Got something to say or just want fewer pesky ads? Join us... 😊

[Football] When did replica shirts become really popular?



Guinness Boy

Tofu eating wokerati
Helpful Moderator
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Jul 23, 2003
33,348
Up and Coming Sunny Portslade
Posted on another thread about being with someone in Birmingham in probably 1989 or 1990 who got in trouble due to wearing a replica Albion shirt made me think 'when did people start doing this?'.

When I was first taken to games at the end of the 70s and early 80s it was scarves on wrists but I don't remember ever seeing anyone in a replica shirt. Later on that decade ski hats became popular in the North Stand but I still don't remember an abundance of shirt wearing.

I can remember seeing our scratchy Bukta kit in a local sports shop as a kid and my mum doing her sharp intake of breath that meant 'you won't ever be getting one of them'.

But by the time of the Wembley playoff v Notts Co loads of people had the 'Nobo' shirts, pretty sure a couple of my mates had the red and white one that actually looked pink from a distance.

Was it anything to do with sponsorship on shirts suddenly being allowed on TV?
 

loz

Well-known member
Apr 27, 2009
2,212
W.Sussex
I had replica shirt in 72 and 73, bought them in Hewitts in Croydon, but I was 8 at the time, never really saw “grown ups” wearing them until the 80s
 

Guinness Boy

Tofu eating wokerati
Helpful Moderator
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Jul 23, 2003
33,348
Up and Coming Sunny Portslade
Italia 90. Football in the mainstream, Gazzamania, the game not immediately associated with violence. Grown men buying opera cassettes and openly crying in front of their friends.

That's where I think the take off really happened.
That's a great shout. Went to Ibiza in 1991 with my mates and shirts, real and hooky were everywhere, including the clubs, as was a certain substance that had calmed down an awful lot of young men and turned 'no surrender' into 'let's all have a disco'. Clubs in Rimini were full of England during Italia 90.
 


Happy Exile

Well-known member
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Apr 19, 2018
1,813
I remember having a replica England shirt during the 82 world cup, which was bought from a jumble sale so presumably was older than that. I was 7 though. so don't remember loads about it but from my memory of the material I doubt it was a "genuine" replica. Pretty sure my mate had a yellow Liverpool away one around the same time. Looking on ebay it seems they did exist.
 


GT49er

Well-known member
Feb 1, 2009
46,126
Gloucester

When did replica shirts become really popular?​

Not yet for some of us! HOW much? - for a SHIRT?.............and as for buying a new one because it's got four blue stripes instead of last year's three stripes ............... therein lies madness!

.....and don't get me started on away shirts that aren't needed when there is no colour clash with blue and white stripes, let alone special European shirts which may (possibly) be worn a couple of times! A nice blue and white woolly scarf, on the other hand, can last a life time, and can still keep your neck warm no matter how much other parts of the body may need a larger size!
 

US Seagull

Well-known member
Jul 17, 2003
3,064
Cleveland, OH
FWIW, I asked Microsoft Copilot:

The popularity of replica soccer shirts has an interesting history! Let’s dive into it:
1959

th


  1. 1959: The first replica kit emerged, courtesy of Umbro, specifically aimed at children. The Umbroset came as a boxed kit with a shirt, shorts, and socks, encouraging kids to “dress like their heroes” and featuring images of popular players like Matt Busby and Denis Law1.
1973

th


  1. 1973: Admiral, a sportswear manufacturer, struck a deal with Leeds manager Don Revie to produce their away kit. They took advantage of the newly introduced Design Copyright Act, ensuring an authentic and exclusive kit. By the late 1970s, 84 out of the 92 League teams had similar deals in place1.
  2. 1977/78: Admiral’s advertising campaign showcased replica shirts worn with jeans, a more casual style than the full kit. This marked a turning point, as fans began to embrace the replica shirt as everyday wear1.
1980s

th


  1. 1980s: The trend of wearing what players wore gained momentum in European soccer. By 1990, photographs showed spectators at Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup final proudly donning replica club shirts2.
  2. 1990s: The commercialization of soccer shirts increased, with replica shirts prominently featuring professional team logos. Fans embraced these replicas as a way to connect with their favorite clubs3.
So, the rise of replica soccer shirts has been a gradual process, evolving from children’s kits to becoming a beloved part of football culture for fans of all ages! 🌟⚽
So, if AI is to believed, it started in the 70's, but really took off around the start of the 90's. Which I feel tracks with my general sense of the thing.
 


Jul 7, 2003
8,507
Although there were some around in the late 70's I think that they really kicked in when shirt sponsorship began in the early 80s.
 

PeterT

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2017
2,154
Hove
I had the Admiral England home and away shirts in 1976 but that was just to play football in, not to wear to matches. Got the home shirt from Tony Buss Sports in Lancing. Might pop back in there and see what stock he has in.
 

Invicta

Well-known member
NSC Licker Extraordinaire
Nov 1, 2013
3,163
Kent
Got the Bukta shirt (10 yr old size) in 1980. Full kit in a box. Still have the shirt. Early 90's until I got another one.
 


Easy 10

Brain dead MUG SHEEP
Jul 5, 2003
61,572
Location Location
I was a NOBO boy when I first started wearing the replicas so would probably have been around 88 or 89 and they were everywhere by then. I can remember chewing my FIST with frustration at how long it would take for the replica shirt to become available though, always seemed to be a couple of months into the season. Which often seems to be the case these days, but I don't wear replica shirts any more, apart from sometimes the 70s Bukta one to the late or early season games when its nice outside.
 

portlock seagull

Why? Why us?
Jul 28, 2003
16,805
Euro 96
 

Comrade Sam

Comrade Sam
Jan 31, 2013
1,490
Walthamstow
Got my first the Christmas of my first season in '85.
Two replicas spring to mind from Buckingham Road middle school in Shoreham-by-Sea in the late '70s. A new kid who had the diagonal stripe Palace shirt - who I swear was the guy in the Half Man Half Biscuit classic. We went to his birthday party at his house on the beach and we watched him play scalextric with his cousin, then Subbuteo with his cousin. It was the first time I'd been in the same room with either classic.
The other shirt was a Liverpool top and the kids gran had stitched HITACHI onto it. I had only seen the sponsor free kit on the box and couldn't work out why he'd deface it so horrifically.
I don't know if any of these facts will help to discover the answer you're looking for.
 

Comrade Sam

Comrade Sam
Jan 31, 2013
1,490
Walthamstow
I was a NOBO boy when I first started wearing the replicas so would probably have been around 88 or 89 and they were everywhere by then. I can remember chewing my FIST with frustration at how long it would take for the replica shirt to become available though, always seemed to be a couple of months into the season. Which often seems to be the case these days, but I don't wear replica shirts any more, apart from sometimes the 70s Bukta one to the late or early season games when its nice outside.
My Mum washed mine at 60 degrees and washed the badge and NOBO off. She then did it again with next year's kit. The most annoying thing was that my mum had been banned from washing my clothes for 5 years already, after repeatedly ruining everything I bought from Carnaby street. So both had got into the wash by accident.
 


BNthree

Plastic JCL
Sep 14, 2016
10,656
WeHo
By the time New Order released World in Motion (and wore shirts in the video) in 1994 wearing a replica shirt was a thing.
 

Mr Bridger

Sound of the suburbs
Feb 25, 2013
4,342
Earth
Get Shirty.
Doc about Admiral shirts when it all started.

 

Albion and Premier League latest from Sky Sports

Paying the bills

Latest Discussions

Paying the bills

Paying the bills

Paying the bills


Top