STFC Shirt of the Month: 1989-1991 Spall Home Shirt

Replica kit collector Dan Castle of reviews the Spall home shirt that didn’t grace Division One in 1990/91…

‘You’ve got no-one to blame for your unhappiness. You got yourself into your own mess’.

Football fans become involved emotionally in the game in different ways. Some are introduced to it by parents at an early age, brought up in tiny replica shirts or baby grows with ‘Great dribbler for City/Gers/United etc etc’.

Some are introduced to it through school and friends the first time they enjoy kicking a ball, or collection of stuffed juice packets around a playground or playing ‘headers and volleys’. For others it’s choosing to like a usually successful team to fit in with a group of friends even though you could never point to it on a map, for my generation that meant Liverpool.

For me it was, like many my age, the World Cup in 1990 that finally cemented my love of the game. Most grown men and teenagers like me felt the euphoria of David Platt’s last minute goal against Belgium or the sheer undisguised joy of veteran Roger Milla scoring a goal and of course the tragedy of Gazza’s tears and the epic Semi Final against Germany.

However, unlike other recent converts I also had a double football tragedy that ran alongside England’s heroic failure in the World Cup. It was the awful realisation that Swindon would not be playing in the top flight, but instead the Third and later the Second tier of the Football League all because of the actions of a few greedy individuals. It was something I couldn’t understand. If you are a Town fan who was in their teens back then, you maybe couldn’t help but think, as teenagers do, that the world was against you!

The summer of 1990 was one of those defining few months in my life that I will always remember. The football of course, but also the music. New Order’s timeless ‘World In Motion’, The Stone Roses first album on repeat on my Aiwa personal stereo, but also cheesy tunes like Roxette’s ‘It must have been love’ on a battered old radio as I worked a summer job at a Strawberry Farm outside of Marlborough. The dial had broken as was permanently stuck on GWR FM.

The radio station had launched a campaign to let Swindon keep the place they deservedly won on the field at Wembley. They adopted the Wilson Phillips song, ‘Hold On’. Even now when I hear that song the first thing I think of is Alan McLoughlin’s goal at Wembley and the victory parade back in Swindon, then the old ‘HTV news’ jingle before the shock news of the FA’s decision.

This old shirt of course brings back all those memories both good and bad. It is the last shirt made by Spall who had made some great shirts for Town from the mid 80’s onwards.

It actually looks a lot like the previous 1987 England Umbro shirt with its ‘grandad button collar’ and boxy look. Of course the sponsor is fantastic because GWR provided the soundtrack to my Summer 25 years ago.

I never bought this shirt the first time around and so I was thrilled in the late 90’s on a random trip to Swindon that I found one for £2.49 in a charity shop in Havelock Street. To me this shirt was more than just some red nylon and cotton mix top with a garish sponsor logo plastered on the front. The 89-91 shirt represented all those memories and emotions I felt in my late teens in just the same way that Wilson Phillips tune does whenever I hear it.

Follow @dcastle77

One comment

  • See the one Ossie’s wearing on the right of the picture. I have that shirt. My mum rescued it from a lost property box at Barnes Coaches in the summer of 1990. They say you shouldn’t brag but…
    I already had a boys size and youths. Must have been a growth spurt!


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