Hall of Shame #35: 2002/03 DGI Kit
Replica kit collector Dan Castle of swindontownshirts.com inducts our 35th entry into the Swindon Town Hall of Shame…
In 2012 The Washbag shortlisted seven kits to discover which should be consigned to the STFC Hall Of Shame. There were many candidates, including the ever popular cult ‘potato print’ shirt. The winner and 7th entrant to the Hall of Shame was the 2007-08 shirt made by Lotto and sponsored by ‘The Kingswood Group’. The shirt was a mess and I myself voted for it to go in the Hall Of Shame back then. What was worse than the silly diagonal flashes across the shirt was the naff sponsor, which almost universally washed off as soon as the shirt touched water above 20 degrees!
However, that 2012 shortlist excluded another awful kit. A kit so awful that rumour has it even the players themselves did not like wearing it. The shirt in question is the single season 2002/03 DGI kit.
Now the DGI shirt was an in house kit, sourced and produced by the club. The advantage of this is you can make shirts cheaply as you do not have to pay for a ‘brand’ so maximising your profit. DGI also produced all the programmes at the time as well. This disadvantage is that you have a product created by people who have never played the game, certainly not professionally.Now ‘in house’ kits can work. As an example, look at Swindon’s own ‘Diamond Leisure’ kits from the early 90’s which are much loved by nostalgic fans like myself. Other clubs have done the same ranging from Bristol City, Portsmouth, Wolves, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton. However, in the case of this 2002/03 shirt what it apart is the fact that it is just not designed as an item of sportswear to be worn by a professional team.
Firstly it is a huge fit. I mean seriously the Medium fits like an XL, so who knows how big the XXL shirt is. It has a huge pointless flappy collar and crazy heavy shoulder contrast panels that run down the sleeves. The Nationwide sponsor logo is embossed rather than printed on the shirt, meaning it is so stiff and heavy that the middle of the shirt feels like you are actually carrying a small advertising hoarding around.
As if all this was not enough, the fabric is unlike anything you have ever seen on a football shirt. It is feels like nylon wool and not a nice cosy wool like a favourite jumper but nasty stiff heavy wool like an old donkey jacket. Nike boast about how light and responsive their fabrics are, however this shirt is as responsive as a Soviet era family car on a frozen lake.
The most damning opinion of this shirt though is not from the fans who could choose whether to spend £35 for the privilege of wearing Dunwoody’s ‘fashionable’ gear, but the players themselves.
Johnnie Jackson, on loan from Spurs that season said that “my shirt was 3 sizes too big (sic) It can’t have helped with mobility”. The tipping point was an away match at Wycombe in November 2002. There was very heavy rain and the already heavy shirts became sodden “I remember it being heavy especially in rain at Wycombe” said Town legend Sam Parkin.
The shirts were changed for dry ones at half time and Town went onto win 3-2 with Parkin scoring Twice. Soon after another order was put in by DGI to their suppliers. The resulting player issue shirts were almost identical but made of a much lighter material. Asked if it was the players who demanded a change Sam said “I can’t say I remember the players leading a revolt”. However the change was made as clearly DGI had totally misjudged what a football shirt should be like to actually play the game in.
Still the poor fans were stuck with a huge badly fitting shirt that weighed and felt like a Christmas Jumper from Peacocks.
Maybe it is time to reconsider the Lotto shirts place as the worst and think about replacing it with this embarrassment of a kit…
Kit images courtesy of John Devlin the author of ‘True Colours’