The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Green and White Jerseys

Today: a little article salvaged from the beginning of the season…

Around about this time of year, one of the main events that football followers look forward to is the annual introduction of the new home and away kits of their team. Sometimes these occasions are met with approval by the fan base and at other times, derision. The design of the average football club kit being such a subjective matter, it’s quite hard to gain universal approval – especially when we consider the more hard-line traditionalist opinion of perhaps more ‘mature’ generations of diehards.

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The ‘Famous Five’

It already seems like months ago but back in the dog days of high summer last month, my club, Hibs, released their brand new strip for season 2014-15 to a truly cataclysmic fan reaction. One the like of I hadn’t witnessed before. In something of a departure for the club, the famous white sleeves which have traditionally accompanied the green jersey of Hibernian for the past seventy-something years were jettisoned in favour of a late return to the much older solid green styling, using a darker shade of green as had been employed by Hibs’ earlier ‘greatest men’ of a different age. It sounds small beer when stated that way but truly, perhaps especially as so many fans had felt disenfranchisement from the Easter Road club after the dark days of a recent relegation; it produced a hurricane of protest, revilement and anger. Not quite a cold fury on the Hibs internet forums but certainly not far from it. Along with this was a fair volume of negative comment about the size and design of Hibs’ new on-shirt sponsor’s logo. A few didn’t seem to accept the fact that the red lettering of their logo is somewhat at odds sartorially with the green of Hibs and imagined that the sponsoring company’s corporate colour should be ‘changed’. That’s not going the way it works by the way, boys and girls.

The club’s marketing campaign for the new kit on the official website was somewhat appealing. It featured attractive images of the grandchildren of Hibs’ indomitable forward line of the 1950s, the Famous Five, and focused on a small, dare I say not-very-well done inscription to Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull and Ormond on the shirt. This however, appeared to fail to win people over.

It wasn’t all about the white sleeves. The early images of the jersey made it appear cheap and shoddy looking – a ‘training top’ appearance to some – made from poor materials and based on a budget standard Nike template shirt which was something that upset many. In this way, some went as far as to see it as a defilement of the memory of the Famous Five which of course is a complete no-no – those men being held in such exalted opinion by every Hibee, even those of us who were not around in person to see them bewitch defences and dazzle the huge 1950s crowds.

Something very strange then happened. A few days later the jersey actually appeared for sale in the club store on the rail and opinion began to swing to the like of ‘it’s better in the flesh than it first appeared’ type comments. Here, we can truly see the destructive power of social media and internet forums generally, in all their ferocity – and what felt like an almost complete U-turn in opinion overnight from that.

It’s clear that these days, when clubs need to maximise their potential income, the number of replica jerseys sold is a highly significant figure. In this way, we see that football shirts are often designed to as much as anything look good with a pair of jeans, on the beach or in the pub – a reason why they have in some cases began to morph into t-shirts (rather like Hibs’ latest effort). Many of the comments I read referred to fans not buying one – as opposed to what the team would actually look like playing in it. This is, of course, a modern phenomenon. The earliest Hibs or Scotland jerseys I was able to get my muddy hands on during school days to play on local recreation grounds were pretty generic looking items, unbadged and certainly sans ‘Frew 9’ on the back. Of course this was usually de rigueur for professionals too in those days.

What we always come down to after these unholy outbreaks of wrath is, of course, the bottom line. If Hibs start winning regularly in their new bottle-green ‘training top’ it will become a classic! As ever, we football fans remain the fickle ones.

stanton

 

Iconic – Pat Stanton

My own thoughts are that I don’t really like it. It looks neat enough but for me, it’s not ‘Hibs’. I’m not worried though as I’m aware it will be eBay fodder in around twelve months’ time, such is the way of things. Whatever it looks like, I had no intention of buying one however, my concerns are only that my club is presented appropriately and traditionally on the field of play so maybe my opinion doesn’t count for much with the hierarchy. I recall one of the 1970s’ Turnbull’s Tornadoes, possibly the great Alex Cropley, stating that not only did he and his team believe they were a great side (they were) but that they knew they looked the classiest too (they did). That still has to mean something? To be proud to wear that beautiful green jersey with the crisp white sleeves and to know that you and your teammates look the business in it?

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Hibs 2014-15 Away kit

Since they launched the home kit, Hibs have partly redeemed themselves (in my eyes) by the release of the club’s new away kit of white jerseys and green shorts. This strip reminds me greatly of the old tradition of reverse strips to play away from home in and, being a traditionalist, I like that very much. It even panders to the more modernist way of thinking too in that the jersey will probably go well with a pair of jeans. However, as one observer so succinctly put it, ‘I’m not paying forty-four quid for a white polo shirt with a Hibs badge on it’.

It looks ‘nice on’ though as they say, well it did last night at Ibrox I thought. They certainly seemed more able than of late to find a teammate in the same colour all evening.

Suits you sir.

September 27, 2014 - Posted by | Hibernian FC | ,

4 Comments »

  1. Season 1950/51 Hibs were Scottish Div1 champions.

    A young lad at that time and a keen Hibs supporter, I often wondered why the Edinburgh buses were painted maroon? (Hearts colours) My young mind often wondered if this was conspiracy against Hibs and their supporters, by Hearts-supporting Councillors sitting on the Edinburgh Town Council?

    Light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek, I wrote the following ditty. No need for me to give up the day job – I’m retired!🙂
    …………………………………………………………………………
    PAINTED GREEN..

    Way back in 1950, when Hibs won the League.
    The team wis really nifty, strong wi’ nae fatigue.
    The green and the white, graced Edinburray Toon.
    Yet Toon Cooncillors had the buses..
    Painted MAROON!

    Hi-Bees buzzin’ roon’d the auld jam-tarts.
    The famous-five flyin’.. tore them apart.
    Nae glory for Hearts then, oor lads had put them doon.
    So how come those buses were..
    Painted MAROON?

    That Glesga pair, were always the dangers.
    But Hibs they did conquer.. both Celtic and Rangers.
    Their supporters all went bammy and tore up the Toon.
    Then they peed on those buses that were..
    Painted MAROON!

    Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull ’n Ormond.
    Wi fitba mair bonny, than the Banks O’ Loch Lomond
    They played the finest fitba, the Toon has ever seen.
    So why weren’t those buses..
    Painted GREEN!

    Nick Carlin.

    Comment by Nick Carlin | January 11, 2015

  2. Love it, Nick! That’s brilliant, thanks very much for that. I have to say I’ve often wondered the same. It’s one of the few Embra sights I’m not fussed about!🙂 I’ll pass that nice wee ditty on to a few pals if you don’t mind.

    How I would love to have seen that fifties team featuring the ‘Five’. What wonderful times they must have been at dear old Easter Road.

    Glory Glory

    Stu

    Comment by Stuart | January 11, 2015

  3. Yes Stu, great days and great memories. I remember crying bitterly when Bobby Johnstone was transferred to Man City – many Hibee supporters with broken hearts (pardon the pun).

    Thank you for a great website.

    Comment by Nick Carlin | January 11, 2015

  4. I can imagine, Nick. What a clever inside-forward Nicker must have been. They don’t make them like that any more. Thanks for the kind words, love to write about the Hibs particularly, when I get the chance. I wrote the following one after bumping into a Hearts fan from the fifties who was an admirer of The Famous Five. Happy Days.

    https://stuartfrew.wordpress.com/2007/09/03/hibs-and-hearts-united/

    I’m ‘Tornadoes’ vintage so I’m happy to say I’ve seen a few good ‘uns in the Green and White.

    Comment by Stuart | January 11, 2015


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