The Passion Behind Historical Football Kits: An Interview with David Moor

CEO Tam DT
Getting shirty: Historical Football Kits, the definitive archive, British Ideas Corporation, 2016 When a new Admiral England kit was launched in 1980, with red, white, and blue panels on the shoulder, it became an instant...

Getting shirty: Historical Football Kits Getting shirty: Historical Football Kits, the definitive archive, British Ideas Corporation, 2016

When a new Admiral England kit was launched in 1980, with red, white, and blue panels on the shoulder, it became an instant hit with English children. It was a design so popular that every junior school and comprehensive wanted it as their school-team colors. The passion for football kits ignited by that Admiral masterpiece inspired countless individuals, including David Moor, the founder of Historical Football Kits. In an exclusive interview with British Ideas Corporation, Moor discusses his journey with the website and his love for football kits.

The Birth of a Website

Brum rush the show: David Moor, midfield general of Historical Football Kits Brum rush the show: David Moor, midfield general of Historical Football Kits in Birmingham City third kit 1972-’74

British Ideas Corporation: Why did you start a football-kit website? David Moor: The history of football kits have been a passion of mine since I was 13. When computers became an everyday part of life, I realized that I could use technology to create and collate graphics, putting them into albums and updating them.

When you were younger, did you draw kits into exercise books? Yes, that’s exactly what I did. I was 13 and it was the year of the 1966 World Cup. After the World Cup, during a family holiday in Cornwall, my brother and I found a book that had the shirt colors of all the Football League clubs. We entertained ourselves by drawing them.

Is the website a full-time job? No, I'm retired. I started it ten years ago when I was still working. It's a hobby that keeps me busy. At the end of every season, I ponder over which teams will change their kit design and how the new kits will look.

Do you work on the site on your own? My son takes care of all the technical side. I focus on the content.

Are you "techy"? No, ha-ha. I can do what I need to do, but managing servers and all the rest of that stuff is way beyond me.

Did you used to be a designer? No. That's the beauty of having graphics technology and programs. You only need to create a drawing once, get it right, and then you can keep reusing it. You don't have to have any talent.

The Fascinating Details

Chesterfield FC’s Union Jack kit from 1892-’93 National heroes: Chesterfield FC’s Union Jack kit from 1892-’93 (image: Historical Football Kits)

What's particularly captivating about your site is the level of detail, with odd kit variations for single matches, like different-colored socks and non-standard kit manufacturer's logos. How do you find out such facts? When we set this up, it was my son's idea to post it on the web. I didn't think anybody would be interested. But we made the decision to ask visitors for help and corrections. It's been extraordinary; we've had thousands of emails and hundreds of contributors. One person spent 30 years meticulously recording the colors of clubs based on Scottish newspaper reports and annuals, and shared all the material with us.

Do you think this obsession with football kits is unique to Britain? I don't know if it is. There are similarly obsessed people around the world.

Which kit stands out for you? I love the Victorian period. It's so unrestrained, with teams changing colors depending on the material they could get hold of. My favorite is Chesterfield. The owner of The Spital Hotel in Chesterfield found a set of shirts in the loft made of Union Jacks. He gave them to the club, and they wore Union Jack shirts in the following season. It's a story that has circulated for years, and it turned out to be true.

Hull City’s Nineties kit Roar deal: Hull City’s relegation-zone Nineties kit (image: Historical Football Kits)

Do you have any particularly gruesome kit designs in mind? Oh yes. That would be Hull City's tiger stripes. It's just so unutterably bad, so silly.

An Unhealthy Obsession

Where do you think we are at the moment with kits? In the last 15 years or so, there has been a trend towards simpler designs and a lot of retro influence, in which Historical Football Kits has played a part. Clubs often turn to us for reference when creating anniversary designs and more. Simpler designs are positive, but it's unfortunate that the big global players like Adidas, Puma, and Nike now dominate. We'll be seeing standard template kits with very little variation during the Euros.

It makes you long for the days of billowing shirts like Chris Waddle's, doesn't it? People's ideas of what makes a good kit are influenced by the time they first experienced football. If you saw matches in the Eighties, you'd appreciate the billowy shirts. For me, it's the Sixties - minuscule shorts, long sleeves, plain shirts with crewnecks. That's what constitutes a proper football kit.

You must be able to track viewing figures through your site. Yes, and the numbers are extraordinary, around 1.5 million visitors a year.

A Return to Passion

Soiled goods: Coventry’s brown away kit from the mid-Seventies Soiled goods: Coventry’s brown away kit from the mid-Seventies (image: Historical Football Kits)

Do you get enough advertising to support the site? Yes, but we don't rely solely on advertising. We needed proper server space to accommodate the website and started taking advertising to cover the expenses. However, we have always limited the number of ads to ensure visitors aren't overwhelmed.

What do you think of the moving adverts at major football matches? Oh, they're distracting. But if they didn't distract you from the game, they wouldn't exist.

Have you ever published a book? Yes, I did. It’s called The Worst Football Kits Of All Time [The History Press, 2011]. It was a great and enjoyable experience.

Who do you support? I don't actually support any team. I live in South Wales now, and I prefer watching rugby.

What?? I know. But this thing about football kits is an unhealthy obsession.

For a captivating journey through the history of football kits, visit historicalkits.co.uk and explore the remarkable collection meticulously curated by David Moor and his team.

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