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The Identity Parade


By Mark Forster
August 7 2019

BACK in a day that fewer remember each passing season, there was no badge but the near immortal blue and white hoops. Coventry, a force to be reckoned with. The history makers.

That simple design lasted largely untouched until the era of sponsorship, when the leagues began and money became an issue.

In the David Duckham years, two broad blue hoops, three white, with blue on the shoulders. By the time of Derek Eves and shirt sponsorship, one broad blue stripe, two white, and blue running along the shoulders.

Maybe it's unfair, but it seemed that the need to keep the sponsors name up in lights dictated kit design, not just at Coundon Road and the Butts Park Arena but everywhere across the country. I mourn the days of the classic football kit, when colours were clean, crisp and players played for the shirt. The white sleeves and red shirts of Arsenal, the blue and white hoops of QPR, the red shirts and white shorts that could be Manchester United or Nottingham Forest when your finger was behind a Subbuteo figure.

The fact there's a big market for retro shirts means I'm not the only one to think like this.

Rugby kept the faith longer than association football.

Then came the redesigns. The piping that kept true to the old colours, the overhauls that saw one broad white hoop on a blue top. The Coventry blue jersey with thin white hoops.

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The departure from history for the blue kit with diagonal white flashes.

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Then the revival. The return to the two blue hoops. For me, history does matter. You can play with a club's colours at your peril. It worked for Jimmy Hill, who transformed Coventry City into the Sky Blues after a couple of seasons when Coventry looked like a Midlands version of Leeds or Tottenham Hotspur.

Mostly, it doesn't.

I understand that in the financial age of sport, having a new shirt for each campaign is de rigeur. It's a money spinner for the club and its partners, a new beginning but with an eye on history.

Fusiliers, NCOs and officers in today's Royal Regiment of Fusiliers are a world away from the mob that crossed swords with Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Sabre back in 1991, further removed from the boys that trod the paths of Belfast and Armagh back in the 1970s during the Banner years, but bound by the same history.

'England's regiment' traces its lineage back to the old Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Royal Fusiliers and Lancashire Fusiliers. The battle honours carried by today's soldiers embody the spirit of the past, present and future. The spirit of Minden, soldiers who fought Napoleon, went against the Russians in the Crimea and the Boers in Africa. Who shed blood in all the major Great War battles and were there at Dunkirk and Normandy.

Rugby isn't such a matter of life and death as soldiering, but, as Bill Shankly's famous sporting quote reminds us: 'It is much, much more important than that."

And so, back to Coventry RFC. The latest kit design, set for official unveiling this week, was proudly worn by club captain Phil Boulton for the launch of the new Championship season.

There is an obvious need for Cov, and the Championship, to get their acts together. Having an official kit launch only for it to be shown off to a far wider audience a couple of days before is a bit of an own goal.

I'm not blaming Cov, but the club would have known Boults was off on Championship duties in the new kit, and I'm sure it wouldn't have been organised at the last minute. So there is a sense of disappointment, a feeling of 'so what' now the design has been worn and proudly displayed.

Putting that aside, we've got a kit that gives a generous nod to Cov's glorious past, a kit that remains true to our traditions.

That's got to be a winner. The kit launch, now possibly the 'Away kit launch', will unveil yet another alternate jersey. The away kits have been subject of much interpretation down the years. I'm sure we played in white and all blue back in the mists of time, but have since had various shades of red, white and blue.

I loved last season's offering, although I wasn't too sure at first, and that was enough to tempt me to buy one. I now have the traditional Cov shirt, offered during the Kitbag years, the home jersey from the promotion winning year and last year's away.

Cost might well have a bearing on whether I or the family get a Cov shirt this campaign, but if money were no object I think I'd be first in the queue for a home strip.

 

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The Identity Parade
Discussion started by Unofficial Coventry Rugby (IP Logged), 07/08/2019 10:29
Unofficial Coventry Rugby
Unofficial Coventry Rugby
07/08/2019 10:29
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GetxoGreg
GetxoGreg
11/08/2019 22:37
Seen some Cov guys in the new shirt on the train back from the England game. Looks good ..

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