get a new kit in 1938
Museum and Tour Centre
STEPHEN DONE (Museum Curator)
EXCITEMENT mounts as some of the Liverpool first team assemble at Anfield Road to
glimpse of the new 1938 season strip. “Eh Lads! The new kit’s just come in!” shouts
Shelley, the club trainer, as he drags the two huge wicker baskets of kit into the middle
the room and throws them open.
“Wonder what colour it will be this year?”
“Probably Red, same as last year - Oh yes, in fact it is the
same kit as last year!”
“What about the away strip?" asks Nivvy, the suave South African winger.
“White as usual” No surprises there then.
Things have changed dramatically in the area of football playing strip since this
photograph was taken in the summer of 1938.
The shirts were all supplied by Umbro to a standard design that other clubs almost
Manchester United for instance, wore identical red shirts and huge white baggy
Liverpool for the greater part of this Century.
The shirts were unmarked apart from a small label inside the collar as it was
the F.A. for kit suppliers to visibly advertise their branding until the mid 1960’s.
Liverpool did not even have the club badge upon their shirts until the 1950 FA Cup
and even then the badge was dropped after the game and was only to make a permanent return
in the late 1950’s.
|| Sponsorship names were unheard of until Liverpool
became the first ever British club to bear
a sponsors name on a shirt in 1979, when Hitachi’s white logo first appeared.
Liverpool’s shirts during this period were often simply plain red, sometimes with
detail at the neck, but rarely with contrasting cuffs and collars.
The away shirts were all-over white, but were rendered more attractive by
Off the pitch, the lads seem to like the firmly buttoned single- breasted suit over
knitted tank top and club striped tie. Brylcreem was clearly ‘de rigeur’.
The idea of a replica strip to be purchased by fans was still an age away, whilst
themselves being examined in this delightful photograph, were to all intents and purposes
identical to a contemporary rugby shirt.
Made of heavy cotton with a collar, often buttoned or laced at the front, and with
*They must have been sweltering to wear in warm weather and dreadfully heavy when
However, this was nothing to what Arthur Riley, seen on the far left of the picture
right) had to wear.
As the first team goalkeeper he was provided with a lovely warm roll- neck woollen
fine in the depths of winter, but surely impossibly hot in the warmer months.
These sweaters are now extremely rare, but one can be seen in the Museum of
in the Albert Dock, that was worn by Liverpool’s legendary Irish net- minder Elisha
Liverpool Football Club take delivery of the new kit - 1930’s
style. A fascinating glimpse
into the changing face of the Club is provided by this photograph from the collection of
late Jackie Balmer.
From left to right: Arthur Riley (goalkeeper), Tommy Bush, Alf Hanson (in
Payne, Phil Taylor(later team manager 1956-59), Berry 'Nivvy' Nieuwenhuys, Tommy Cooper,
Jackie Balmer and club trainer Albert Shelley (in the atrociously dirty lab coat)’.
The LFC Museum also has another rare survivor from this period, in the shape of a
1920’s-30’s Umbro shirt - similar to the ones being inspected in this photograph.
Now faded to a pale red after many years of washing, it perfectly captures the
the game of football from a bygone age.
It was quite normal for shirts to be worn for many seasons, and replaced only when
Shirts were not issued to individual players, but given out according to who was
play in each position - so one- size-fits-all was definitely the order of the day.
The numbers were cut out of fabric - often felt - and sewn onto the reverse, but
names were unheard of until the advent of the Premier League and the introduction of a
The players in the photograph include Tommy Cooper who was considered one of the
defenders of the inter-war period.
Signed from Derby County in December 1934 for a whopping Ј7,500, he proved well
the investment. He needed to be, as the late 1930’s were curiously barren years despite
fine players, and his solid defending was needed to ensure that the Club held onto at
midtable position during this frustrating time.
Cooper played 160 games and was club captain at the time of the photograph, an
Jackie Balmer and Phil Taylor were also to share.
He patriotically joined the military police as a dispatch rider during the war, but
his life in the line of duty in June 1940.
© Copyright of site LFC history www.lfchistory.net.
This article was printed in Liverpool FC official match day programme.