 1892 and 1894 they adopted the municipal colours of the city, a rather fetching red and green number.

From 1924 to 1962 Coventry didn't do much of note rather than kick around in the lower divisions of the league and during this period they wore blue and white stripes. Things were about to change for Coventry though. Jimmy 'Chinny' Hill was brought in as manager and things were transformed. Firstly, he introduced the sky
blue kit (and introduced the nickname) that has more or less become synonymous with the club, he also got the maximum wage abolished, introduced the version of the 'Eton Boat Song' that Coventry still thing, encouraged the players to mix with the fans and later was the driving force that saw Highfield Road become the first all seater stadium in the country.

In 1964 Coventry were promoted from the 3rd division on the last day of the season and in 1967 they reached the first division and for the first time they were in the top tier of English football. Hill left for a career in TV on their promotion but Coventry were to remain in the top division until 2001.

During this period they released a couple of interesting kits. There was the sky blue first and brown second shirts of 1975-1978 that have become cult classics.

And then there was also the controversial Talbot kit of 1981 to 1983, which used the Talbot logo as part of the 'design' in order to get round rules over the size of sponsors on shirts.

Shortly after this they changed to a more sensible if unoriginal sky blue number that like a lot of shirts of the mid 1980s had the same colour in two different shade. This shirt being the same one as the one they were wearing in the first game I ever went to.

Coventry's greatest achievement came in 1987 when they won the FA Cup beating Spurs 3-2 with a Keith Houchen diving header.

In 2001 Coventry were, after years of hanging on in the top division, relegated by their ex-player Dion Dublin in a game against Villa, a team that they always found it hard to get any result against. It was an impressive record, but they haven't looked like coming back at any point since dropping out.

In 2005 Coventry left their Highfield Road stadium for the Ricoh Stadium. Since then they haven't worried the play off places, and are looking in real trouble this season in this kit, which is a more or less carbon copy of the one Jimmy Hill introduced.

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