When I was very young I really wanted my Mum and Dad to have a Triton Shower. What better way to proudly demonstrate allegiance to Birmingham City than to use the very product advertised on their shirts? I mean, Triton Showers are obviously the very best showers in the world, right? I couldn’t imagine a better way to start the day than to literally wash yourself with glory! Sadly I didn’t know who manufactured our shower at home but was pretty sure it wasn’t a Triton. I might as well have supported the Villa.
If I’d started going to St Andrews a few seasons earlier I’d have no doubt felt similar brand loyalty towards Mark One. That would have worked out brilliantly, as it happens, because I used to go into Mark One with my Mum while she bought leggings. Glory leggings!
At some point in my early supporting days I must have noticed people wearing replica shirts. Maybe I thought I was stood amongst the substitutes? Although I’d like to think the obligatory pot bellies rid me of that illusion pretty quickly. No, it was definitely the sponsors that stuck out to me as opposed to the shirts themselves which is probably indicative of the fact I never owned one. My parents felt they were too expensive, I suspect, and I see where they were coming from. I don’t know how much they were then, but right now fifty odd quid for a nylon shirt with a betting company’s logo on the front is pretty bloody steep if you ask me. My parents certainly wouldn’t have forked out for numbers or letters on the back. I remember my Dad and I laughing at a bloke sat in front of us who’d tried to get Ndlovu printed on the back of his shirt, only they’d missed out the ‘U’ at the end. Maybe he’d been charged per letter and he’d run out of money? We were probably very wrong to laugh!
Pretty soon, however, I started becoming enamoured with certain Birmingham City kits and not so much with others. I remember hating what Villa fans called the Tesco bag kit from the ’99-’00 season. What a horror show that strip was.
I always loved our penguin kits, though. Apart from looking really cool in my humble opinion, they also hark back to a period of success for Birmingham that I wasn’t alive for. I also think ‘the penguin’ provides Blues with a real on-pitch identity and if I had my way we’d always sport a version of that design. I like it when teams have a specific look to their shirts, like Wycombe Wanderers or Queens Park Rangers. One snatched look at a game on the telly and if either of those teams are playing at home you know exactly who you’re watching.
Nowadays I do actually own four or five Blues shirts in which I play football on various commons and parks around London. I went through a phase a few years back of buying up away tops or training shirts if they were cheap at the end of the season from the online shop. They’re a bit tattered now but I love it when a total stranger from France who’s marking me at the back post looks at my shirt and mutters “Ah, Dugarry…”
Anticipating what Birmingham’s new kit is going to look like is part of the pre-season excitement for me these days and it’s yet another little thing that keeps me feeling connected with the Blues down here in London.
Are there any kits in particular that you guys hated or loved? Do you sport a Blues shirt when you play football and get (potentially unwanted) attention for it? Do you remember when our kit supplier was Pony, for goodness sake!? Get in touch with me or BCFC Followers via Facebook, via Twitter or please post a comment below! I’ll leave you with a reminder that if you bet with 888 Sport and lose at least you’ve bet with glory! KRO!